The trouble with being human


I really need to not eat Doritos just before sitting down to type these blogs…

The NBA finals have ended and my local team came up short.  As you regular readers know, I’ve been following (and even rooting for) this much maligned team due primarily to the fact that I think the nationwide antipathy to the team, and in particular one of its star players, is wildly overblown.  So much that I actually watched basketball regularly for the first time in my life.

It has been a fascinating and dismaying study of human behavior, reaching to our basest negative emotions and resulting in a backlash of nonsensical proportions.  In a nutshell, about a year ago a young man decided to change jobs.  In order to join the “company” he wanted, he had to take a cut in pay.  He didn’t bad mouth the former “company” or its employees.  His one mistake was a public relations fiasco of televising his decision.  This was deemed reprehensible, since the city the company was based in dearly wanted him to stay and felt hurt and used by the media related decision.  Funny, but we don’t seem to hear that same outcry on the televised press conferences when a big CEO leaves one company for another.  No one seems to care except for some stock analysts.

Another misstep came when the young man joined his two friends.  The new company was so excited by the recent hirings, it threw the three new employees a big party and invited lots of the local residents of the city where the young man’s new company was based.  The young man made some boastful statements in his first “interview” with the residents, no doubt wanting to impress them the same as anyone trying to impress a new boss.  This was considered arrogant and egotistical by many people at other companies in other cities.

After a year working in a hostile environment everywhere but within his new company, filled with aspersions and insults, derision and abuse, spite and character assassination, the local team missed its stretch goal for the year.  The young man had an awful ending to his year, making many mistakes which cost his new company its leadership award for the year.

The other companies rejoiced, publicly, at the young man’s failure.  Even some within the new company’s city questioned his performance.  Yet, the new company had generated record profits, the industry as a whole had benefited greatly, even the media that fed the outcry saw their comparative numbers improve dramatically.  Far be it to call the young man’s year a failure, he should probably have received the employee of the year award!

Was the initial decision spectacle contrived and unnecessary?  Sure, but remember, a major network agreed to televise it, so moral outrage exists only when it doesn’t interfere with profit (that same network spent the rest of the year joining in the feeding frenzy on the same young man it allowed to create the firestorm…hmmm).

Could the boastful comments made at the company welcoming party have been toned down?  Of course and aren’t many companies glad they don’t televise their big parties, huh?  You probably don’t need to know why your raise wasn’t bigger this year.

But if you allow for those two instances as mistakes and you actually follow the young man’s behavior the rest of the year without that bias, you might have been surprised to find out how impressive and mature that man conducted himself as he tried to correct for his errors in judgment.  Just like any one of us would try to do wherever we worked.

And here’s the rub…take any of these indignant and outraged cities and offer them the opportunity to hire this young man to work for their company.  What do you think their answer would be?  Now use that same honesty to really look at the attitude towards this young man for the past year.

What do you think is really the driving emotion of all that meanness?

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