I was only eight days old when the family gathered around and watched as the moil and I took center stage and in the tradition of my forefathers, was circumcised,. It is our way. It was not only my first public performance and I’m not sure how I felt about it or what the reviews from relatives were but also got my very first taste of wine and ritual involvement. My next significant ritual was at 13 years old for my Bar Mitzvah, where I was allowed to read directly from the Torah and be recognized before the congregation as an adult. It was my first paid speaking engagement and attended and reviewed by most of the same people who saw me at eight days old. My dad and uncles decided I had earned my first shot of whiskey as well so away and out of sight from the moms, I joined the adult men, l’chaim! Mmm, that was much better than the Manischewitz.
So far, rituals haven’t been so bad. A little work a few hours of practice but interesting and rewarding experiences, unlike the next ritual that would come my way. It was the year I made the varsity football team which was a goal I had set for myself before the summer. The extra workouts I did during that time and other hard work paid off, I was excited. The team captain told us to meet at the field the night before our first game of the season and under the cover of darkness, I was introduced to a new ritual, drinking alcohol as a team. Even though the drinking age was only 18 in New York at the time, except for a few seniors most of us were underage forming a bond of the silence of our illegal team building activity. Except for the occasional holiday glass of wine, I didn’t have much of a drinking history so it was overwhelming having to finish a quart-size bottle of Colt 45 malt liquor to ensure my commitment to the team. We won our first game pretty big over a rival school and then went on to lose the next 9 in a row.
Unfortunately, trust rituals don’t stop in high school and I don’t mean the team-building exercises like catching someone falling backward. My childhood friend always wanted to be a New York City Police Officer. It was his dream and he did everything he needed to do to ensure when he graduated High School he could get into the academy. He did. He did great and passed and was assigned to a precinct and a training instructor. He was ready to learn a become the best police officer New York had ever seen. His first night on patrol with his new training instructor was a rainy nasty night and his instructor drove over to a movie theatre, parked the patrol car, and walked into the movie theatre. The chain and sign blocking the entrance to the balcony said it was closed but it didn’t stop his T.I. from entering with my friend in tow. What were they going to do? Was there a call he didn’t hear? As his eyes adjusted to the darkness he saw several other training instructors with their trainees in tow, sitting in the theatre, avoiding the rain, his heart was broken. He knew this was a test to see who can keep quiet and trusted if the need were to arise and who they’ll ostracize.
There is nothing wrong with rituals. Some are fabulous and well thought out like the rookie pitcher who has to carry a pink backpack full of goodies for the other pitchers in the bullpen. It’s not a test of secrecy but for a sense of humor. Then there are those sinister rituals where a boss tells you a very graphic ethnic joke knowing full well it’s wrong but wants to see if you’re one of the boys or not. Any ritual that requires your secrecy can’t be good in the long run and you’ll have a decision to make for yourself. When it comes time to keep quiet about something that happens, to look the other way, to see nothing, how far are you willing to compromise your beliefs, your morals, your individuality? Will you be able to stand up for yourself and not bow to the threats, the rumors, the hearsay, and outright lies? How strong can you be? When you observe that ritual behavior and go along you are no longer the individual you once were, you now belong to them.
May I introduce another honorable public servant? Ohio PUC Chairman Samuel Randazzo abruptly resigned four days after the FBI searched his home https://buff.ly/3pNKqZo He was only trying to help other companies achieve their goals and oh yea, allegedly took a $4 Million dollar bribe.
And yet another honorable corporate executive who only has others’ best interest at heart and not himself but somehow still left his heart and wallet in San Francisco as Former Recology executive charged with laundering bribes worth more than $1M in SanFrancisco https://buff.ly/3m1X0ln.
How about this honorable company, Duke, who now won’t foot its up to $9B coal ash clean-up bill even though they knew the coal ash was dangerous to the environment, to begin with. To add insult to injury, the shareholders could still absorb half of the cost, court rules https://buff.ly/37kVoye
The honorable company, Mid Oregon Builders, LLC refuses to provide a safe workplace for their employees. They have recently been fined $42,000 for continued job safety violations, exposing workers to falls that could kill them and this is not the first time they’ve done this, https://buff.ly/37BerTY
This is the last Companies Behaving Badly for 2020. A year we can all agree, we’ll be very happy to see go. Thank you for taking time out of your day and stopping by to read my blog. I hope it makes you a better leader and a better person. Stay safe, do social distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands, be kind to each other and get ready for a beautiful and productive 2021.