I haven’t posted in a while, but because I’m still paying the bill I decided to step out of the fallout shelter and take a chance. I’ll explain that sentence later. For now, I’m officially triggered!
The background to today’s diatribe is this article in the ABC news. It finally confirms what we’ve long known: people no longer get hired or promoted on the basis of merit, but rather on the basis of “inclusive suitability” unquote.
Phew! Thank you Professor Margaret Sheil for lifting the veil!
But it’s another blow for the middle-class white male, isn’t it. I’m lucky not to have pursued my first love — English — as a university lecturer-wannabe-professor. I’d be chasing tenure only to be overtaken by young white women reeking of entitlement whose invisible disability and 1/56th Aboriginality make it no-contest.
But I’m sure Professor Sheil would disagree that her policy is rank discrimination. She’d probably use words like “empowering” instead. But, as I mentioned, this is not a new thing. The only question which remains is, does it work?
I don’t opt-in to the putrid quarrantined subreddits where troglodytes and incels snigger and crow at the inevitable consequences of positive
discrimination empowerment. But they ARE entertaining and (sometimes) even instructive. They at least serve to highlight how the failure of high profile women (Elizabeth Holmes, Marissa Mayer, etc.,) is disproportionately impactful.
When female CEOs fail, how many declare “See? Women cannot lead“? But what does failure even look like in 2023? Marissa Mayer ruined Yahoo and received a $54,800,000 USD bonus. CEO Virginia Rometty helmed IBM’s fall from $104 billion to $60 billion and was punished with a lucrative segue onto the board at JPMorgan Chase.
An article from 2016 hoped that the boom in female CEO’s would “make it easier for women to succeed and dream so big that they can afford to fail as often as men do.” Unfortunately, she cited Ginny Rometty (see above), Meg Whitman at Hewlett-Packard, where profits went backward 30.7%, and Ursula Burns at Xerox — who actually did good.
Two out of three. See? Wish fulfilled. Women are failing as often as men do. I mean, nobody mention Mary Barra at General Motors! The only mistake was to think that a human with a vagina will succeed more often than one without.
We’re in the middle of this experiment and can’t see the forest for the trees, but one result is clear: It’s inclusive suitability, stupid! Not merit! I mean, where do YOU fall on the Wheel of Domination, above or below the line?
Professor Sheil defends her hiring policy on the basis that colourblind practices just disguise the unconscious biases and ‘isms of the elites. Her solution? Stop pretending and be overtly biased! Genius! No wonder she’s a professor! But where’s the evidence that hiring that black trans woman with the ostomy will help your organisation succeed?
Winning-failure Ginny Rometty preaches that “success… was never a question of ability or aptitude, but of access and opportunity” but simultaneously insists that she took over IBM on the basis of (you guessed it) merit, and “zero to do with progressive social policies“.
Fuck me. Come on, you can’t have it both ways. You either earned your opportunity to become a winning-failure on the basis of merit or on the basis of inclusive suitability.
Unless you tick both boxes.
Winning-winner Ursula Burns is a “outspoken champion of inclusivity” except when insisting that her success was down to merit and grit. She also comes perilously close to admitting that being Black and female was “sometimes” an advantage!
Wow! Truth! I almost want to buy her book, just to read that in print.
But for almost everyone else it’s one or the other. While I foresee a world where you’ll need both (merit and inclusivity) to get the job, for now it’s one or the other.
My position, in case it’s not abundantly clear: How many precedents IRL do we need to prove that inclusive
stupidity suitability, by precluding the best candidate from the job, makes it more likely your enterprise will fail?
Not a $54.8M USD Mayeresque fail either, but a broke-ass-living-out-of-your-car fail. The one concession I would allow is that we have to reimagine what ‘merit’ actually means to thinking humans at the start of the third millenium.
Get back to me with the answer, if you like.