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File this rickety concept next to SYSTEM, another word that often stands in for any actual description of how real people and activities relate to one another or how they work. Like the fake-but-reassuring facades in a Potemkin village, the trendy use of STRUCTURE is meant to give an impression of solidity, of interlocking parts forming a well-built whole, supportive elements mortared firmly to one another according to an elegant plan.

You come upon phrases like “enriched career enhancement structures” and you might find yourself nodding with reassurance, pleased that something so rich and sturdy is holding all those “career enhancements” together. You may not even notice that “career enhancements” is a fairly mushy expression all by itself. You probably figure, reasonably enough, that it’s some kind of reference to advanced training, professional mentors, postgraduate scholarships, and maybe some other things.

But someone who’s not accustomed to hearing this mumbo-jumbo day in and day out might well ask: What’s the difference between all those training things and a “career enhancement structure”? Does the structure introduce some scheme of relationships, some rules and tight connections, and a neat set of blueprints (perhaps one of those unusual step-by-step ones) to govern it all? What would all that consist of? Who would build it, from what, for whose use? Ask those questions, and you are likely to be branded a troublemaker and thrown out of the Potemkin village on your, um … substructure.


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