A big pet peeve of mine is misdirected focus. In fact, I think a big reason as to why this world is so imperfect is because people incorrectly identify the root of an issue. They focus on the wrong part of the problem. That way, not only do the “solutions” not solve the problem, but they also often create new ones.
When I entered the workforce, I had a very idealistic idea in mind. It was my belief that if you worked hard, you would get rewarded, and if you did not perform well at your job, you might get fired. Imagine my surprise when I learned that getting fired was not easy. For years, I have witnessed people not fulfill their duties, and yet they remained employed. Hand in hand with that, the people who took their job seriously got only verbally acknowledge once in a while. Basically, there was no motivation to be productive. You could be a slacker and still have a job. Why bother? With the growing trend of suing your ex-employer for wrongful termination because of whatever reason, companies became scared of firing people. I was stunned.
However, the article, which serves as an inspiration for this post, shows us the other side of the coin – how easy it is to get fired. Fired for something that is not even related to your job performance. (This post ties in with some of the other ones I wrote in the past. Feel free to read on the topic of free speech, or our obsessions with phones and with recording everything.) Since I have not read any major “drama on a plane” related articles in the past weeks (maybe even months?), I thought we might be done with it. That is not the case.
Let me tell you the story. A woman got on a plane only to find out that she was sitting in the back of the plane next to a woman with a baby. The stewardess claims the woman screamed at the mother. The woman with the child quickly took out her phone to record the incident. The recording, however, only shows the woman “thinking out loud”, not even in a raised voice. No screaming is involved. Yes, babies tend to cry on planes. When I see a baby on board I do not jump for joy, either.
What made me laugh was the fact that the mother of the EIGHT MONTH OLD told the woman to stop swearing in the presence of her kid. Really? No wonder the woman supposedly told her to “shut up”. I might have reacted the same way. I am allowed to be displeased with the prospect of sitting next to such a little baby. If I am mumbling to myself and you scold me for swearing in the presence of your CLUELESS newborn, I will probably point out your stupidity. Now, granted, I understand people with children need to get from point A to point B just like the rest of us, so other than a few eye rolls, deep breaths and a few curses under my breath, there is not much I can do.
The reported story is not a total one. The video only captures a snippet, so in this post I deal with only what I know. The agitated woman is asked to wait for another flight if she so pleases, but she says she cannot. She asks for the flight attendant’s name and says she might not have a job the next day. That was totally uncalled for, I agree. From that moment forward, however, the stewardess gets offensive in her defense, raises her voice, stomps harder when she walks and adds anger to her tone. That is not proper customer service. This is not how you diffuse a situation. She even tries to have the woman removed from the plane. The woman profusely apologies, blames the heat of the moment and THANKS the flight attendant for calming down.
After the young mother recorded the video, she posted it online for the world to see how badly her and her child were being treated. Drama much? The video went viral. Of course. It seems to me like only the silly videos “make it”. As a result, the woman, who was displeased with the prospect of sitting next to a kid on a plane, was put on leave for the duration of a thorough investigation. She can lose her job. She can lose her job not for not performing her duties, not because of royally messing up at work, but because something she said outside of work.
Are we not allowed to be upset with something anymore? Camera phones silence us. We end up scared of opening our mouths in fear of being recorded. It seems like recordings combined with social media have become our judges and our courts. We can be put on trial for anything and everything. And because the Internet is so vast, we can be as easily lynched.
Is having someone not wanting sit next to us our biggest problem? People are starving. People are homeless. People are disabled. And yet we throw a fit when someone does not act the way we want them to. The mother, who recorded the video, is regretful that the video went viral and that the woman might lose her job. Why did she not think of that before? Why would it not be enough if she just verbally vented to her family once she landed? She is 19-years-old. People her age are programmed to live and breath through their phones, and post everything pertaining to their lives on social media. If you are around her age and you do not insist on posting everything on-line, I command you. Spread your wisdom among your peers.
I urge everyone to focus on the REAL problems in our lives. Try to identify the correct root of it. Work towards that solution. If you do not have major problems, be grateful. Count your blessings. Do not go out looking for problems. Do not create problems where there should not be any.
In conclusion, from my observations, the only sure way to get fired is to express your random opinions out loud, and try to make sure someone records it.
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