What Happens When The Competent Opt Out?
By this terminal stage, the competent have been driven out, quit or burned out.
What happens with the competent retire, burn out or opt out? It's a question few bother to ask because the base assumption is that there is an essentially limitless pool of competent people who can be tapped or trained to replace those who retire, burn out or opt out, i.e. quit in favor of a lifestyle that doesn't require much in the way of income or stress.
These assumptions are no longer valid. A great many essential services that are tightly bound to other essential services are cracking as the competent decide (or realize) they're done with the rat-race.
The drivers of the Competent Opting Out are obvious yet difficult to quantify. Those retiring, burning out and opting out will deny they're leaving for these reasons because it's not politic to be so honest and direct. They will offer time-honored dodges such as "pursue other opportunities" or "family obligations."
I wrote a short book on my experience of Burnout. I believe it is increasingly common in jobs that demand responsibility and accountability yet don't provide the tools and time to fulfill these demands. Once you've burned out, you cannot continue. That option no longer exists.
For others, the meager rewards simply aren't worth the sacrifices required. The theme song playing in the background is the Johnny Paycheck classic Take this job and shove it.
Healthcare workloads, paperwork and compliance are one example of many. Failure to complete all the make-work can have dire consequences, so it becomes necessary to do less "real work" in order to complete all the work that has little or nothing to do with actual patient care. Alternatively, the workload expands to the point that it breaks the competent and they leave.
The problem with politicization is that it is 1) intrinsically inauthentic and 2) it substitutes the ideologically pure for the competent. Rigid, top-down hierarchies (including not just Communist regimes but corporations and institutions) demand expressions of fealty (the equivalent of loyalty oaths) and compliance to ideological demands (check the right boxes of party indoctrination, "self-criticism," "struggle sessions," etc.).
The correct verbiage and ideological enthusiasm become the basis of advancement rather than accountability to standards of competence. The competent are thus replaced with the politically savvy. Since competence is no longer being selected for, it's replaced by what is being selected for, political compliance.
It doesn't matter what flavor of ideological purity holds sway--conservative, progressive, communist or religious--all fatally erode competence by selecting for ideological compliance. Everyone knows the enthusiasm is inauthentic and only for show, but artifice and inauthenticity are perfectly adequate for the politicization taskmasters.
This additional workload crushes the remaining competent who then burn out and quit, go on disability or opt out, changing their lifestyle to get by on far less income, work, responsibility and far less exposure to the toxic work environments created by depersonalization, politicization and the elevation of the incompetent.
By this terminal stage, the competent have been driven out, quit or burned out. There's only slack-mastersand incompetent left, and the toxic work environment has been institutionalized, so no competent individual will even bother applying, much less take a job doomed to burnout and failure.
This is why systems are breaking down before our eyes and why the breakdowns will spread with alarming rapidity due the tightly bound structure of complex systems.
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At readers' request, I've prepared a biography. I am not confident this is the right length or has the desired information; the whole project veers uncomfortably close to PR. On the other hand, who wants to read a boring bio? I am reminded of the "Peanuts" comic character Lucy, who once issued this terse biographical summary: "A man was born, he lived, he died." All undoubtedly true, but somewhat lacking in narrative.
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