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Inspiration – Taking Responsibility

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Gita Bellin says “People fail many times, but they become failures only when they begin to blame someone else. Experience is determined by yourself – not the circumstances of your life.”

Boy oh boy, does this resonate with me at the moment! Over the last few years, December and January seem to be the time when I do the most disciplinaries. For whatever reason, Companies want them done either to start the year with a clean page or to start the year by sending the right message.

For the first time ever though, I’ve had to postpone a disciplinary in the middle of a cross-exam of a witness and the case is postponed until May next year – the reason – well the defendant is pregnant and going on maternity leave – it’s a strange situation, to say the least.

What has really come out of the last few disciplinaries though, is really what I want to talk about and that is the defendants’ absolute inability to accept the fact that what they have done is wrong. It’s like people refuse to accept responsibility for their own actions or inactions for that matter. I’ve heard the strangest of excuses – like “the work was not completed correctly because I am having marital problems” or “I made a mistake, but it was a long day and. . .”.

I’ve heard how an employee argued with the boss on “how” he wanted something done, I suppose because she thought she knew better, only to end up not performing the task at all because she “forgot”. The fact that she “forgot” ended up costing the company an additional R6 000-00, but she is still indignant because he dared to question her.

I’ve heard how an employee refused to use a “checklist” to perform her tasks and as a result of that an invoice was raised incorrectly and because the invoice was raised incorrectly, customs impounded the goods and apart from the cost of the goods, just the cost of the courier fees (R40 000) has now had to be written off. The employee is screaming “victimization” because the boss dared to call her into a meeting and chastise her.

Or what about the employee, who confirmed with her boss that the stock was in the hands of an event organizer, only for him to discover (when he arrived in the foreign country) that it had not been sent – but hey, she lodged a grievance against him because he complained!

What on earth has happened to the world? What has happened to self-respect? What has happened to taking pride in what it is that you do? I don’t know hey – I think this new “X” or “Y” generation (whichever one it is) has no fundamental foundation and no backbone. A few weeks ago, I was moaning about the school kids today who get everything handed to them – well I think that this inability to take responsibility for one’s actions is a direct result of this. Well, you never did the work, so how can you take responsibility? Right!

I think in “sparing the rod” we have not only “spoilt the child” but we have created a generation of monsters. On the one hand, they have the longest umbilical cords, because of their inability to do anything for themselves and on the other hand, because they don’t know how to do things for themselves – well how can anyone (including themselves) hold them responsible for their actions.

This, for me, is a really sad state of affairs – how will they grow as individuals? How will they become productive, worthwhile members of the human race? How will they cope, when all the “baby-boomers” have all passed on to greener pastures and there is no one left to do the work for them?

Can you imagine a world, where everybody did their own thing, because – well they know better, and then when the smelly brown stuff hits the fan and splatters, everyone blames everyone else? How will anything get fixed? When will the work get done (never mind how it gets done)? How will success be measured – will it be by the number of people you blame for your inability to perform a function?

It’s mind-boggling and I cannot see “how” to fix it. Actually, if the truth is told – I am not sure that it can be fixed.

What it does do though, is make me understand how important it is for me to continue doing what it is that I am doing because if just one person sees the light and understands the lesson, then I have succeeded in what I set out to do.

So I guess, “one person at a time” will continue to be my goal. One person at a time!