Among the intellectuals of the world, there has long been a consensus on the defining quality of individual success. It is not measured by the amount of cash in one's bank account, the net worth of one's business, assets, and properties. Instead, the key word is "power," the authority one has over other individuals and functioning of a community, and to a greater extent, society in general. The ability to influence and to change the course of other's lives, in particular, can be seen an easy, albeit morally reprehensible, way to get one's hands on an almost unlimited flow of cash.
Placed in the context of one's immediate surroundings, the concept of power translates to seniority in ranks of existing hierarchy, whether it be in the personal spheres of extended family and kinship interactions, or more importantly for this author, the corporate environment spurred on by working in a global firm. Without a doubt, a foreign manager in a business catering to local consumers would have certain responsibilities and obligations, including but not limited to, identifying basic strategies for steering other employees toward a goal that will be, essentially, profitable for the firm as a whole.
Of course, the sheer complexity of what that "steering of employees" would entail is the most baffling to anyone newly thrust into such a role. Without prior experiences of similar kind, one would tend to think in lofty terms. Focus on creating concrete initiatives that we make the goal more concretely achievable, identify how many people will be needed to execute each initiative, and what each of those people will do. Then train the people to fulfill their defined roles and establish communication channels among them through implementing certain processes...and voila, the business is now running by itself.
...only if it were ever so straightforward. People are not robots; they do not simply do what one wants them to do. Number of people cannot be counted in just numbers; the effectiveness of a team does not depend only on how many people it has but also how the members interact (or not interact) with one another. Often, the emotional aspect of managing people relations has more more significance to how the business turns out to be, compared to the dedication one puts into research effective strategies or implementing certain initiatives.
And it is here that one inevitably must exercise that coveted "power"...but often against the desire and the will of its possessor. The manager can go about doing his fluffy business of encouraging bonding and friendship among employees as much as s/he wants, but at the end of the day, without possibility of incentives and threats of punishment, there are simply little or no incentive for anyone to change their existing behaviors and move away from the status quo. Yet, those carrots and sticks may very well change the lives of the individuals involved, push some to honor and others to poverty.
Unfortunately, as its beholder grudgingly discovers over time, every concrete exercise of power is almost always accompanied by a duality of good and evil, bright and dark, positive and negative. For every person promoted, others will have to be punished, and for every reprimanding, some others will inevitably cherish the opportunity for personal gains. Such rocking of the boat in a booby-trapped environment of office politics, ridiculously enough, encourage more competition and more divisiveness even though the original purpose of using power is to somehow filter out obstacles for team-bonding.
Aside from the more emotionless autocrat out there, none with the slightest bit of access to power can overlook the collateral damage s/he has done and grimace at the futility of exercising power in the first place. There is simply no enjoyment in being able to say that one can make others wealthy or, for practical purposes, dead to the society, when one realizes just how much emotional burden the user of the power, its recipient, and anyone else who bear witness or is indirectly affected by it must shoulder for a considerable time-being. Every purge and praise echo endlessly in the psyche of all involved.
Power is used to instigate change, ideally for the better. It is also supposedly used to facilitate operations of certain institutions by compelling people to do what they are told while ridding those who refuse to do so. Yet in the process of molding everything for the better (or at least, so perceived by its user) it takes tolls on everyone, through sorrows of distrust, malicious happiness of one-upmanship, and indigence of perceived misunderstandings and miscommunications. The mental toughness of actually resorting to direct exercise of power is something only a possessor can fully understand.