When growing up, I had a few tough teachers. They had absolutely no interest in mincing words. In particular I liked an Ethics teacher who was close to retirement. This guy just did not give a fuck anymore. His method of examination was to put you on the spot, letting you argue for a certain position, and if you only regurgitated something, he handed out D’s an E’s without batting an eye. In the unfortunate case that he felt particularly annoyed, he even mocked students. This was perhaps not the nicest experience, but I think the dumb ditzes who thought they could get easy A’s by mindlessly memorizing a bunch of bullet points would have benefited from this experience. The outcome was that he got the small class he wanted as all the mediocrities dropped out. Next to Latin, this was my favorite class in high school.
At university, I noticed that this culture of giving brutally honest feedback was even less common than back in high school. There were classes that seemed impossible to fail. Of course, this did not apply to Econ 101, Calculus, or any other quantitative subject, but as long as a bit of waffling was involved, I saw some of the dumbest takes imaginable getting rewarded with A’s or B’s. There were even professors who had a reputation for handing out B’s like candy. They at best flipped through your term paper. I had this even happen in a project-based technical subject. The grading criteria were very clear, I put in a top-notch effort, and got a B in the end. Then I complained about it so I asked the guy for a reevaluation, which he did in the presence of me and a “mediator”. This was supposed to be an hour-long meeting in which he was to supposed to go through his grading decision in detail. However, it seemed that this was the first time he had looked at my submission. He seemed almost embarrassed and said, within less than five minutes, that this was an easy A. When talking to other students, I learned that they all had gotten B’s, even those who did not grasp the material at all. The professor apparently did not expect that someone would go for an A.
While these may be harmless anecdotes, unfortunately, this is also how the modern workplace is run. There may be niches like in some heavily male-dominated departments in some banks or engineering organizations, but by and large getting A’s for attendance seems to be the norm in BigCorp. The current status quo seems to be that you can no longer call someones work utter dogshit, even if it is. I recently had a case where someone made a proposal so ludicrous that it looked like a prank to me. I do not want to go into details, but the solution was so over-engineered that it could have passed as a Rube-Goldberg machine. I understand why this guy did it, though. Partly it was due to incompetence, but there was also the aspect that he wanted to have a bigger project under his belt in order to get a promotion. There is a lot of this going on in the woke workplace. Yet, pointing your finger at it requires great tact.
As I have learned, you can no longer say that something is “poorly thought out” or has “obvious deficiencies”. Instead, every failure, no matter if big or small, is simply a “learning”. Nobody ever faces difficulties. Instead, there are “challenges”. People are also no longer bad at their job. Oh, no! The politically correct way is to say that they need to “develop a growth mindset”. Amusingly, no project ever gets cancelled anymore. We simply put them “on hold”, and I am quite sure that this is meant literally, meaning that as soon as the pesky gatekeeper is gone who blocked some project because of how shitty it was, it will be “revisited” and pushed through. Small companies can go bust as a consequence whereas a mega-corporation like Microsoft or Google can stomach one disaster after another, as long as their core business is doing well. For instance, I recall how widely Google’s Stadia was mocked when it was announced. It was one of the most hare-brained concepts in gaming ever conceived, and you can be sure that it got pushed through because nobody cared enough to say no. To Google losing a few billion dollars is nothing, though.
The problem with not providing honest feedback is that people develop a self-image that is completely out of touch with reality. It is as if the entire world tells some scrawny little kid that he is really strong, making him believe that he can bench 250 lbs. This may all be well and good but there could be a time when he really needs to use some strength, and if he has not developed any, it could end very badly for him. Another good comparison is the disappearance of fat-shaming. Bullying probably has very sound evolutionary reasons, and telling fat women that they are fat is a good example. I do not think that anybody not suffering from some paraphilia would make the argument that, ceteris paribus, a fat woman is more attractive than a slim one. Thus, by getting fat women to slim down, society as a whole benefits, and so does the woman herself as she will be considered more attractive and consequently get more attention from men.
Just as there are fatties all around us so are there a lot of people in the workforce who should not really be there. This is more a problem in office environments, in particular WokeTech. However, by not providing honest feedback, we end up in a situation in which people may not even try anymore. I could now list a few quite tech-specific examples to illustrate this point, but this is not even necessary. When was the last time you were looking forward to a new Hollywood movie, or a big-budget game? Yes, it has been a while. This is the inevitable outcome of ditching meritocracy and fully embracing mediocrity. Wokism only speeds up the process.