I Can Do What I Want

I can do what I want…I can say what I want.  Sounds like a bratty teenager, doesn’t it? But more and more I hear it from adults speaking to each other in business meetings at Starbucks, over the phone in an office, in an office meeting, in a sales pitch, etc.  I hear it on airplanes, in restaurants, in stores, on public transportation, I hear it everywhere.  And these self-same people decry “no fair”, “that’s cheating”, “nothing goes my way”, “not my fault”, “That guy(gal) is a jerk”, “I was set up”, “He/she never liked me”, “they were just waiting for a chance to get me”, and on and on.

What’s missing for this picture? From these people? Let me tell you a story. I once was working in an office and the office was moving and based on our production (top producer to lowest) you got to select your office at the new locaactiontion. So myself and a good friend of mine were half a point apart so we came in together to select our offices.  “Martina” was taking forever to select and Joan asked if I knew which one I wanted and I said yes, so she would just go ahead and mark it, I showed her on the layout, just as she was about to put my name on the office, Martina pipes up and says “I have decided I want that office, give it to me.” Since she was a half a point higher than me Joan had no choice and there went my office. I couldn’t believe it.  I asked why she did that when she had clearly been looking at the office of the other side of the building, and her reply was “I can do what I want to do.”  I explained that yes, she could in fact do whatever she wanted to, but there were consequence to her actions, and the consequence this time was that I was going to do what I wanted to do, which was to no longer associate with her.

That was a long story to get to the point. what’s missing from this picture and these people is two things: accountability and consequences.  Nothing is their fault and the consequences that result from them saying or doing whatever they want seem to occur within a vacuum. It is truly an amazing phenomenon.  No one seems to hold any one else accountable for much of anything, and when they do it seems to come as a complete surprise to the one being taken to task. When there are actually consequences the offender seems to be utterly confused by this strange turn of events, or takes it as proof that he/she was right all along they were out to get him.

I have a hard time wrapping my head around this new way of thinking, this entitlement without payment, this action without consequence.  I know I must sound like an old fogey, but I grew Consequence of Actionup in a time when you dressed for business, you respected your bosses and your higher ups. you worked hard, you were held accountable for what you did and you got paid, and if you didn’t like it you left.  I didn’t like it so I left, I didn’t whine about it I didn’t make a big deal about it, I left on good terms and hung out my own shingle. I treated my clients with respect, I delivered what I promised, I was held accountable by my clients, and I got paid.

Action…Consequence,  Every. Damn. Time.

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