The Haught guide to competition


Competition is to the 21st century as television was to the 20th century, whale oil to the 19th century and magic to all the centuries before that. It’s a pan-continental, pan-cultural panacea.

Need better mobile phone services? Competition. Looking for a better run rail system? Competition. Desire better healthcare? Competition. Want to engender in your infant a love of efficiency and respect for social darwinism? Competition. And the more fierce the competition the better, particularly between individuals.

With these facts in mind it probably seems appropriate that I apologise for not having until now recommended being viciously competitive as a way of getting ahead in your career. But I’m not sorry, because remorsefulness and competitiveness are like cigarettes and spirulina smoothies – there’s no point doing one if you’re going to do the other.

To be truly competitive in a professional setting you must see each of your colleagues as brick walls blocking the road joining the towns of Career Mediocrity and Career Triumph. You should feel the urgent need to repeatedly sledgehammer them.

When they are praised by your boss, scoff like a bitter old upper class woman in a period drama. When they ask for your help, wave them away like the insects they are (or even better spray them with Mortein). When they make you delicious food for your birthday, yell “Oh yuk!” while the last, wonderful morsel is still in your mouth.

I run Haught not after building it from scratch but after killing its owner and taking it over. And look where that’s taken me. To outright blogging superstardom.

And, more to the point, look where it’s taken the site. Seriously, look what it was before I took over.

No, my dear readers – or should I say faceless providers of engagement statistics that I have no emotional attachment to whatsoever – competition is good.

If you start to feel that you’re being “unfair” or “unkind”, remember that your competitiveness is helping others as much as it’s helping you. As the saying goes, a ruthless desire to crush others lifts all boats.



An edited version of this article first appeared in the MyCareer section of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

You can read the column – Benign to Five – in those papers every Saturday, and if you miss it, you can look it up online in the BusinessDay section of The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, WAToday and Brisbane Times. (I now wankishly call myself a “syndicated columnist” on my CV.)

Read more Haught newspaper columns

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