[FOUNTAIN]Say nothing, do nothing is way to successDuke Wen of Jin, one of the “five losers of the Spring and Autumn period” in ancient China, spent 19 years as a wanderer. When he was driven from the throne and defected to the kingdom of Qi, he married Lady Kang. The couple led a comfortable life in exile. But his wife nagged him about when he would conquer the world. Duke Wen responded that he would like to spend his remaining life in peace. Lady Kang reminded him of his vision of world domination and said, “This pleasure and comfort has ruined the name of the family.” Spurred by his wife’s cutting censure, Duke Wen returned to his kingdom and took back the throne. The story is remembered as an example of giving up ambition and pursuing pleasure and comfort.
Internationally, people are increasingly “downshifting” from a busy lifestyle to pursue safety and comfort. Just as a car would downshift to slow itself, the “downshifting” group would abandon money and success and desert high-profile jobs and urban life to move to the countryside to pursue an easier, stress-free existence.
From a business manager’s point of view, the comfort-first principle is an organizational evil. If employees are afraid of change, avoid hard work, avoid risk and challenge and are only concerned about self-protection, the company will not be able to grow or advance. The easygoing type can be found almost everywhere, but is more common in public office, where the rewards are relatively small and the job security is solid.
Keeping a low profile was ubiquitous under the Kim Young-sam administration. Civil servants would lie low and stay immobile, a military tactic to avoid notice by the enemy. Civil servants kept their hands off their jobs and deliberated on how to keep their jobs after inspections. Some would stay immobile but keep their eyes busy to see which way the wind was blowing.
The latest trend among civil servants is to keep their eyes, ears and mouths shut. A female police officer was demoted after being associated with a rumor about the president. Foreign affairs officials openly denounced the foreign policy of the Blue House and the minister of foreign affairs and trade was then replaced. Isn’t it ironic that the members of the so-called “participatory administration” have to shut their eyes, ears and mouths to save their necks?
by Lee Se-jung
The writer is a deputy business news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.