An Interesting Edit Change

The context was starting a business. The line read originally:

"Do you want a simple business where you can work on your own terms without having to manage others or have a boss looking over your shoulder?"

The editor changed it to:

"Do you want a simple business where you can work on your own terms without having a boss looking over your shoulder?"

Notice what was taken out: "having to manage others." Why would an editor — who did an excellent job on the whole book, by the way — strike that phrase in that context?

I think because she didn’t understand that some people start businesses because they don’t want to manage others. Not everybody wants to be a manager. There’s a lot of responsibility, and the need to do negative as well as positive feedback, and a lot of potential baggage.

Managing isn’t necessarily what everybody aspires too. We do, however, think of the manager as having taken another step up some hierarchical ladder. That doesn’t mean the manager is really doing better, or that people don’t start businesses sometimes because they don’t want to be the manager.

It also gets us back to what I think was the original Peter Principle, related to the common phenomenon when the best programmer, engineer, accountant, researcher, attorney, or whatever is not the best manager of the other programmers, engineers, etc.

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