Archive for January, 2013

Some weeks I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with my job. I have a wonderful employer and I work with a great group of guys…but being that I myself am a guy, I’ll be the first to say that we certainly have our flaws. A couple of days ago I told my wife that I’ve never found myself embracing my “guy-ness,” and so when guys act like, well, guys, it sometimes gets on my nerves. And then a few minutes later, I do it and it’s somehow not a big deal. Yet in all of that, accountability remains a constant peeve of mine with my coworkers. And if you’re thinking, “Gee, maybe he shouldn’t blog about that, someone may take it the wrong way…,” rest assured that my opinions on accountability have been a major topic of conversation in the past with all the people who control my salary, so there’s nothing you need to worry about on that front.

The title is in no way a reference to my mom, who I’ve talked about before. In my head I can see signs posted in office kitchens that read, “Your mom doesn’t work here–clean up after yourself.” I want to add to it, “AND MAKE SOME FREAKING COFFEE.” If you work in an office with at least one coffee pot, you are likely familiar with the situation: it’s time for a refill (man, that proposal was rough), you go over (talking to a half-dozen people along the way), load up the cream and sugar (because that’s the only way to enjoy coffee, or something), push the lever down to dispense the coffee (for those with fancy coffee stations–no coffee pots for this guy), and enough coffee comes out to fill a quarter of your mug. At this point, you’ve got two options. First, you could do the right thing, make some more coffee, and wait to fill up, OR–just walk away, hoping that no one saw or heard what just happened, and go empty some other pot in someone else’s area, and pass the buck along to them as the bad guy when they don’t make more.

One of my former coworkers made what I assume is a pretty regular habit of passing the buck. Good news is, he’s a former coworker. But I don’t understand how he could walk away without making more, and do it repeatedly, without feeling like a total douchebag. Actually, if he consciously thought to himself, “yep, I’m a total douchebag, and I know it, and I’m going to go drink someone else’s coffee now because I’m a lazy shithead,” then I’d almost feel better. More likely though is that he had some false sense of entitlement. Entitlement and accountability are first- or second-cousins, I’m pretty sure. They definitely come from the same family, but they’re certainly not brothers. Entitlement is a nasty thing: if you don’t think of yourself as entitled, but you are annoyed by those who think of themselves as entitled, you likely have an issue pointing out how wrong it is for the guy who feels entitled to feel entitled, because if you do that, you come off as entitled to yourself (even though nobody actually cares what the hell you think). So, while there’s a bit of a catch-22 there, sometimes the folks who know they aren’t entitled have to speak up.

But what’s worse than the douchebag with the false sense of entitlement is the idiot who talks about accountability, preaches about it even, then doesn’t take the blame for something that clearly falls on his shoulders. I’ve seen this a lot of different places, but it’s especially upsetting when it’s somebody you think is a genuinely good guy. It’s been a disappointing week for me.

Someone told me once that there was no way he could have gotten to where he was in life without stepping on some people and making enemies. I don’t know if that’s the only road he could have taken; I guess I’ll let you know if I ever become professionally successful on his level. I kind of wish there is an alternate path, though. I focus a lot of energy on being a diplomat, both professionally and personally.

This entry officially qualifies as a “one-off” in my opinion. Thanks for indulging me, be well, and stay tuned.