My boss called me to sternly express that I had not done what was expected and that my actions were unacceptable.
I thought I knew what this word meant, and expected a formal statement that I was fired for doing what could never in any way be tolerated of anyone.
Instead we reasonably discussed expectations, resource availability, standards, and communication plans. The unacceptable was accepted, but should not be repeated under demonstrated threat that another discussion might be necessary.
In most areas of society, the unacceptable is the standard. Insufficient efforts can be safely expected. Sufficient efforts are considered too hard to achieve compared to doing nothing. So much potential is wasted, giving us the poorly performing civilization we’ve come to expect and try to escape for sane relief.
Strangely, exceptional efforts also count for nothing. Doing anyone great rarely brings external reward, so we stop doing it. The excellent and the mediocre are democratized into equality, and though only one is fit for reality, it isn’t valued.