And finally science confirms it, in a sense.
Again and again, I’ve harping on this pet theory of mine: At the peak of my immersion in the so-called corporate world, as a super-busy bonus miles-collecting consultant, I turned to the only solace: Getting up (even) earlier, and starting to re-read all my old mathematics and physics textbooks and lecture notes.
The effect was two-fold: It made me more detached, perhaps more Stoic when facing the seemingly urgent challenges of the accelerated world. Maybe it already prepared me for a long and gradual withdrawal from that biosphere. But surprisingly, I felt it also made my work results (even ;-)) better: I clearly remember compiling documentation I wrote after setting up some security infrastructure with a client. Writing precise documentation was again more like casting scientific research results into stone, carefully picking each term and trying to be as succinct as possible.
As anybody else I enjoy reading about psychological research that confirms my
biases one-datapoint-based research – and here it finally is. Science says that Corporate-Speak Makes You Stupid. Haven’t we – Dilbert fans – always felt that this has to be true?
… I’ve met otherwise intelligent people, after working with management consultant, are convinced that infinitely-malleable concepts like “disruptive innovation,” “business ecosystem,” and “collaborative culture” have objective value.
In my post In Praise of Textbooks with Tons of Formulas I focused on possible positive explanations, like physics being an ultimate training for your typically slow rational decision making and analysis engine. It takes hard work and dedication at the beginning to make it work effortless. You train yourself to recognize patterns and to think out of the box when trying to find the clever twist to solve a physics problem. However, it might be difficult to convey my message as hackneyed Thinking out of the box has entered the corporate vocabulary already.
Perhaps the explanation is really as simple as that we just need to shield ourselves from negative effects of certain ecosystems and cultures that are particularly intrusive and mind-bending. So this is my advice to physics and math graduates: Do not rely on your infamous analytical skills forever. First, using that phrase in a job application sounds like phony hollow BS – as unfortunately any self-advertising of social skills does. Second, these skills are real, but they will decay exponentially if you don’t hone them.