Jibes aren’t jokes to those on the receiving end
Larry, Purchasing Manager for a barge manufacturing company, told our Leadership Development LAB (LDL):
“In the 1970s we were in the throes of a nationwide gasoline shortage. I was working for FMC/Gunderson down near the waterfront, not far from Tube Forgings of America, on Front Street. As I look back on those days, I must admit I had made myself the resident pain in the butt to all my co-workers. I constantly and mercilessly teased anyone who made the mistake of running out of gas, especially if they got stranded. I accused them of only using the top half of their gas tank and any other jabs I could think of to hassle or embarrass them about how they were being disadvantaged by the crisis.
“Well, as fate would have it, I was out of the office running a lunch time errand one day down on St. Helens Road when my car started to cough, sputter, jerk and gasp. The resident ‘pain in the butt’ had actually run out of gas. I was way out of town and there were no gas stations in sight. In fact, I knew there were no gas stations for miles around. For some unexplainable reason, I decided to call the garage at work and asked them to quietly bring me a can of gasoline. Unbeknownst to me, they decided to call one of my co-workers and ask him to drive the gas out to me. Well, needless to say, once my fellow employees were alerted to my peril, my worst nightmares happened. I had egg all over my face when I returned to the office. There were signs and banners everywhere announcing that Larry had run out of gas. And, of course, an unending source of jibes and comments about fate. It was not a pleasant experience.”
“Later on that evening, I was telling my story to one of my friends. Immediately she said, ‘I thought you have AAA road service. Wouldn’t t hey have brought you some fuel?’ Laughing now at the whole incident I
am sure they would have, if I had thought to give them a call. Now I had double egg on my face.
“The lesson I learned from this experience is to withhold judgment, to allow others the same room for error I want and need when I screw up. I learned the absurdity of expecting others to be perfect. This lesson forcefully reminded me of the fact that others will mete out judgment with the same harshness or patience as I mete out judgment on them.
“The action I call you to take is to lighten up. Remember, the jibes that may feel like joking, fun play to you can feel like stinging, cutting criticism to others, so withhold judgment!
“The benefit you will gain is living in a more harmonious world, a world which is less harsh. You will experience the empowerment that comes when you know you have the freedom to be yourself. You’ll experience fewer intensive retributions when you make the inevitable errors we all make.”
The Southwest Washington Contractor’s Association is sponsoring the first ever open enrollment Leadership Development Lab (LDL) in Clark County! For more info, call us at (503) 625-1867.
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