Saturday, August 23, 2014

Free Advice

We used to live in a town that had a great farmers’ market down on the square. During late spring and early summer, one could go there on a Saturday morning and not only buy local products but also see local characters on display. It was a farmers’ market with a mixture of art show, carnival, music concert, political rally and tailgating all thrown in for good measure. One of my favorite characters was this guy who sat at a card table with only two things on it. A tip jar and a sign that said “Free Advice”. You could ask him anything and he would solemnly ponder the question and then give an answer. The answer might reflect the wisdom of Solomon or be totally off-the-wall ridiculous and often hilarious. But he never cracked a smile or engaged in any conversation beyond, “What is your question? My advice is as follows….”

As a headhunter, I offer quite a bit of free advice to clients and candidates regarding the job market. I consider the free advice as an investment in building positive long-term business relationships and do my best to make sure that it is sound advice. And as I watch what’s going on in the world, I feel the need to offer some free advice about a number of issues. It’s unlikely that anyone will care, much less take action. But at least I tried and did so for free.

So here’s some free advice on a variety of topics which should be easily identified (but I’ll provide some points of reference just in case):

_Follow the money. (Want to get the bad guys in the Middle East? Want to solve the immigration problem? Want to figure out why Washington is so dysfunctional? Why is there so much coverage of the Ferguson MO shooting?.)

_Avoid confrontation with law enforcement officials. (Ferguson MO and lots of other places)

_Married men, do not go on the radio and talk about all of the women you’ve had sex with. (Nick Cannon, aka Mr. Mariah Carey)

_ Do not flip people off. (Johnny Manziel)

_Drill baby drill. (Energy independence…which also sticks it to the bad guys in the Middle East, see “follow the money” advice above).

_Do not trust politicians. (You already knew that…pick any example from Putin to Obama).

_Always get a second opinion. (My shoulder surgery was successful and recovery is going well.)

_Do not leave kids, or pets for that matter, in a hot car. (How many more unnecessary deaths will it take?)

_Don’t waste water. (Hello… we are running out of water in a lot of places.)

_Do not allow expenses to exceed revenue. (Starting with the Federal Government.)

_Get some exercise. (You know this is good advice.)

_Spend time with God and if a voice tells you to cut off someone’s head, it’s not God’s.

_Read a book instead of watching television. (Reality TV is not real.)

_Listen more than you talk. (One of the best pieces of advice you’ll ever get.)

I could go on, but most of us know what to do. Good advice is almost never anything we did not already know. Most of our missteps are not made out of ignorance. Thus my last piece of free advice: THINK.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Guys Hitting Girls

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that college and professional athletes having been making the headlines for beating up on women. One of those even struck close to home when a Texas Tech football player punched a woman in a pick-up basketball game. That this woman was a scholarship player on the Lady Raiders basketball team and was knocking the boys around pretty good, resulted in both athletes being penalized with partial season suspensions. But, the fact remains that an angry young man punched a woman in the face. Inexcusable.

So what’s up with all the violence against women? First of all, it’s nothing new. Secondly, it gets more publicity than it used to. And third, it probably is happening more often than it used to. Men have been hitting women forever. It’s a terrible fact of life on planet earth. I can honestly say that by the grace of God I did not grow up around it. Women were pretty much put on a pedestal and treated with respect on both sides of my family. Unfortunately, I haven’t always upheld those values and confess that I’ve done my share of verbal and emotional abusing. And that can be just as bad, if not worse, than physical abuse. But, I’ve never hit a woman.

That some families have a history of physical abuse is well documented. And it’s not uncommon for the kids to get beat up just as badly as their mothers. It’s a cycle and when young men get the message that hitting a woman is what men do and that somehow it works; then those young men are inclined to hit women. In a culture that openly and without sanction calls women “bitches” and “whores”, violence against women flows naturally.

And in a society that values money, sex and power over all else; many women find themselves riding on mans most sensitive nerve. And I don’t mean the one between his legs. I mean the one between his ears and its name is EGO. The male ego is powerful. It can drive men to do great things and it can drive men to do terrible things. It is no surprise that high profile male athletes are often involved in violent acts. And not just against women. Money, sex, power and EGO. The stuff that drives a man to push himself to the limits to succeed on the field can lead to bad things off the field. Especially when mixed with drugs and alcohol.

At the end of the day, guys hit girls for the same reasons that people use and abuse other people in a variety of ways. It’s the fallen human condition. Who’s worse? The pro football player who knocks out his fiancĂ© and drags her off an elevator or the corporate executive who decides that it’s ok to allow kids in sweat shops to make his company’s merchandise? Who’s worse? The college athletes who take advantage of a drunken, passed-out coed or the middle-aged, family man who after tucking his kids into bed sits in the dark looking at pornographic images of young women on his laptop?

But first things first. Guys don’t hit girls. Period, end of discussion. From there, perhaps we can go to work on the deeper problems.

“The Roots of Violence: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice, Politics without principles." - Gandhi