I have been feeling very “human” lately. Let me explain that in a minute but while you are reading this consider all of the “human” drama occurring lately. Frankly, human drama has existed ever since the cavemen (or is that “cave people”?) started living together! Let’s shrink the time frame a bit.
The Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal is a good starting point and let me mention this blog isn’t about that subject. But it is where I want to focus this topic. “Human” dynamics are extremely complicated and when you add male/female stuff, woohoo! So the “#MeToo” movement created an uncomfortable conversation between men and women and then the massacre at Marjory Stonemen Douglas High School in Parkland Florida…on Valentine’s Day! This blog is also not about that! But it is about the public discourse on both subjects.
For every social media post, there is a human being involved. Too many of them have the DNA of a Troll but I digress. Honestly, there are many days when I seriously contemplate just quitting Facebook in particular. I am guilty of getting sucked into the vortex of opinion, anger and insults. It’s so hard not to…because I am “Human”!
I mentioned this blog isn’t specifically about #MeToo or American Gun Rights but when you put these two topics together as I am, its akin to talking “politics or religion” and I was taught to never do that, weren’t you? Yet, here we are. What’s most incredible to me is both subjects are so polarizing yet in a perfect world, we’d be like rugby players. Beat the crap out of each other on the pitch and then both teams go for beers together. On the rugby pitch, it’s about the cruelty of competition and beating the other team then in the bar, it’s about the mutual love of the game. Can we not apply the “Rugby Principle” to life? It would make sense, wouldn’t it?
Let’s use the gun debate for a bit. I “hate” guns. I “hate” hunting, big game in particular. I “hate” seeing stuffed animal heads on walls. Yet I grew up in small town Canada where 90% of the people I knew owned at least one, but usually many, guns. Those same people loved hunting. When Darlene and I got married in my hometown of Yorkton, Saskatchewan, we had our reception, dinner and dance at the Yorkton Gun Club. There were animal heads on every wall. Neither Darlene or I liked that but it wasn’t our place. It was the Gun Club’s Place. If I hypothetically bought the Yorkton Gun Club building, I would give all the dead animals back to the club, but it is their building so I keep my opinion to myself and suck it up! It was an awesome wedding and some people loved the dead animals, some didn’t but we were there to celebrate our marriage.
Please put that sentiment in the back of your mind as I ask this vital question. How do you see your staff, or your co-workers, or even, the boss? I haven’t worked in an office complex outside my home office since 1988. My wife and business partner, Darlene, has run our business operations since 1991 and that was in Regina. She actually worked a full time job until we moved to Calgary in 2000 and we decided she would manage the business full time. I know she misses getting dressed in nice attire, going to an office, interacting with her co-workers, gossiping around the water cooler. We have a water cooler and not once have we gossiped around it!
But if you asked her if she misses it so much she’d get an office job, she would laugh and say she doesn’t miss it that much. What’s your thought? I completely realize this is a bizarre way to have a conversation with you but I want you to consider if your work life has improved or degraded because of how “personal” these topics have become. After the #MeToo movement caught fire, I wanted to known what Darlene’s recollection of her working life was before we met and specifically, was she ever uncomfortable around her male co-workers? This was a really good question because she worked in Human Resources for a chemical and fertilizer company where over 90% of the employees were male and a significant number of those males were engineers in the 1980’s. I’m not trying to disparage engineers but with total honesty and this is confirmed by Darlene, male engineer culture of the time was quite misogynistic. Frankly, misogyny is very real and it’s about time it gets called on the carpet! By the way, Darlene responded to my question with a laugh and then said, “What do you think?” That was a rhetorical response. Trust me…you don’t mess with Darlene; male or female! But she then said this; “But there’s a ton of men out there shaking in their boots!” How about you? Males, do you have a reason to be shaking? Females, have you been hiding some truth? Now the big question…Is This Making Things Better Or Worse?
Again, in a perfect world, the answer would hopefully be “Better” and clearly it’s much too early to know but I am writing about this because I’m guessing it’s caused a noticeably different climate in the workplace. Oh, and then if you are American, you get to add the fun debate about Second Amendment Rights and the NRA! From what I’ve observed, it feels like the United States is bitterly divided and that’s exactly my point. Who is right? Isn’t that a great question? I don’t want to make this blog overly complicated or lengthy which it indeed could easily be.
It feels like in the gun debate you have a “political” divide and as simplistic as that’s become, it’s not. When I say “simplistic”, what I mean is in America, generally speaking,you are either Republican or Democrat, Left or Right, Progressive or Conservative, and so on. Once more…who is right? Clearly, infinite factors shape our belief systems and we then go even deeper and call them our values and morals and the idea of “compromising” those is a powerful thing. But we are also living in a “new normal” as that overused expression suggests.
The #MeToo movement has shaken the male dominated entertainment industry which means it will never be what it was and I personally believe it will improve things with initiatives like I wrote about last blog, “The Inclusion Rider” will if anything bring a consciousness that was always bubbling beneath the surface but is now in plain view. The millions of students who marched in support of the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School suggest a turning of the tide amongst young people who were not only supporting changers to assault weapons laws but supporting each other which had its roots in the anti-bullying movement and is the essence of this post!
No matter what you believe, please acknowledge we are all “Human” and where we may never completely agree with each other, it is in my opinion that it starts with “You”! You “Are” a solution to a social media driven world where being “right” has become more important than being respectful of each other, “You” can be the difference. Think about it! If every single person made a personal commitment to make “Respect” the “Default Setting” of our lives, an actual “Tipping Point” could occur and the prize would be a better workplace, better homelife, and better world. Corny? Well that’s one opinion!