Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Standing on the Side of Right

Anyone that has worked with me will tell you that I am passionate about getting things right. I like to fix things that are broken. I like to improve my skills. I like to challenge others around me to improve and I expect them to do the same for me. I rarely miss the opportunity to improve myself or to encourage others to prove. I love teachable moments.

This morning, after reading Alan's thoughtful post on sexual harassment in the IT industry, I wonder where I have missed those teachable moments in the non-technical areas of my career. Though I don't have any women on my current team, I have worked with them in the past at other jobs. Though I have never done anything as egregious as what Alan describes, I hope that I have treated them with respect and dignity. I believe that I have. However, I am sure that I have also missed opportunities to help men around me be respectful, considerate, and just plain decent.

Though the original article was about sexual harassment, this is an issue that transcends gender. Sexual harassment is merely a single form of being a jerk. At my company, like many others, there are rules against being a jerk about certain taboo areas: gender, religion, age... We shouldn't be relying on corporate policy to define decency.

True confession time. I'm an ass. I hope that today I am less of an ass than I was ten years ago. But, truth be told, I still have some ass-like tendencies that pop up when I least expect them. I hate that.

Some of you know me well enough to know my beliefs. I am happy to say that I am a follower of Jesus Christ and that I have trust in Him alone to guide me through this life and the next. If my beliefs are to be consistent with my actions, then I must continue to fail forward in this area of how I treat those around me. To be consistent, I must treat everyone with respect and encourage others to do the same. To be consistent, I must be willing to admit when I am wrong (often). To be consistent, I must build other up rather than tearing them down. To be consistent, I must treat people like... people.

That brings me back to the original topic of this post. We must treat our female peers with the respect that they deserve, and we must insist that others do as well. Look around you. Are you standing up for others? Are you defending the sanctity of the lives around you? Where, dear reader, do you need to improve?

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