DAVE BAKER’S TAKE:
You’re the perfect talent – we don’t want you! So you’re a great professional – too bad – you can’t work here! Fortunately we’re all perfect employees, board members, team members, sorority/fraternity members as well as parents, students, and fellow employees. Some might say I’m really good at what I do, but I’m not him/her – you know what they did (hush, hush, whisper about their ills and foils behind their back) or in this ‘you can’t shame me world’ scream it out in a public forum like a school board meeting, or a borough resident’s meeting, or a stadium. Ha! I showed them. I gave them a piece of my mind! I’m so much better than them. And today, with social media you may be vilified a dozen or a hundred or a thousand times over and not know it or worse, can’t defend yourself. You see, I’m an exceptional professional. I played one sport in college. I outperformed every other athlete in the entire country in my position and led my team to national title contention. I went on to play professionally. Unfortunately I didn’t have great role models or mentors or guidance throughout my college or professional career. In my world, in my culture, you either protect yourself or you’re in trouble. Some of the kids in my neighborhood weren’t so lucky, some of them didn’t get out – I mean, they didn’t get out alive. It was tough growing up there, we didn’t have many role models other than the bully tough down the street who everyone knew not to mess with – or else! You showed you were just as tough as them and only then did they respect you. If you didn’t who knows what might happen. Unfortunately I screwed up. I got caught for what I did and had to do time for it. I didn’t know it was as severe as it turned out, I didn’t hurt anyone, no drugs, no person got physically hurt, but I screwed up and I admitted it. I went to jail, did my time and knew that if I got my act straight I could maybe regain some of what I had. I promised and kept my promise to correct what I’ve done by going above and beyond to protect and to speak out against my former acts. I corrected my ills, after all isn’t that what jail time is meant to do – correct and pay for my faults. Fortunately when I got out one of those guys gave me a chance and I proved myself again. Not fully forgiven by the fans, I still hear the jeers and snide comments from the people in the stands. I guess they’re perfect, they never made a mistake, and they never got caught. If you’re a high profile person like me, people just wait to knock you off your perch, put you back where you belong. Fortunately there are teams and coaches and owners who can look past those and see that I really am trying to make it right. It’s an uphill battle, but I promised to make it right and I’m going to do whatever I can to make it so. Perhaps my performance on the field will help soften the bite of the curse hewn down on me by the mom in the stands or the parent standing beside their kid when I walk out on the field. I hear every one of them. Their deafening. But I did wrong. I deserve it. What can I do except give my employer the best I can do to help them achieve their goal – to win. I’m Michael Vick. 80% of the Black and Gold nation support me. But to the other 20% of the selfrighteous perfect I’ve never done wrong to anyone or anything underworld, I can do no right. I commend employers who do whatever they can to take and employ individuals who have made mistakes and have corrected them. After all someone once said you learn more from your mistakes than you do from your success- right? Here’s the solution, straight from the wish list of every executive recruiter and hiring manager in the country. Here’s what we need! For every employee who sends in a resume for an open position I want two additional one page documents. One is a list of all of your accomplishments – complete with all of the factual data to support your greatness. The second is a list of all of your failures – a top 25/50 list of all of your mistakes, screw-ups, – and just for good measure – let’s include not just those from your professional career – let’s include all of those from your personal life too! Every single fault – every sin – I want to see one page of the big ones! If you’re a professional working I’m sure you can come up with at least one page of those – can’t you! The time you bagged the afternoon and went golfing because you were torqued at your boss, the time you decided I need a ‘mental health day’ due to the stress of my job and I’m calling off sick but I’m really going shopping. They won’t know I took a couple of pens, did you see the supply cabinet – my kids need school supplies, I’ll just get them from my employer. Remember that pretty/handsome co-worker I like to flirt with – I guess I’ll list that too! And my expense report, hmm, must have been a little padding there too! In fact, of the 2080 hours I’m supposed to work in a given year – how many hours did I actually do real work – truthful full accounting of every hour I worked – was it 2080??? My employer paid me for them right? How many years have I been working now? Let’s vilify Michael Vick. It’s easy, his sin was very visible for all of us, and he admitted it! But just before you do, ask yourself, under your most honest personal self-evaluation – could I cast that first stone? Oh ye without fault ……..