Category Archives: Business

I Don’t Like You, But I Tolerate You!

I don’t like you but I tolerate you. 

In the past 24 hours, I came to a realization that I could be liked and used at the same time. As a matter fact, it’s because I am so likable (and non confrontational) that I’m a likely candidate to be mistreated at the hands of people who seek to exploit my kindness.

Without going into all the details, I will paint a very narrow picture. I was appointed to be the chairperson of the committee for an organization for which I am passionate. That same organization trusted me to be trained, to be efficient, and to be ethical. I did not disappoint.

But when the time came to demonstrate my work product, I was asked specifically by the leadership to be more flexible; to allow them to make changes (in my stead) that would more accurately represent their personal needs. Sadly their needs did not represent the needs (and the diversity) of the organization. I stood my ground. I refused! And for this I was judged. 

Or was I judged? And was it a bad thing to be judged?? Either way, I was angry. 

I was angry because my hard work had been compromised. Our objectives were not aligned. And it would be perceived that I did not do my job because the people who appointed me had an objective that was different than mine.  

But my objectives were the objectives of the organization. My objectives were clearly outlined for me before I accepted the responsibility. There was nothing in those objectives that allowed for the type of flexibility that was being requested. The objectives were changed without my consent.

This did not sit well with me at all. I slowly looked around at the people that I worked with. I asked questions that they thought I should not ask. I carved a wedge of resistance that they did not appreciate. They got nervous because my dissent could cause their embarrassment and expose their biases. 

Because this is a feeling that is not unique to me, I thought that I would share it here so that others may be able to identify. 

What do you do when you’ve been asked to compromise your integrity?  I suppose it bothers me because I’m asked more often than I’d like to be asked. It also bothers me that this does not seem to be a problem for the people who do the asking–people for whom I used to hold in high regard.


Golden Rule

Just as I would prefer not to be held to someone else’s standard. I don’t hold others to my standard. I am simply disappointed in them. I’m angry because I was wrong. I held them to a standard that was higher. I shouldn’t have. 

But I need to say this for my own edification. When I volunteer my own time and my own energy, I expect gratification. It’s not a lofty expectation. And if I cannot earn some type of satisfaction from my hard work, I will not volunteer my time. I already get paid to do a job with ever-changing objectives. I am asked daily to compromise my personal line of decency in exchange for a paycheck. I won’t spend my free time doing the same.

So where do I go from here? Do I quit volunteering? Do I stand up for my “rights”? Do I stand up for the rights of others?? Or do I give ’em hell?!?

I haven’t yet decided how I will proceed. One thing is for certain–I will not go quietly. I will not allow so-called leaders to diminish my worth OR my work product. I will not allow them to think that I will fold to unrealistic demands. I will stand up for myself. And I will represent the people of the organization. This is called “integrity.”

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Despitefully Use Me

   
 

I’ve been working in an education mill for 10 years, and I didn’t even realize it. Yes, I said “mill!” I began my career, ironically enough in a place called Millville. A place where all kinds of crafts were milled by Millers. Families sent their children not just to learn a skill or vocation, but to also provide safe, affordable childcare while dad (and mom) were at work.  

I was hired for some of the wrong reasons, but some of the right reasons. Which is which, I can not discern. I was older than the youngest candidates. I was younger than the retirees. I was skilled in social work but had minimal education experience. I was hired because of my potential, but I was let go (several times) because my inability to conform. When I was re-hired in a neighboring school district, it was because of a discrete relationship between my new employer and my former employer. Sadly it wasn’t because of talent, expertise, or dedication. 

I wonder how many other educators like me were hired the same way. I’d like to think that I’m the exception to the rule. Is conformity a necessary evil. Or is it a DISqualifier? 

In the end, I have provided years of service to a community that needed it more than it knows. Was I teaching? Not as much as I mentoring, modeling, and molding young citizens to be the generation of thinkers that they MUST be to survive decades of distrust and misallocation. 

  

A new day is upon us.  As fate would have it, it’s just in time for a major shift in the way educators are perceived at the hand of a failing system. No longer considered noble and wise, dedicated and devoted, educators are given the left overs.  And yet we spend time with our civilizations most precious commodity:  the future. 

The sun is rising on an evolution of testing. The night before, corporations met with politicians to craft an elaborate an effective plan to undermine the education system that the government has already been underfunding.  

  
Summers ago I completed a 100 hour professional development sponsored by a regional chamber of commerce and its numerous corporate members. This organization took a noble position by inviting educators to see the problem and develop some conclusive solutions. The purpose was to identify a very specific problem with the high school and college graduates. 

These institutional “graduates” are not employable! If they could submit an actual application, they bombed the interview because of their inability to appropriately socialize in a work environment. They couldn’t make eye contact. They wouldn’t dress appropriately. Their first question in the interview was “how much will I make (instead of how can I help your company)?”  The private sector demands better, and our youth can’t deliver.  At best, their parents may be the last generation of job holders.   

Our schools have been milling entitlement for years! How am I just realizing this NOW??  As I pen this, the theory is dissolving into a solid, tangible fact. If not a plan, an alarming accident that serves corporations far better than the public school students. 

Where is all that public school funding going? It’s being funneled into private interests! Where did the current funding come from? Your tax dollars fuel 100 percent of education funding. 

That’s right!!

  

Taxation without representation is awful. Instead of focusing on how the elected officials have let down the public, let’s focus on another perspective. We’ve allowed the government to tax us without representing ourselves. Those of us who vote are exerting our power over the electorate. But those who do not exercise their rights by voting (or lobbying for themselves) are surrendering their tax dollars without representation. That’s like allowing your bank to withdraw fees from your account without consulting you! Who does that??
  
It’s uncertain if it’s too late to reverse this trend. It’s been going on for a long time. We’re just waking up. It’s the dawn of a new era. This will be an era of Occupy Movements–and laws against them. This will be an era of homelessness–and laws against it. This will be an era of exploitations of public actions (police brutality, water crises, and board of education meetings) and the officials who try to cover it up with more laws.  

  
Our rights don’t need to be taken away. We’ve already surrendered them. It’s what we call in contract negotiations “past practices”. The education system is not neglected. It’s doing exactly what the elite want it to do. It’s the mill for generating a generation of children who lack the critical thinking skills to fight back.
We’ve been fooled. 

We’ve been misused. 

We’ve been bambozzled. 

We’ve been despitefully used. 

Three Viable Ways To Reduce Your Liability

“Sustaining success is only possible if you’ve achieved it first.”
 
In business, personal relationships, or especially in official capacities, liability is THE single most crucial qualifier to a maintaining trust.  Sadly, it’s not so much as I what we do as much as it is how we are perceived in our pursuit of success.  This is a sad truth; a harsh reality; but a necessary consideration. 

Reducing liability is akin to being perceived as successful.  Banks do not give loans to businesses that don’t look successful on their business plan.  Suitors do not accept wedding proposals without believing their nuptials will be fruitful.  Nor should we select public officials who do not already have a successful network. 

Communication

We must be mindful of our words.  It’s very difficult to retract written statements.  It’s impossible for an associate to “unhear” a malicious or otherwise inappropriate comment. But we can think before we speak.  We can write a draft before we publish.  And we can collaborate before we put our own heads out in the chopping block.  Ensure that what you say is not harmful.   It is when we fail to do this, we are liable to damages, law suits, and substantial losses. That would be a major setback.  
 
No one is suggesting that we refrain from speaking though. However, Abraham Lincoln once said, “It’s better to be remain silent and thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” Wise words not to be taken out of context.  Silence doesn’t not always meet our objective though.  Imagine having a question but never having the courage to ask it.  

  
Transparency 

So many entrepreneurs fail to have their ideas recognized because of their inability to develop a plan of action.  Whether it be a blueprint or a business plan, there needs to be a tangible work that can be demonstrated, displayed, and critiqued.  Put in the work!

“Faith without work is death!”   We can not wish success into existence.  To be successful we must develop our objective and convey our goal.  And then show up. 

Exposing the plan is not giving the secret away.  In fact, sharing the plan offers an opportunity for others to collaborate and offer support.  When they say that Rome was not built in a day, it must be understood that it was not built by an individual either.  Be willing to take the risk.  With hard work and tenacity, no one can steal your glory.  So show off a little!

We reduce our liability by rechecking our plan and consider the potentential for damage.  An plan that is 99% effective is still 1% likely to cause harm. Be aware!  Be careful. Plan better. 

Commitment

Commit to your goal.  Own it!  Waiver only when necessary, and avoid distractions at all cost.  There will be plenty of opportunity to abandon a goal for a better one.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  But quitters never win.  That path that successful people take is not always the one least traveled.  But it is the one traveled by people who know where they are going. 

Do you know where you are going?  If not, revisit your plan.  Revise your plan. Ask for help.  When we fail to commit to our own plan, we are our own biggest risk.  Would you partner with someone who can’t commit to the plan?   Of course not.  Be the partner you wish to work with.  

Liability plays a huge role in achieving success because at any given moment in a business, personal, or official function we are offered an opportunity to communicate (or miscommunicate).  Transparency diminishes fear, wonder, or hostility because there are no secrets.  Not everyone will like the direction we are traveling, but atleast they will see our commitment. Our adversaries will always try to “throw shade” but that it merely evidence that we are on their minds.  When they are watching us succeed, it’s because we are in front of them.  Successful leaders, like ourselves, only look back to help others keep up.  

Success is not about meeting individual goals. It’s about collectively enriching the lives of those around us. Share these techniques with a colleague or friend. Each one CAN teach one.  

If you’d like to share a suggestion that helped you gain success by reducing your liability, leave a comment below.  Until we meet in the winners circle, thanks for reading!