Standing guy

Careful, they’re listening

March 11, 2018

“I’ve already said the words that will cost me my future job. I’ve already done the awful thing that will label me as a monster. I’ve already crossed the line and said something inappropriate at school or in public.

“I’m bound to have unintentionally hurt many people and maybe those feelings will fester inside them for years to come. I’m well-versed in the microaggression, blithely unaware. Maybe a discussion point in the office made someone feel unsafe. I’ve argued with people and by the nature of the topic they think I’m disrespectful, stupid, or even crazy for discussing it. I’ve already said something in anger that someone passing in the hallway could call despicable or gross.

It will haunt me

“That one innocuous Facebook status update: it’ll haunt me. How could I possible expound a personal opinion on my own time knowing that I’m always an extension of a company’s image. I’ve tried to be funny on Twitter and it went over like a lead balloon. I’ve received Snapchats that could seem insensitive and inappropriate, even sent a couple, too. I’ve made a joke that seems more cruel over text than I ever meant it to be.

“I can hear the clock ticking on my social crimes. When the indictment will be served I can only guess.

“Will I know the person who calls me out? Or are they an acquaintance at a party and I’m having a few drinks, minding my business, having a good time and I say something stupid. Is that grounds for my dismissal?

An old co-worker?

“Could it be an old co-worker I didn’t get along with? Maybe the opportunity to besmirch my character for their gain is too delicious to turn down. It doesn’t matter if anything really happened in this case, I just had it coming.

“Will my future children in “social justice elementary school,” like that in Ontario and even Alberta, catch me saying something at home I shouldn’t have? Will they tell my wife and try to create unnatural conflict in our marriage? After all, I might say something that seems pejorative at any time, for any reason.

“What if I offend someone? Think about the ramifications. This world is an evil place made worse by insensitivity: my words are tantamount to violence in the offended one’s ear. At least they could be. After all, politics is correct, right?

“I will feel awful when that day comes; the day when my world comes crashing down because of something I might not even be able to control. I’d done my best to avoid egregious wrongdoing, hurting others unnecessarily or acting unjustly, but maybe it’s because I critiqued positions that needed more explanation that I fall on my sword. Other people control what happens to my words after I say them.

“So I speak frankly now that I’ve already lost that big job I’m hoping to receive. The scandal will be big, for at least a couple days anyway, and then the news will forget about me and move on to the next personal mishap.
“The new court has no fixed rules. My future job will record every second of every day I was in the office, and will do so with every employee. Finally, they catch me saying something awful; something they could never endorse. They cut the cord and thank goodness, says the public.

“In the future I am but one of the many destroyed characters, all chopped down for various degrees of fault. Those with the hallmarks of virtue and the loudest voices will continue to single out until there is no more wrong. But the mindset that’s been created to catch the wrongdoing and the vagueness of how it will change means only the perfect will succeed. At this rate anyway, that is true.”

Hopefully, none of the above applies to you …

– Michael Menzies