Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sometimes you're the dog and sometimes you're the flea

It's debatable whether it is better to be the dog or the flea. Personally, I think the flea has the advantage in most cases. He is smaller than the dog and pretty much flies under the radar. The dog may think he is in control of things, but the flea is the one that makes him stop and scratch ever now and then. And the bigger the dog, the more fleas and the more the dog has to stop and scratch. If you are a smart enough flea, you bite and move, bite and move. That's the key to survival.

It's a pretty basic philosophy that you can apply to most business situations. It's very similar to the philosophy that the soldier who sticks his head to far out of a foxhole has the greater likelyhood of getting it shot off.

I've embraced this philosophy pretty much my entire career. Going unnoticed has always worked for me. I have climbed the corporate ladder in a zig zag pattern that has to date avoided snipers. It hasn't showered me with a great deal of prestige or respect, but there has been a certain amount of stability. There' s always food on the table and a big screen television to watch.

Oh, there was a time that I considered being successful. But I weighed all of the pros and cons and figured being mediocre was a more realistic ambition. Sometimes you just have to lower the bar to achieve your goals.

I know this philosophy goes counter to most of the inspirational mumbo jumbo you are bombarded with on a daily basis by mass media. I'm just here to ask you to consider that maybe, just maybe the glass really is half empty. And just considering that possibility frees you of all of that pressure to put a positive spin on all of the crap floating around you.

So next time you are tempted to say, "Have a nice day," to someone (which is pretty much like rubbing their face in the fact that they won't) why not simply say, "Hey, have whatever kind of day you can." Just those few simple words of indifference could make a difference. Or not.

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