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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Who's the Boss?




Many of you will remember the TV sitcom, Who's the Boss? from the 1980's starring Tony Danza and Judith Light.  Danza's character was a retired baseball player who became the housekeeper for Judith Light's character, a high powered Wall Street executive.  As I recall, both characters had strong personalities that gravitated to meet the other in the middle.  It would be peachy in real life if that would be the rule rather than the exception.  

In our modern world, people are driven to succeed at all costs; those who die with the most toys wins.  These costs include sacrificing one,s morals and ethics for the sake of a few dollars more and to be named "employee of the month."  Misleading the customer and screwing over one's peers, in this game, is par for the course.  Personal buttons are pushed:  wants, needs, and desires are played upon to make one feel that no action is wrong, you are just doing your job.  Or, advancing your "career."  As the paycheck increases, personal morals and ethics go out the window.  This begs at least one question.

In the course of general employment is it wrong for an employer to demand that an employee do things against his or her will, morals, and ethics?  The short answer is yes, but many folks fear the loss of the paycheck and thus are willing to turn a blind eye to what is right.  This is sad.  It is sad that people have to make that choice.  It is the world we live in, it is our times.  But what does some ancient, pre-Christian wisdom have to say about this?  Enter the Havamal.  

Verse 8 - Happy the one / who wins for himself *
               Favor and praises fair; 
               Less safe by far / is the wisdom found,
               That is hid in another's heart.  
(You did it yourself, not trusting in another)

Verse 9 - Happy the man / who has while he lives, *
               Wisdom and praise as well, 
               For evil counsel / a man full oft,
              Has from another's heart.   
(Trusting others to help you prosper is not wise)

We must stop this race, the keeping up with the Jones's race.  This race is not just impractical but it is a race that cannot be won....by anyone.  Every man is important; every man has wealth and worth.  

Verse 36 - Better a house / though a hut it be, * 
                 A man is master at home; 
                 A pair of goats / and a patched up roof,
                 Are better far than begging.  

Verse 37 - Better a house / though a hut it be, *
                 A man is master at home; 
                 His heart is bleeding / who needs must beg, 
                When food he farm would have.  
 (When you have these things, you can improve on them with your own effort.  Begging takes on many forms, like surrendering your will and accepting the will of another)

There is nothing wrong with honest prosperity.  But, can prosperity be true when one's morals and ethics are sacrificed?  When friends and beliefs are tossed on the fire?  I think not.  A man of honor who is self-reliant will prosper.  A man who is master of his home, hearth, heart, and mind is already wealthy.  So, who is the boss?  Any man, as just stated.  Do not surrender these things to anyone.  If you do, you will live to regret it.  

* The Havamal (or Havamol), from the Poetic Edda, Henry Adams Bellows translation, 1936

                                            Copyright @2014 Terry Unger  




  

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