Friday, July 17, 2009

There's only one scorecard

I've met a few people over the past months that are very nice face to face. They have reputations as nice people. Clearly, they're doing something right.

But then, I hear of - or witness directly - things they do in the workplace that are just shockingly mean, nasty, selfish or just unhelpful. I'm talking about backstabbing, stepping over others to get ahead, remaining steadfastly apathetic about others...

And I wonder, how the hell does this happen? How can someone be so nice and sweet when you're talking to them and then turn around and callously hurt others?

It seems to me that many people think they have a work life and a personal life and never the twain shall meet. Well, you can have as many different personas as you want folks. You can be prim and proper in the workplace and risque when you go out with friends. You can be very politically involved in your personal life and maintain a Swiss policy at work. You can speak to your friends one way and your family another.

But you are still one person. And if you're an asshole at work, you're an asshole. Being nice in your personal life, helping old ladies cross the street, donating canned goods at the food drive, etc. does not earn you a free pass to be a self-serving, egotistical backstabbing jerk at work.

Your work life and your personal life are not really separate lives. They are just separate personas or roles. The twain do meet. They meet at an intersection. You are that intersection. You are the nexus of all the different roles you play. You - the real you - is the constancy that runs throughout all of these roles.

When you act in a poisonous, toxic, evil manner while playing one role it's because you are a poisonous, toxic, evil person.

So stop.

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