What Evil looks like!

A few things have been swirling around in the media over the past few days and weeks have gradually coalesced into something worth writing about, and this morning over breakfast, my beautiful wife summed it all up in a single sentence, “Zombies aren’t the face of evil, this is!” Cue swirling…

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

Last weekend I had the privilege of joining some very good North American friends for their Thanksgiving dinner. Not being of a nation that celebrates Thanksgiving, I was interested to learn more about what it is, what it stands for, what families do, what the traditions are, etc, etc and left their home with a full belly and a much better appreciation of the celebration. Family, togetherness, thankfulness. All wrapped up in a big cooked bird and some stuffing, of which the secret family recipe shall never be revealed!

And then we woke to learn that Nelson Mandela had died.

If ever there was a person who epitomised “thanks” it was this incredible man. Having had the chance some years ago to stand outside the cell on Robbin Island in which he was held for 27 years, that thankfulness is even more incredible. So incredible that through him, and through him alone, a whole nation is healing.

Sustainability Milestone Meeting March 17th 2011

And then this week there has been a media flurry around WalMart. For 2013, Walmart posted a net income of US$17 billion (source here), up from 15 and some change the year before. Now that is a lot of coin. A. Lot. And the flurry was surrounding the fact that one store plonked a couple of buckets down by the front door with a sign on them, asking employees to donate food to fellow employees so that they could “enjoy thanksgiving dinner”.

And then… (yes, another “And then…”), this morning as I sat with my daughter reading the news together over our bowls of cereal, we found a news article reporting a possible nation-wide (USA nation!) strike across fast food outlets, in protest of low minimum wages. The aim of the protesters was to raise the minimum wage from $7 and some to $15 and some.

I was shocked!

Not by the effrontery of the protesters, but at the amount of the current minimum wage. 25 years ago I was just about to turn 17, and McDonalds (yes, that fast food megalith) sacked me because I was about to jump to the next step on the pay scale. Apparently I wasn’t meeting targets (whatever that was!). It was the best thing that happened to me because I then found a job as a cleaner and started earning $12 an hour. That was in 1989. I was 17, unskilled and uneducated.

Kayne West

2013 is now drawing to a close and companies that are earning B.I.L.L.I.O.N.S! are paying their staff a wage that doesn’t allow them to provide a Thanksgiving dinner, and are asking their employees to donate food to help them lay a table.

This is the face of evil. Not vampires, or zombies, or Kayne West’s latest excuse for a song. THIS is the face of evil.

As my daughter grows up, THIS is the type of thing she needs to be scared of. This is the sort of approach to people that should truly frighten her. And like those protesting the minimum wage, she (and anyone else who cares about others) should be standing up and lending their voice to the chorus demanding respect. Respect for individuals, respect for what someone is worth, and running a business with that respect at its core.

For 27 years a man stood behind bars espousing respect. He was eventually heard.

Apparently Walmart still isn’t listening.



Attempting to go too far!

Last night we had a leftover Thanksgiving dinner with good friends, a lovely meal of turkey, stuffing and mashed potato (and a jar or two of the household brew) and much thanks was given.

In between all the thanking and giving (and jars) we were discussing my recent trip to Korea and I shared that moment where my dark side was reprimanding me for even considering that I can be an Elementary Principal. There was a serious “Who the hell do you think you are!” internal monologue, with a “you know nothing John Snow” closing line. With all this internal castigation happening on the plane on my way to the school where I am going to be the new Elementary Principal in 8 months time, I waved for the flight attendant and had another shot of single malt poured. Darkness within!

And then today I read Seth Godin’s blog post of the day and one line of his leapt out at me…

“Internal monologue amplifies personal drama.”

The context of his comment was something that also caught my attention, as I have blogged about it in the past and just recently was contemplating some new ink to immortalize the sentiment in flesh. Seth wrote…

“When we find ourselves on the edge of a precipice, looking down at the depths of the chasm below, it’s easy to think that this time we went too far, that our plan is far too risky, that our product is way too bizarre, that our behavior is just too weird…”

I wrote,

“jump and the net will appear“.

Back to my thanksgiving dinner and the chat I was having.

When I mentioned the dark side, my host leapt at the comment with a, “don’t you just love that!” It wasn’t what I immediately expected as a response, but I had to agree. Yes, I did love it! He went on to say something to the effect of being really concerned when that dark side is not present. That the guy without the dark side telling him to give it up and stop dreaming is the egotistical maniac that we have all at some point in our careers wished we didn’t work for.

So as I put it all together, the wisdom of Mr Godin, the wisdom of my thanksgiving dinner host and my drift to the dark side I know things are going ok.

I’m not an egotistical maniac that my future colleagues will wish they were not working for, the precipice I am walking out onto is so much closer to the ground than I think, and I can chew a lot more than what I have bitten off!

Seth finished with,

“You’re far more likely to go not-far-enough than you are to go too far.”

Here’s to attempting to go too far!

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