I've Learned My Lesson - Question Everything

Image source: http://www.swisseduc.ch/stromboli/perm/erta/lake/icons/mf_028.jpg

"I've learned my lesson." The words, uttered by a colleague, made me cringe inside. You know when those words are said in that flat monotone that the lesson learned is one forced down their throat, unpalatable ugliness underneath a facade. "Keep your head down low, be a YES person, that's what they want around here."

Why continue to bring up solutions that lack merit in the eyes of the boss? It doesn't matter of the world thinks it's a great idea, if the boss doesn't like it, why bother? As I looked into the eyes of my colleague, her bitter expression marring a passionate professional's profile, I remembered something I'd read in the bathroom--it takes only 14 muscles in your face to smile, 42 to frown.

Or, consider the image immediately above...what does this mean for our children? Don't adapt your surroundings to you? Isn't that the essence of mankind? To adapt his surroundings to match his vision? If it wasn't--for those that want to argue that point by reminding us of global warming, animal extinction--we'd all still be living in harmony with nature (or Eden depending on your understanding).

Consider Danny Brown's words....
In business, “leaders” have forgotten what it really means to lead. Instead, they bully employees into thinking their ideas are dumb, and while the employee is on the ground picking their shredded idea up, make sure they stop and get a coffee on the way back.
Educators are telling our brightest students that they won’t have a voice in the business world when they leave college, so be quiet, just listen to your superiors, and maybe – just maybe – they’ll get on in their chosen profession...Question everything. Settle for nothing. Even the most common sense answers can always be enhanced through questions and ideas. (Read more Danny Brown)

As I reflect on the points Danny makes, I recall this private Plurk conversation starter from earlier this week:
done caring about the technology in my district. If my administration doesn't even care enough to show up to a meeting, why should I?
For a day or two, I leaned towards just saying, "Leave. Go somewhere new." Then, I realized I was channeling Scott McLeod. Oops. I remember how irritated I was by that advice and imagined how others receiving it might feel.

Consider Danny's advice, yes, Question Everything...ask yourself why you can't move on and find another place to be? Why can't you tell the Organization what's wrong with itself and screw those trying to protect it to the detriment of those the Organization is meant to serve?


I've learned my lesson...question everything and tell the rest of 'em to jump in a lava pit!

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


dougpete said…
There's nothing that impedes progress like trivial roadblocks. Major roadblocks can be dealt with. If you're living in a truly progressive environment, questioning should not only be an option, but it should be expected and logical answers provided. Decisions that impact the learning environment should be vetted through some sort of common sense channel before implementation. Unilateral decisions, particularly of the moronic type, serve nobody's best interest.
Scott McLeod said…
Hi Miguel! Nothing like reading 'Then, I realized I was channeling Scott McLeod. Oops.' =)

This is a great post, as usual. Sorry I irritated you before! I'll stand behind my earlier sentiment, however, that most of us have more agency over our lives and our jobs than we're willing to admit. Our 'lizard brains' (as Seth Godin calls them) too often get in the way of our own happiness and/or success.
Danny Brown said…
Hey there Miguel,

First, thanks for the pointer to my post, appreciate it.

I hadn't seen this story about the faculty - that's really sad, and makes me wonder about the future of our kids if they're having their individuality halted in this way.

Thanks for bringing it to our attention.
Chris Patrick said…
In your profession or your educational setting you need to always keep your beliefs. If you change your mind our oppinion, do it for the right reasons. If everyone does what everyone else wants, we will have a completely chaotic society in which no one would be happy. I say stick with what you believe and, as you said, the people that don't like it can go jump in a lava pit!
Miguel Guhlin said…
@dougpete, as more time goes by, I'm inclined to agree more with Scott McLeod. Aside from one's job in these tough economic times, what have you got to lose?

And who's really served well by keeping silent? Question everything is very well the lesson we need to learn. The problem is, of course, that the "moronic type" is NEVER inclined to listen to those questions...and they work hard to limit your voice after they lose once or twice. After all, even morons learn from experience...they just learn the wrong lesson.

Miguel Guhlin said…
@Scott, you're an inspiration! Don't stop being who you are because it ruffles feathers.

With appreciation for who you are,
Miguel Guhlin said…
@Chris, since we live in groups, we crave the safety and stability of a steady job (especially these days), going your own way can have dire consequences on yourself and family.

"He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief." Of Marriage and Single Life. Francis Bacon (1561-1626).

You can add mortgage, car payments, debt, etc. We can't simply unplug from the Matrix without serious repercussions.

Are you prepared for that eventuality? How do we prepare our children for it?
jfluhmann said…
It's interesting how this post is somewhat topical for me right now. Looks like I'm getting ready for a situation where I'll either stand my ground, give up and say "Yes", or move on to a different place. It'll be interesting to see how the next few months play out. (sorry that I have to be a little vague right now)
Miguel Guhlin said…
@Jeremy - This may be topical for all of us, hence the popularity of the post. It should come as no surprise that many are trapped by the "poor economy" in their current jobs, houses (love the NPR series on this topic), marriages, etc. Perhaps "topical" doesn't cover it...it is zeitgeist!


Seriously, consider the facts of the Texas economy and its downfall. Do these facts impact your decision-making?

Finally, remember to keep a positive outlook.

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