The Great Enterprise of the Age of Stagnation is the wholesale manufacture not of great, world-shaking, ground-breaking ideas, inventions, concerns…but of bigger and bigger assholes.
The chain-store; the mall; the hypermarket. The corporation; the firm; the partnership. B-school; law school; med school. The boardroom; the backroom; the trading floor.
These are, by and large, Asshole Factories. They don’t make people. Capable of great things. Who create and build and touch and soar. They make assholes.
That was certainly my experience of working briefly (and terminally) for an American law firm, albeit in the UK. The whole legal profession had been becoming more and more corporate and less fun (yes, it was fun in my early days in the Nineties) but there was a step change when I started to work for Sedgwicks. A complete bunch of arseholes (to give it the proper English spelling) at the top, presiding over some generally probably decent people who you knew were gradually being turned into arseholes.
What Mr. Haque doesn’t mention is the preponderance of socially functioning Dark Triadic people at the top of such organisations:
The dark triad personality traits are three closely related yet independent personality traits that all have a somewhat malevolent connotation. The three traits are machiavellianism (a manipulative attitude), narcissism (excessive self-love), and psychopathy (lack of empathy).
Many of the people in that firm could fairly be said to display such traits. One person in particular—unfortunately, my direct ‘manager’, Mr Bob Dobalina—seemed to have them all to the nth degree. Dealing with them was appallingly degrading, soul-destroying and ultimately highly destructive, and it has been a long journey to forgive them and even to find compassion for them.
But now I do. Because I am no longer in the Asshole Factory.