Hazing & Heartbreak

by John on November 8, 2013

My 12 year old self woke up this morning with a broken heart. (Yes, I still have a bit of me that is 12, and 17, 22, and 35… and you do too. Don’t act like you don’t know)

My 12 y/o self-heart was broken by the stupid crap that’s happening with the Miami Dolphins in the national media.

Growing up, the Dolphins were the gold standard in the community. They were our heroes. Every boy wanted to throw the ball like Marino, run as fast as Mark Duper & Mark Clayton, and be as dependable as Nat Moore. We all looked up to Coach Shula as the “most awesome-est” coach ever and even owner Joe Robbie was to be lauded for his tenacity and sheer love of the team.

Today, my naiveté has gotten the best of me and it’s time to face a harsh reality that bullying and hazing in the workplace is real, ugly, and no one is safe.

I know that several bloggers have weighed in on hazing & bullying in the workplace before and will continue to write about it for the next few years because it’s not going to go away. It’s a topic that touches all of us in a raw place because we’ve either done it to others, or have had it done to us.

I’d like to admit my transgressions to you now: In my past, I have been hazed and I have hazed others.

While admitting my past transgressions is easy, the self-actualization part is a bit harder. I’ve learned some pretty valuable lessons from those actions. Most notably that I will not put myself or others in those situations again, ever.

Now I don’t want you to think that I’m completely naïve. Individuals in the work place have bosses and supervisors who are people with pressure and deadlines. Everyone has to deal with varying levels of crap; some giving and taking more than they should.

Hazing is cheap and easy motivation that anyone can do/learn. Hell, it’s always easy to order a “Code Red”.

So what do we do now? Blow it out of proportion? Overcompensate and overregulate? If I’m bold enough to blog about this, then surely I must have an answer right? The truth is, I don’t know…
I want to use all the standard lines, use the canned training material, and hope that will help stop some of the crazy. But I don’t think it will.

I think we need to go back and channel our 12 year old selves again and try to remember those hurt feelings, the finger points, the laughter aimed at us and use that as the starting place.

And while we’re there we should also remember the capacity we had for laughter, joy, and love.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to have a conversation with the 17 y/o self. Apparently he thinks I don’t need to worry about all the M&M’s I’ve been eating…

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