[FoRK] Re: Hard America, Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Battle for the Nation's Future

Dave Long dl at silcom.com
Mon May 17 13:10:20 PDT 2004

> A peculiar feature of our country today, says Michael Barone, is that
> we seem to produce incompetent eighteen-year-olds but remarkably
> competent thirty-year-olds.

How about the null hypothesis?

The thirty year olds are just as
incompetent as the eighteen year
olds, but have had twelve years
in which to accumulate families
and houses and cars and jobs. [0]

I've worked in companies of half
a dozen uniformly stellar people,[1]
and in companies of hundreds with
plenty of deadwood, and couldn't
distinguish the average makeup in
companies of thousands ("hard")
from that of high school ("soft").[2]


:: :: ::

[0] granted, one should aim for
better, but twelve years of just
showing up ought to put one in a
position favorably comparable to
that of the eighteen year old.

[1] "uniformly" was for rhetorical
effect; read that as "five stellar
people, and this slacker author".

[2] anecdotally, high school taught
me a great deal about the value of
"working the system"; a lesson that
paid off both with college and with
some of my larger employers.

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