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April 2021
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It Is Perfect. Do Not Ever Change.

By Xiao

Sitting across the table from two top executives, hearing one say “Unlike academia, where meeting expectation is lowering yourself to the level of your peers. Here, the standard is consistently high with top notch people”. “It is like pro sports, the average performance is much higher.” The other one added. Are they serious? I looked at them again. They mentioned it half year ago, I thought they were just towing the company line. But clearly, they are not. The confidence is shining through them and they are beaming with pride.

This was the year end review I just went through. Working in a small size firm, I found myself going through the same level of bureaucracy as the international monster-sized company I worked for before. When a cat thinks itself a tiger, it is adorable. When a company acts as if it is perfect, it is disturbing. After experiencing it first-hand of the way the company operates, the quality of work it produces, I have hard time to imagine how the executives can truly believe in this grandeur illusion of the company.  Worked in both academia and industry with some truly talented people, I learned to be humble. Here, they keep asking for suggestions to improve the company, but choose to either plainly ignore the suggestions when received or try to hide the imperfection by thinking they are misunderstood when it is pointed out to them.  From simple repeated suggestions on dress code by both clients and employees, to the internal rejections on the practice of repackaging a single product which could be deemed vintage over and over again, all have been ignored. Grant it that they have certain image they wish to maintain. Yet, the professionalism they so pride themselves with is side by side with back-door policies for relative of executives, which I never thought I would see in America. Not to mentioned to top-quality product they produce is full of out of date hacks by people who learn to not care. OK, they are delusional. But if they think the company is perfect, why do they even bother to ask for suggestions on areas for improvement? Oh, right, the projection of a perfect company image demands it – “I am open to suggestions, though I know I am perfect.”

“Any questions?” The executives finished illustrating how wonderful this company is, once again. “Oh, no. You made it perfectly clear.” I smiled. “I know exactly what to improve on as an employee next time.” Yes, next time. I will simply say “As an employee of this company, it is perfect. Do not ever change.”

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