Today being Election Day got me to thinking. Barack Obama may lose his job today. Most of us have lost jobs. Losing a job is hard enough, but to lose your job so publicly? That’s got to smart a little. Consider, also, for a moment that he has spent the last year trying to convince folks that he should keep this job; that they should let him continue in his current position. And not just a few people. He’s got to convince millions of people that he deserves to remain employed.
Can you imagine a similar scenario playing out in the private sector? Can you even fathom being called in front of your bosses, coworkers, and clients and being asked to justify every decision that you made over a four-year period? And to be required to do so as your potential replacement looks on? And let’s not forget, your potential replacement will be expected to not only criticize what you’ve accomplished (the more haughty and condescending his or her manner, the better), but to lay out a plan to undo all you’ve done. All the while being very clear about his or her ability to do your job better than you ever could. He or she may even shake his or her head in something that resembles astonishment that you were ever given the job in the first place. Talk about your hostile workplace!
Of course those seeking public office go through this type of thing, and more, on a much larger scale every election cycle. The “more” is the presence of the media. In a perfect world, the media should be following the candidates, uncovering untruths, and, generally, keeping them honest. They should not be interpreting what the candidates are saying. We do not, as any idiot knows, live in anything remotely resembling a perfect world.
Let’s make a place for the media types in our private sector scenario. Let’s say that the company hires some folks to insure that you’re telling the truth about how you’ve done your job; it’ll be their job to document, to fact check, and to report on your performance. To guard against any tomfoolery or shenanigans by the company, you get a couple of folks in your corner, so does your potential replacement. Maybe a couple of outsiders wander in because, let’s face it, this might just be entertaining. Suddenly, it’s a circus. More and more, these fact checkers begin to analyze your decisions, to assign motive, to suggest, perhaps, that you are, indeed, incompetent. You could spend a great deal of your already precious and possibly limited time, defending the lost widget shipment of 2010. Luckily, though, you won’t have to. Remember, you have peeps, too.
It may come down to your peeps making a better case for you than your potential replacement’s peeps or the company’s peeps. It’s a wonder you’ll get anything done while all this is going on. Ultimately, you’ll come to decision day. Who gets the job may or may not come down to what you’ve actually accomplished or how well or poorly you really did your job. Nor may your potential replacement be more qualified for the job than you are. It may be that someone had a better information posse. Either way and for whatever reasons, someone will be rejected.
So, Happy Rejection Day!
photo credit: cuveecorner.blogspot.com