I guess it’s time I explain R.W. Ridley – I am that guy – Moon Gorillas Welcome. I’ll leave out names to protect myself from total retribution.
"Don't be that guy, Richard!"
In my previous job, I was a fairly good employee. I loved the company and the people I worked with and most of the people I worked for. It was a great place to work most of the time. However, there was one occasion where I actually considered leaving and never coming back. I’m talking walking out without a word. I called my wife, and she let me vent and fume and it basically calmed me down enough so that I could take a deep breath. Eventually, I just let it slide. It would have been stupid to leave at that time for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that I was totally at fault for the situation I was in.
Without giving too many details, I did something I was told not to. I knew what I was doing was wrong. It was an idiotic move, and I knew better. I made the mistake of believing I was smarter than my employers, and told myself that the ends justified the means. It didn’t. Not by a long shot. I was called on the carpet for it by my supervisor’s, supervisor’s, supervisor’s, supervisor – four guys above me. A guy who was and is climbing his way up the ladder of this Fortune 500 Company. He’s an ultra A-type personality who’s known for ruling with an iron fist.
I was brought into a room with my supervisor and his supervisor and his supervisor. The last guy’s supervisor was on speaker phone. He started out okay, but he slowly built up into a rage. He told me the story of another guy who screwed up royally in the company. What this guy did was just slightly worse than what I did. You could feel the deep, undeniable loathing for this guy in the supervisor-to-the-fourth-power’s voice as he recounted the story. His breathing became rushed and erratic, and I imagine his face was blood red. He eventually paused and then blurted out, “Don’t be that guy, Richard! Don’t be that guy!” I looked at all the faces in the room and could see that they were all really frightened for me. I had just been verbally shredded, and backed into a corner. I could escalate things by fighting back, or I could save everyone a lot of heartache by saying nothing. I took the middle ground and said. “Well, I’m not real happy being me right now,” and tried to take ownership for my actions without sounding spineless. I realized that I had gotten everyone in that room in trouble, and they probably weren’t that happy with me either.
Intellectually, I knew it was my fault, but emotionally, I seethed for months for the way I was treated. It was a good old fashioned bloodletting, and I was filled with resentment. Over time, I had more and more interaction with the supervisor-to-the-fourth-power, and while I can’t say he and I became buddies, I can say I slowly started to have a lot more respect for him. He’s constantly under a tremendous amount of pressure, and he’s insanely good at his job. He delivers results. True, he’s got zero people skills, but he gets things done. The truth is if what I had done had gone totally wrong and blown up, the CEO of the company would have had his head on a stick.
The incident made me realize that I am that guy. The next time the supervisor-to-the-fourth-power tells a story about how somebody really screwed up it’s going to be about me. And let me tell you, you don’t want to be that guy.
Now, why Moon Gorillas? Because Moon Gorillas are totally cool, and they will always be welcome here.