Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Out-of-the-box Experience

In 1995, I had been working on a product development team at American Express for over four years. The company had paid half of my tuition for an MBA at the world's top-rated international business program. I called the name of someone in HR asking what they wanted to do with me now that I had gained even more abilities. I was paid so little that I would soon be unable to make student loan payments.

I was told that my skills would be unwelcome because I had no ovaries and my skin color was too light.

So I quit, moved my family overseas, and had many marvelous experiences. Amex continued to promote groupthink by promoting people of various demographics who all shared the same education and background. Their diversity policy discouraged diversity. So the information age passed them by, and the company, while still iften profitable, is not innovative. Diversity SHOULD mean hiring from diverse experience, not diverse skin tones.

If you work for a firm that pushes diversity rather than merit, you might need to create your own diversity policy by exposing yourself to real diversity. Get out of your narrow market and go experience something new. Move overseas and teach English, if you must. 

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