Form vs Substance | Career Angles

Jeff Altman
2 min readSep 30, 2020

I worked with someone many years ago is one of the smartest people I knew.

Her insightfulness help to identify problems quickly.

She expressed her concerns accurately and dynamically.

Management hated her.

They hated her because she pointed out that the Emperor has no clothes on. They felt exposed because she kept pointing out to them.

They wanted her presented differently.

They didn’t disagree with her observations or conclusions. They just wanted it to be done differently.

They wanted her to deliver a report that expressed her conclusions instead of just walking into their offices, usually with an appointment, and telling them directly.

Her substance was correct. They didn’t dispute that.

They just wanted her to do it differently.

Pretty stupid, huh?

Given how much they professed to value her observations, you may think they might want to involve her earlier, before formal decisions being made, to avoid any blind spots of theirs having an adverse effect on their choices.

Never happened.

Form over substance.

It’s pretty clear that they didn’t like her.

It’s pretty clear that they just want her to shut up and go away.

Thank goodness she did for her sake.

They lost something far more valuable than their pride.

Being ready for the future requires that we pay attention to our assets now.

Often these assets are our gadflies, the people who don’t agree, the people who see things differently.

Wars have been started by people who had uniform opinions about how to handle something. They never sought advice or thought outside of the bubble. Millions suffered as a result.

Businesses have failed as a result of myopic thinking like this.

Form versus substance.

Your choice should be substance not form.

Let your feelings be hurt.

Jeff Altman

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. Career Coach. Host of No BS Job Search Advice Radio & Join JobSearch.Community. It will help you