The Wealth Effect

So some wealthy people are good and they use their blessings and good fortune to help others.


Yet, others think that they “have it all coming” to them, and they flaunt their money and look at others who don’t have what they do as pure trash–unworthy to occupy or breath the same universal space or air that they do. 


Visiting Palm Beach yesterday, I must say that I saw too much more of the latter than the former. 


Some people were nice, but others were incredibly arrogant. 


With my Jewish head-covering (yarmulke) and our mundane vacation wardrobe, we got more than our share of looks–with one older lady who was wearing fancy clothes and talking to another literally sneering at us with her nose raised in contempt as we passed. 


People whispered as we browsed the fancy stores where a shirt, skirt, or bag averaged around $10,000!


Even a large (over-sized) coffee table book was almost $1,000.


Yes, we did not belong there to buy anything, and were just respectfully browsing–and frankly, we are human beings too.


In the end, we were subject to some good old-fashioned racial profiling by the Palm Beach Police, who pulled us out as we were entering an Uber by the gorgeous beach and fancy schmancy Worth Avenue. 


At least 3 police cars surrounded us and took us toward one of them for questioning. 


They said to my wife that Chanel called saying a woman in a “hot pink” top and black skirt had stolen a pair of sunglasses. 


My wife doesn’t wear sunglasses!


We told them matter-of-factly that we weren’t even in that store–although we did pass by there–and my wife wasn’t wearing a skirt, but rather pants.


They looked in my wife’s knapsack that she opened and it was almost empty except for some travel items for the day. 


Then they said that the suspect that been called in had high heels, which also my wife didn’t have–so basically the description didn’t match and it didn’t make any sense why they even pulled us over.


Hey, did they bother to check the store’s surveillance tapes to see what the thief actually looked like???


So after they proceeded anyway to run my wife drivers license for any outstanding warrants–hey,  at this point might as well try for something–we finally, we got the:


Oh, so sorry for the inconvenience and have a nice day folks. 


Another officer winked at me. 


This whole thing went right along with the scene of the high-end looking Palm Beach patrol car that they have off to the side of the road immediately when you get over the bridge to their luxury island–clearly conveying the message:


Non-wealthy people not wanted here!


We are watching you!


So this is part of the land of the free and the home of the brave, but where the sickness of money pours from their narcissistic veins. 


But interestingly enough, right over the bridge going in the other direction–after you leave this island paradise–is the hospital. 


I’d bet that they probably all have nice, private rooms for these monetarily rich people, but for those that are spiritually bankrupted, I’m sure that their money doesn’t buy them what is truly important in life like health, meaning, happiness, or love. 


For the ones that are driven by corruption, greed, and arrogance–what they get is a dirty evil little soul.


And like Sodom and Gomorrah–these things usually don’t end well for them. 


If they manage to live out their stink-in rich years, I think G-d will probably send them back one day, but instead, theirs will be a story of riches to rags–so they learn their lesson and learn it well. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Hey Abrham!

Hey Abrham!

Thanks Starbucks for writing Abrham on my breakfast purchase this morning.

Apparently, religious sterotypes are alive and well with you.

How about a little sensitivity training for your staff or do you guess biblical names for all your customers?

Don’t worry though, it turns out that is my Hebrew name (and I’m Jewish and proud of it), although it’s spelled like this: Avraham. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

We Don’t Accept You Here

Kids_diversity_in_art

A number of years ago I had received an interesting job offer–not actually for a job I had applied to, but for “something else”, and apparently the job was supposed to come without any questions asked. 

Because when I asked about the typical things that you like to agree on before you start a job, I found that it wasn’t going to work out then for this executive because of “cultural fit.”

At the time, it was quite clear that cultural fit was just another term used to discriminate not those that could do the job well from those that couldn’t, but rather those who would be too thoughtful, innovative, or even challenging to the (failing) status quo. 

In this particular case, the leadership was highly corrupt (in more ways than one) and it came out in front-page investigations and findings not long after, with the actual sacking of many of the head honcho bunch.

When it comes to hiring, it is challenging for many leaders to not just punch the checklist for diversity, but too really embrace it, and this stems from many reasons including fear, bias and hatred of cultures that are different than our own, but also the need for highly insecure leaders to singularly “rule the roost” without any challenge of opinion. 

These leaders think that if everyone fits their mold and subordinates themselves to them alone, then they are by default always right–regardless of the actual consequences of their decision-making.

The problem is that there is no one to vet issues with, play devil’s advocate or give an alternate viewpoint–and the insecure leadership with their minion of look-alike, think-alike followers will often drive the train over the cliff–without anyone so much as saying a boo. 

This last week, when a record number of women Senators (20) and congresswomen (82)–were sworn in to the 113th Congress, there was hope of their bringing to the old political mix a new sense and style of collaboration that could help the nation resolve the many issues that we are embroiled in heated negotiation and impasse (e.g. the debt ceiling, the national deficit, the budget, immigration, and more).

Similarly, Bloomberg BusinessWeek (3 January 2013) published an article called “Only BFFs Need Apply”–about how job applicant’s cultural fit often trumps their actual qualifications.

BusinessWeek sums up the dilemma with hiring based on cultural fit: While it “may summon up obnoxious images of old boys clubs and social connections…a cooperative, creative atmosphere can make workdays more tolerable and head off problems before they begin.” Put another way: the “American ideals about team diversity collide with the reality of building a cohesive, practical staff.”

However, the problem with relying on cultural fit is not only that you don’t often get the best candidates, but that it is used not just to describe common values and work ethics, but rather inappropriately “as an excuse for feelings interviewers aren’t comfortable expressing” such as not being able to accept a person’s accent or that they cover they head for religious reasons. 

While hiring lackeys may have a short-term benefit of cohesion, in the long-term, the lack of diversity may result in groupthink and even that “the one person who has a different thought could have saved a business.”

Of course, there is also legal prohibitions against discrimination in hiring and personnel management, as well as the ethical issue of hiring unfairly and what that does to the moral fiber of the organization and its people–it’s corrosive to their values and capabilities and will lead to the revulsion and loss of good employees, customers, stockholders, and others over time.

Here’s the enterprise architecture slant on this topic: “you have to decide if you’re hiring for the culture you have or the culture you want.” 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Tobucil and Klabs)