May 25, 2006

Well, That's No Fair!

Years ago I was the supervisor of a medium-sized workgroup. There were 6 maybe 7 people in my charge. They were few in number but they were a corporate Delta team when it came to bitching. They complained about everything. The worst was trying to accommodate one without the others complaining about preferential treatment. One day I was sitting at my desk and one of them came in and started in on me about something. Without giving it a moment of real thought I just blurted out, “Take it up with the No Fair! Committee.” A concept was born. It became an office joke, but it also reduced the level of discontent by forcing the complainer to really think about their complaint I let one person skip lunch two days a week and leave early to attend a college class. One of the others filed a grievance because she couldn't do the same without a valid reason. She admitted that she didn't want to leave early but her coworker shouldn't be able to either. It was no fair. This captures the essence of No Fair! The complainer was an overweight, plain looking woman whose husband had dumped her and the two kids. She was in despair and could not see any hope for a better day. Her outlet was to make sure her coworker couldn't pursue a dream, if she had no dreams. The No Fair! Committee infects much of our life and especially the news we are fed. Beyond reporting stories, news people go out of their way to enflame our passions, often by peddling No Fair! When you read a news story look for the No Fair! aspect, it is there. A young mom needs a transplant but makes too much money for public assistance? No damn fair. A thug is killed just as he was trying to change his life. Ditto. CEOs make too much? The cost of (fill in the blank) is going up. You work harder than the other guy and no one notices? That guy cuts into the line? And on and on. No Fair! sucks you into the idea that we are all victims. We are not. The next time you complain about something ask yourself, “Am I complaining in order to fix a problem or just because it is no fair?” Your answer will surprise you. Don't fall into the No Fair! trap. Tag:

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