This week, well actually almost this entire month, has been trying to overcome bad advice and management practice which was provided to a client. I would love nothing more than to share names, opinions, and actions which got this entity into the mess they are in but that won’t solve the problem. It would make me feel a whole lot better though.
Last night, after spending another 7 hours trying to figure out how to take incorrect balances and make them right, while at the same time trying to write the letter which explains to them why they now owe new balances, I asked myself, “Is it truly worth it?”
And when I almost convince myself to really question what I am doing, I think about the poor accounting clerk at the unnamed management company who, several years ago, no doubt discovered that what was being done, was wrong. This accountant, filled with the righteous fury of making accounting meaningful, marched up to the unnamed boss at the management company, and laid out the facts.
“We are wrong.” The intrepid accounting person said.
“You are fired.” Said the boss.
Shooting the messenger is so much a part of the game isn’t it? When things are not going well, it is easier to get rid of the those who question the steps, who report the unpleasantness, than to deal with the problem. For the people who don’t want to hear it, they get silence and are grateful. The ones who sounded the warning likely become gun shy and possibly vow to never raise a concern again. There mantra might become, “It’s just how they do it here.” Without realizing that by mouthing the phrase, they too become caught in the trap of decay.
Let’s be clear. I think that when you start to simply accept poor behavior you become part of the problem. When you see your manager using the company car on weekends, the same week you were involved in a termination of an employee who borrowed a work hammer, and you are silent, you are part of the problem. Excusing the behavior of the manager simply because she is manager means that the rot won’t end.
Wrong is wrong. Oh don’t misunderstand, no one will thank you for taking the stand. Not your boss, not your bosses boss. If you are lucky, you keep your job but get stuck with the title SNITCH. But maybe, just maybe, people will start acting a little more ethical, at least in your presence. And maybe, just maybe, they will act a little more ethically all the time because frankly it is too much work always looking over their shoulder to see if you are watching.
To that accounting clerk who, years ago, noticed that their employer was doing something completely wrong and called them on it, I thank you. I know you tried and you succeeded. Perhaps not as quickly as you might have hoped long ago but you are being vindicated.
One journal entry at a time.
Is it worth it? Yes. Doing right by people isn’t a zero sum game, it is the easiest way to live. And like any questing knight, when you see people not wanting to correct a mistake, don’t be afraid to call them out. Do it for the sake of the game, not because you expect an atta’ boy (or girl). The greatest rewards in life are from within, when you can lie your head on the pillow and say, “Thank you, me, for a job well done.”