When People Can’t Admit They’re Wrong

So he’s a story from the pool today…


I’m doing my laps minding my own business.


And this guy gets to the pool, sits down, and immediately pulls out his cellphone.


Then he proceeds to literally yell into his phone for probably a good half an hour. 


I’m doing my laps and I can hear this guy yelling:


– At his end of the pool 


– ALL the way at the opposite end of the pool


– With earplugs


– AND even underwater


And he goes on and on and on. 


Doesn’t stop for even a breath of air. 


Now, in all the years swimming, I’ve never had to approach someone about their behavior like this.


BUT this was too much as my head was pounding from his incessant yelling.


I waited until he finished his call. 


And it happened to coincide with me finishing my laps. 


I come out of the pool and grabbed my stuff. 


I have to pass him on the way out. 


And I’m still debating with myself whether this schlemiel is even worth it. 


My head is still throbbing from his yelling.


I stop in front of his chair. 


Now he’s pulled out a book and is trying to read. 


I say:

Excuse me.

He knows he did something wrong, and he barely looks up, trying to ignore me. 


I say again:

Excuse me. Did you intend for everyone at the pool to hear your ENTIRE conversation?


He starts murmuring something, and then says throwing it back on me:

What’s the problem?


So I say:

You were speaking so loud, I could hear you all the way on the opposite end of the pool.  I could even hear you under the water. 


He’s agitating now and he says:

Well, I was speaking to someone 85-years old who doesn’t hear well.  You get it?


So I say respectfully:

I am sorry that he doesn’t hear well, but does everyone else here around the pool also need to hear the conversation? 


Then he says:

So what–I don’t care if everyone hears.


I try one more time.

Do you see all these other people trying to read, rest, swim–do you at all care?


He still can’t get himself to come around, and instead doubles down and says, 

Well. I’ll do whatever I want!

Now, I’ve had enough, and I say:

So basically you don’t give a shit for ANY of your neighbors, do you?


Finally, he must of been embarrassed enough at his terrible behavior, and he backs down and says:

Next time he calls me, I’ll take the conversation inside!


At which point, he goes back to his book, and I complete my exit. 


It took all that just to get him to say he’ll handle it differently next time and basically be respectful of his neighbors and not a selfish pig!


It’s amazing–some people really just can’t own up to when they are being a jerk.


But I was glad this guy finally came around–maybe there is still hope. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Couple Arguing Loudly About Sex and Pregnancy On The DC Metro {Funny}

This couple is arguing loudly in front of everyone on the Metro in Washington, D.C. 


She claims the coming baby is his, and that he needs to take a paternity test. 


He says it’s impossible that it’s his because she’s 3 months pregnant and they haven’t had sex in 5 months!


This goes on and on in a most hilarious and boisterous way, and they even try and involve some of the innocent bystanders on the train. 


Always a show in this crazy town and it’s not just the politics! 😉


(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

Respect The Disabled

Respect For The Disabled.jpeg

So coming home tonight on the Metro train… 


People were switching trains in downtown D.C. 


Getting off from one train and going up the escalator to catch another. 


Every night people literally race up the escalator to catch their next ride. 


Some pushing their way on past the laggards. 


Others yelling for the people in front to “move it!”


Tonight, there was someone riding up the escalator on a wheelchair and holding unto to both sides to keep the chair from tipping over or literally rolling down backwards. 


(Usually the people in wheelchairs take the elevator and this was the first time I saw someone on the escalator riding it like this.)


So while I was expecting the people to start acting up on the escalator, running for the train on the platform.  


Instead, when they got to the wheelchair, they stopped and silently rode up with deep respect for the person holding himself steady.


There wasn’t a peep or a shove. 


I could see people missing their train, but they were thankful for their health and respectful of the man in the wheelchair. 


Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised and proud that there is still some human decency out there and that is cause for hope. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Playing The Work Game Can End In More Ways Than One

Work Hard

This game takes working to a whole new level of absurdity. 


It’s called “Don’t Get Fired!


And it’s by a 29-year old South Korean programmer who found a way to vent his own frustration with the crazy working world by making it into a mobile game. 


The goal is to “rise through the ranks of a nameless corporation by performing an endless string of mind-numbing tasks, while avoiding  a long list of fireable offenses.”


I did a screenshot here after I passed the interview and did the tasks that the various levels of management told me to by yelling at me with exclamation marks. 


The more exclamation marks means the more yelling and critical the tasks are from the seniors in the organization. 


Here the added stressor is everyone is in “fever mode,” because the president is in town, so now you are getting work from everyone and have to manage all the competing priorities. 


See me, the intern in the lower right corner with the work piled up on my desk.


You have to tap furiously on each task to turn them green and eventually make them disappear as completed.


In the game, you basically “get fired again and again in a cycle of humiliation and false hope.” 


There are no less than “29 ways to get fired, including opening a box of donuts that doesn’t belong to you,…addressing colleagues with the wrong level of formality, or failing to laugh hard enough at the jokes of a company vice president.”


One game player said, “sometimes you just have to laugh at the futility of life” or in this case I think he is referring to meaningless work tasks. 


Mind-numbing tasks and yelling in the office are not what decent work life is about.  

It’s no wonder that doing meaningful work, being treated with dignity and respect, and having the opportunity to learn and grow are some of the most important aspects of a satisfying job.


Then why get fired, when instead you can get promoted. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Get Out Front Leadership

Leadership.jpeg

Thought this was a good photo of leadership.

I’ve seen other depictions of this such as when the commanding officer leads the charge of his advancing troops versus the other guy yelling orders from way behind the front lines. 

Here the idea of the leader is of being one with his people and helping pull his own weight!

Much more inspiring and effective than “the boss” who is yelling/barking orders at the others from on top the mound of work that the others are trying to move forward, and he is just adding to the weight of the load being pulled.

To really understand the mission or business, the leader has got to get out of his/her ivory tower perch and see things up close and personal on the front lines. 

You can’t really know the enemy you’re fighting or the hill your trying to take if you never even seen it firsthand. 

Leaders aren’t above the job or over the staff, they are effective when they are part of the solution (and not part of the problem) with the people that they are attempting to successfully lead. 😉

(Source Photo of Comic: Andy Blumenthal)

Going To War, In The Office

Indian
So occasionally in the office, people perhaps forget where they are…



And instead of working together to solve problems, they go to war with each other and make more problems. 



Yes, there are power politics and plenty of my slice of the pie versus your slice of the pie–whose slice is bigger, whose got more cheese and toppings, and whose slice is pipping hot. 



Most often these office controversies happen behind the scenes or closed doors.



Behind the scenes, you can’t see the knives violently slashing and behind paper-thin closed doors you (usually) can’t hear the screaming!



But every once in a while the “passion” of the work spills over into the public domain–sometimes in a meeting, hallway, cafeteria, or the even the company picnic. 



In all these cases, the professionalism goes out the window way too fast and out comes the drawing of lines in sand, the I’m right and you’re wrong (including wagers for a good lunch or even maybe a nice crisp $100 bill), and threats to escalate (as if this wasn’t ugly enough already).



What comes over people in the moment–perhaps they simply feel like they are in the right or that they are simply defending themselves, or maybe there is spillover from problems at home, ego at play, socialization issues, or even personality disorders.



Whatever the reason, as one of my best friend’s fathers used to say, “When 2 people fight, they are both wrong!”



Or some people say that “they both end up with black eyes”–even if one comes away worse than the other…



And I think if you’ve ever had a car accident with another driver, you would know that the insurance companies agree with this principle, and attribute some portion of blame to each driver–whether 50/50 or 99/1–everybody plays a part whether in an accident, dispute, or an all out brawl.



What’s interesting watching these unfold is how the participants are almost in their own world with everyone else as bystanders, sort of just fading into the distance–so they do everything wrong:



They speak emphatically in absolutes (and maybe even yell a little), cite chapter and verse (but from different books), name drop (ever bigger executives in the organization whether they really know them or their positions on the issues or not), name call and make personal digs, and perhaps–although it should absolutely never come to this–get physical (like slamming their portfolios, coffee mugs, and doors, or I heard one person who even threw something at their colleague).



Aside from these folks typically losing the argument and whatever they were after, what’s worse is they lose everyone’s respect, and maybe even their jobs. 



The arrow of the workplace fight shoots way up, and comes down hard and fast right in their behinds…it’s a stupid, but endlessly painful and deserved ouch.  😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Safeguarding D.C.

Gas Cylinders
I took this photo the other day of a truck loaded from front to back with compressed gas cylinders in downtown, Washington, D.C.



I understand that there are strict safety regulations for this. 



Although with this truck just sitting out on the street, appapently not moving or even attended as far as I could see, I was a little concerned. 



At the same time, coming to work today, there was someone marching down the street yelling “Allah”–again and again–sort of talking to themselves yet screaming something that wasn’t intelligible, at least to me. 



Not that there is anything wrong with freedom of expression, but it just seemed a little wild and scary on the darkened streets. 



I couldn’t help think about this gas truck with all these gas containers from the other day…and are we keeping things as safe as they need to be. 



We take a lot for granted in terms of our security, but are we perhaps getting a little overconfident so many years after 9/11 now. 



Hopefully, we’re all good, but we need to be careful, vigilant, and safe! 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)