Sometimes attitude means more than skills
So on to business: Every now and then I'll hear from a pseudo-friend or a reader complaining that I gripe too much about rude behavior. It's what you do that counts more than what you say, they argue.
The complainants usually tell me that rudeness is a side effect of dealing with the stresses of everyday life - the suggestion being that rudeness can't be helped. Something makes you feel out of sorts? Take it out on your co-workers or friends or neighbors. They deserve to feel miserable just like you, right? Feeling superior to a colleague, or an underling, or a supervisor? Talk smack about them to your peers. Why not? It'll make you feel better about yourself, right?
And besides, the critics usually ask me, when has a bad attitude or a good one really cost or helped someone respectively in an everyday life scenario.
I get the question. It goes to my Karma post from earlier this week. After you see people get away with behaving badly for so long, you start to believe that there are no consequences for being a jerk. Look at all the pro atheletes who are jerks but are excused because they're so good at their jobs.
But there are consequences. I know this. You know this. We may not always like to admit it, because we see bad behavior going unpunished.
This guy though? He knows it now, and I'll bet he believes it. Click the link if you have time. If you don't, here's the abbreviated version: an airport administrator from California was being considered for the top job at the Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale International Airport in the Greater Miami area. He had it in the bag, insiders say. And then some nasty emails he wrote about his possible future employer surfaced. He bashed the Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale outfit. He bashed the county administrator. He was downright scornful. Now it looks like his rude tone in those messages might have cost him the job. He may have been right in his criticisms, but there's a way to address legitimate gripes. Take them to the source. Don't brag to friends and colleagues about how terrible you believe another person to be. Go to that person and tell them they have serious issues that need to be repaired. And if you can't do that without risking your behind, then suck it up. Jaw-jacking to anyone who'll listen about how much wiser and sharper you are is just going to cost you.
I won't get corny or sappy about justice prevailing. This isn't that deep. But there really are consequences... sometimes.