JCL Blog

Avoiding the Swamp

I am getting sued.  It is not the first time.  My two ex-wives sued for divorce.  Considering the arc of my 49 years, I suppose I should be happy that I have not been sued more.  Nevertheless, it is one of those things that cause introspection.  Why do these people hate me enough to sue me?  Divorces have their own set of problems, and even though the most recent one was fairly recent, luckily they are both in the past.  So it is my former employee suing me that has caused my wheels to spin and has me looking in the mirror and thinking about the choices I have made.  I believe we make our own way in the world and so I must consider what I have done to bring this about.  All roads lead back to me.

I Create False Hope

The world is complicated but I am still attracted to simple ideas.  Why just grow a company when you could double its size?  I would much rather say to my employees that they can have any job they want – as long as they want it badly enough and are willing to work for it.  Surely a step by step advancement path would be more practical and realistic, but it just does not light my fire.   Some employees have left my company angry because they did everything I asked them to do and my grand promises did not come true for them.  I can see their point. 

I am Often Indifferent

I enjoy my employees’ success, but it does not bother me as much as it should when they fail.  I believe that when they succeed it is to their credit not mine, and so it tracks that when they fail it is not my fault.  I have found that most people want it to be someone else that causes their failure so they have an external target for their anger.  There is no question that I could be more empathetic without taking ownership of someone else’s choices.  I am going to have to figure out how to do that.

I Still Believe in Fairness

I really like the structure of the “you split, I choose” method for dividing the last piece of pie.  Even if one of the pie pieces ended up being better, my sister and I always thought the outcome was fair.  The real world is not so simple, and some people do get paid more than other people.  Even though I have tried to approach every pay decision with an eye for fairness, there is no end to the anger and frustration associated with pay issues.  The reality is that there are a finite number of dollars available, and one employees gain is another’s loss, and neither of the parties involved got to participate in the pie splitting.

All relationships are complicated and employment relationships are the worst.  The employer has the power to hire and fire and set pay rates and often employees find it hard to take.  In the movies the hero is always the one that sticks it to the man, so I guess I should not be surprised that even in my little company we have people who consider it heroic to poke me in the eye.  Someday I may grow up and adopt my attorney’s view that that we live in a swamp and despite the putrid smell we must realize that law suits are part of the world we are in.  I plan to avoid this thinking for as long as possible.

Just like in my divorces, in the end the lawyers get the money, and even if there is some money left over for the angry person that hated enough to bring the suit, I believe he ends up the loser because he spent all of his time and energy drinking rotting ooze instead of living life.  Through this experience, I hope I am learning a few things about myself and exit the swamp without any incurable infections.  Time will tell I’m sure.