Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 11/08/2021
I once had a guy who worked for me at a consulting firm who demanded he be paid incentives for the number of prospect visits he made. He earned a salary and commission on sales, but he felt he should be paid merely for, well, doing his job. “What next,” I asked, “do you want an incentive for breathing or eating lunch?” He was not amused far less than I was not amused.
Watching football yesterday I cringed at the usual grandiosity of a few players who make outstanding plays and then made a huge scene in celebration, as though they had just singlehandedly won the Super Bowl. Essentially, they are paid $16 million a year precisely to make that play. Oh, yeah, and his team was down 21 to 6. They went on to lose the game.
And, for those of you who read the sports pages, Aaron Rodgers, the excellent Green Bay quarterback, dissembled about being vaccinated (“I’m immunized” he said), tested positive for Covid, and can’t play for a week or two (and might have infected others, including the back-up quarterback).
We live in an intensely self-aggrandizing society. People feel entitled: to be successful even if the team or society is suffering; to boast of accomplishment that is simply part of their salary expectation, and to claim exceptionalism for unexceptional accomplishments.
I told the server at the restaurant where I hosted 15 people for dinner during Master Class that she was incredible, handling all of us by herself. “Thanks,” she said, “but it’s my job.”
If I seem to boast more than is becoming, my excuse is that I brag for humanity rather than for myself. —Henry David Thoreau
Bragging about yourself violates norms of modesty and politeness – and if you were really competent, your work would speak for itself. —Adam Grant