Jon Snow, Bart Simpson, And Walter White Walk Into A Bar…

Consider these relationships: Joffrey vs. Jon Snow. Principal Skinner vs Bart Simpson. Walter White at the beginning of Breaking Bad compared to himself at the end.

Now consider the differences between status and rank.

Status is a social phenomenon. It can be traded, earned and lost. Status’ bumper sticker might be, “I’m Jones Sr., try to keep up.”

Rank is a title, a hierarchical social construct that is symbolic of status. Accordingly, rank doesn’t change without a status transaction. Rank’s bumper sticker might be, “corporate ladder climbing requires butt kissing.”

There have been leaders that no one has respected and poppers that have led revolutions. We can have status without rank and rank without status.

No one liked Joffrey but his mother, and she used her status to secure him the rank of King. Jon Snow elevated himself by gaining status amongst his peers until he received the rank title of Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Principal Skinner holds the highest rank in the school, but we’re interested in Bart as he wreaks havoc cutting status deals as a problem child. Walter White left the lowly rank of high school chemistry professor to trade status on his way up the ranks of international drug kingpins.

Always pay attention to both.

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