This is going to seem a bit crazy. I’ll put that out there right up front..
Lately I have had some interactions with people in real life that made me very unhappy. I’m not going to go into huge amounts of detail about it because the majority of it is work related and I don’t know how comfortable I feel with telling the whole story to the internets at large.
These happenings, and a teevee show that I have been watching recently, have started to change my mind on some of my long held values and beliefs. The one value that I now feel I should rip up and throw out the window is “Three strikes and you’re out”.
As in, kick me in the teeth once and I’m willing to consider it a mistake. Kick me in the teeth twice and I’m going to start considering maybe the first time was not a mistake after all. Kick me in the teeth three times, and I’m going to assume you absolutely meant to do it all three times. Plus I probably have no teeth left.
I used to give people second and third chances even when they did things that should never have merited another chance. I liked to think this was decent of me, the right thing to do, a good thing. What it actually is – is stupid.
The reality for me now is – I will no longer give people a second chance after the first teeth kicking. I like my teeth, and I’d like to keep them in their original condition.
Not everyone is like me, not everyone has that same value system as I do. So what have my basic values been?
– Treat others as you would like to be treated
– Accept others for who they are regardless of race, sex, religion, size, finances, etc
– Be excellent to each other
– Do the right thing
– If you can’t do the right thing do the closest to the right thing that you can
– Be generous with time, treats, money
– Act professionally at work regardless of how you feel about the others working with you
– Treat others as a part of the team even if they are not acting like a part of the team
– Help others – if you know the answer to the question speak up
– Get to know people before making a judgment on them
– probably many more – I’ll keep thinking on this
Let me give you an example of how I am learning this lesson now. It is a very minor thing compared to some of the things that have happened, but it is a good example of why I am saying goodbye to the three strikes rule.
We have to share desks at work, and in one room there are people regularly in the same space where they need to be able to write things down. Every time I would come in, there would only be one working pen (it happened to be a red one) and all the other pens would not work, or would start to write and then stop..
Work does not provide a lot in the way of stationery. Ok, they provide nothing. Everyone brings in bits and pieces that they pick up – the NAB bank free pens have been extremely popular.
But this one red pen, it kept going and going. It seemed like it was going to last forever. And we had to write in red quite a bit, so everyone remarked on how awesome this one red pen was. And one day, I was at Officeworks, and I saw the same brand pen (it isn’t one you can find just anywhere) and I thought I would buy them and take them to work. But these pens were not cheap at $14 a packet. I bought one for work, and one for myself to keep at work in my own container.
So I sent out an email letting people know I had put 6 brand new pens in the office that were the same brand as the awesome red pen, and that I hoped they would have the same longevity as the awesome red pen.
For all I know, they are having that longevity in some other location. Within 4 weeks of the pens being placed in the office, all 6 had vanished – and then, the awesome red pen vanished too. That awesome red pen had been there for over a *year*. No joke.
So me being the idiot I am, I brought in a second set of pens. Not the same expensive brand, no, these were much cheaper. Those lasted a little longer, I guess because they were not as awesome. However there are now just two left of them.
I have here at home a huge box of cheap Officeworks pens, you get 50 in a pack. They are the worlds crappiest pens. Sure, they will write, but it is the ugliest result you will ever see. And I had been tempted to take in that pack of shithouse pens. It is the level of pen that these pen stealing heathens deserve. But I won’t do it.
I still have the 6 good pens in my pencil case, and there they will stay. I get the joy of writing with them but I make sure I put them away when my shift is over and that I know where they are at all times. Ain’t nobody stealing any more of my pens.
If I look back in my life, I cannot give you one example where someone treated me badly just the one time. I gave them second opportunities to treat me badly and they took that chance to treat me badly again. If I gave them a third opportunity, they took it.
I know one person – a person I considered to be my best friend – she treated me badly so many times I lost count. But I kept forgiving her because I thought she was my best friend. She was not. She was a user – she would take constantly but never gave anything back. And let me tell you, she is still doing that to people today – until recently she was doing it to my own sister.
So what teevee show is changing my mind on this and other things? It will sound bizarre. The show is called The Walking Dead. It is a show about a Zombie Apocalypse – not like plants and zombies on iPhone. These are not cute little animated zombies. It is horrible to watch. It is gory. But it has made me see things in a completely new light.
I haven’t completely formed my thoughts on it yet but I think there are things I want to say about this show and how it relates to the society we find ourselves in. I’m still processing and when I can get the words together in the right way, I’ll put them here.
What are your values? Have they changed over the years?