That’s what I’ve thought for the majority of mind-numbing meetings I’ve endured during 35 years of public sector employment. I’d be afraid to add up the total minutes and hours I’ve wasted in my life listening to complaining and whining during meetings that, for the most part, accomplished very little or next to nothing. I tore my soul apart listening to alleged grown-ups complaining over juvenile issues. Every single time, I suffered embarrassment wondering what my father would have thought of how spoiled we all were. Every single time, I recalled visions of the crushing factory work that he did for decades. I saw it. I was an eyewitness. I felt it for a fraction of the career he endured. I worked there for a few years during high school. He lifted heavy weight 8 hours, 5 days a week for most of his adult life. I never heard him complain about his work. Not once. Not one single word. Ironically, after I escaped the hell of factory work, I endured the hell of professional whiners.
My father couldn’t complete a proper sentence in English. He couldn’t read a sentence in the newspaper. He could barely make out a few words of the nightly news on TV. Uneducated, untrained but undeniably the toughest human I’ve ever met because he accomplished what no one I know, including me, has ever achieved – making it work in a foreign land as an illiterate immigrant. That’s why I’m embarrassed at the amount of time I wasted in my life listening to spoiled rotten complainers who have no idea how easy they have it in comparison to the struggles of the rest of the world. Shameful. Disgraceful. And a sad commentary on the state of some of the leadership I’ve witnessed in my professional life. Why? Because they tolerated it.
Chickenshit leadership tolerates waste – waste of time, waste of energy, waste of potential, waste of resources, waste of salaries, waste of taxpayers’ hard-earned money. If you’re in a leadership position, you have a moral and professional obligation to get the very best out of your team. Not half-assed mediocrity…the very best. And spare me the bullshit about how hard it is. If you can’t handle leading teams, vacate the title. Everything in life is hard. Do your job as ‘boss.’ You wanted the title, earn it. There’s no excuse for allowing spoiled professionals to waste time, money, and potential with chronic complaining. Fix it. That’s your job. If the complaints are legitimate, fix the problem. If they’re not, fix the problem. If you’re a runner who flees from every problem, vacate your title. Hand it over to someone who will fix it.
My biggest regret in life is not being able to replay the waste of time listening to chronic professional whiners. If my father was alive, he’d be ashamed to read this. But he couldn’t. My secret would be safe.