Ethics in Everyday Life: I’m Thinking You’re Protesting Waaaay Too Much, Part Two.

Two months after my “Rescind*” (see below) post on the LinkedIn group—and 6 weeks after I’d stopped following the discussion, I opened my e-mail to find the following in my InBox:

@Linda Snyder

@Any of you judging somebody else who may have been at their wits end and made a decision, and got caught. @ Any of you who believe “a lie is a lie” no matter what?
If we were talking The Good Book here, yes a little sin is the same as a big sin, but we are not, are we?

For example, I am sure none of you judgmental people have EVER done any of the following:

1) Called in sick to work when you were not sick?

2) Told the boss you had a doctor appointment to leave early so you could attend the opening of the first baseball game of the season?

3) Never cheated on your taxes in even the smallest of ways? Perhaps increased your donation amount from $25 to $125? Or you 1099ers- Perhaps you claimed a piece of furniture as office furniture in setting up your office when it was really a piece of furniture for your living room?

4) Never cheated on your expense report by claiming dinner to be $24 instead of $14 because your company doesn’t require receipts for anything under $25?

5) Never kept your child out of school for a reason other than sickness, and then the next day wrote a note to the school saying your child had been out sick making your child an accessory to the lie? (What was that I read about collusion?)

6) Used the company vehicle or company gas card for anything other than purely business travel?

7) Lied on your drivers license about your weight?

8  Told a family member, friend, or neighbor that you were not feeling well when you were perfectly fine just to get out of attending some event?

9) Padded your salary when you applied for a job at any time in your career? (I realize one sex will identify with this more so than the other for obvious reasons.)

10) Told someone how nice they looked when you didn’t believe it to really be true?

11) Responded “Not tonight. I’ve got a headache”?

Who are you trying to kid? Yourself? Use your head. People in positions to hire people are supposed to have the ability to use good judgment. Look at the person, speak to the person, examine the circumstances and do the right thing for that situation. It’s called situational leadership. It’s a matter of degree. Use your head and maybe some good old-fashioned common sense.

Everything is black and white. Right? Tell me Linda, will you do any of these things again?

This was written by someone I don’t know—someone I’m not connected to— who identifies herself as a human resources professional. 

When I first received this e-mail, my hackles went up.  My immediate reaction was “What is your problem?!  Are you some kind of idiot?”(not a very compassionate response on my part but after all, I felt like I’d just been assaulted out of the blue) – which I’m sure was not the reaction she was hoping for.  Most likely, she believed that her abrupt and far too harsh missive (which she also posted on the LinkedIn discussion itself) would “wake up” those of us who obviously were being hypocritical about our own failings.

I didn’t respond.  It seems clear that anyone who would violate my In Box this way really doesn’t care what I think. 

A goddess does not behave in such a fashion. 

(*“You’ve offered a job to an applicant who stated she was still working for her former employer. It turns out she was let go (not for performance reasons), and is NOT employed by them.  She apologizes, saying she didn’t want her current unemployment to be a factor in the decision of whether to hire her or not.  Would you rescind the job offer?”)


Goddess Entrepreneur / The Sisu Project….

The only consultant & motivational speaker around to use Finnish mythology, hair-raising anecdotes, oddball humor and solid business principles to reach & teach your audience in the areas of leadership, ethics, guts, courage—and a simpler way of life.

Ethics in Everyday Life: I’m Thinking You’re Protesting Waaaaay Too Much, Part One.

When one person makes an accusation, check to be sure he himself is not the guilty one.

Sometimes it is those whose case is weak who make the most clamour. 

—  Piers Anthony


A couple of months ago someone posted a question on a human resources group on LinkedIn, which went something like “You’ve offered a job to an applicant who stated she was still working for her former employer. It turns out she was let go (not for performance reasons), and is NOT employed by them.  She apologizes, saying she didn’t want her current lack of employment to be a factor in the decision of whether to hire her or not.  Would you rescind the job offer?” 

I was the first to respond, saying “Rescind. At best, this could be considered poor judgment (and perhaps desperation on the part of someone unemployed who really needs a job). However, this isn’t even merely an exaggeration of qualifications… it’s an outright lie. She’ll do it again.”

I later wrote: “When you hire this person, you will have set the stage to condone lying – even if it is for a good reason (it’s not her fault other employers have some elitist and totally unrealistic vision of what makes a good employee e.g. currently employed elsewhere). 

“In the future, if something goes wrong with this employee, she’ll always have the fallback position of ‘Hey, you hired me knowing I lied’. That puts the company in an indefensible position.”

Since then, the discussion has generated more than 2400 posts; most of which I haven’t read.  The reason?  The postings almost immediately deteriorated from a professional discussion into an accusatory, name-calling, free-for-all on the part of those siding with the unemployed applicant.

Those who wrote that they would rescind the job offer to the applicant seem, on the whole, to be calm and rational in defending their positions.  (“She lied, pure & simple”, “If she’ll lie to get a job, what would she do once in the position?”, “It’s a slippery slope, and where would you stop?”)

There are some in the middle who are struggling with the issue.  And then… well, there are people who are completely over the top, infused with righteous indignation that “this poor woman” who is “desperately in need of a job” is “being judged” by the evil, hypocritical pawns of the bureaucracy….

So, after the first three or four hundred comments, far too many of which were nasty or downright ugly, I checked the little box on the discussion thread that stopped every single one of the next 2,000 posts from landing in my In Box.  They had been flooding in at a rate of a dozen or more per hour, and some were so venomous they were almost painful; at the very least they felt like a violation of my sense of emotional equilibrium in my own office. 

The proponents of maintaining the job offer—not all, but a great many of them—on the whole were presenting themselves as crusaders for justice against hypocrites… the “hypocrites” being those of us who believe that standing for certain principles helps create order and reduces chaos in this confusing world we inhabit. 

They were trying to prove that because we are all human and therefore we all make mistakes and do stupid things on occasion, that we should tolerate all instances of lapsed ethics or poor judgment calls.  The approach could be considered a humane one (ethics in support of the individual rather than arcane or high-falutin’ principles), except the accusations and belittlement of the rest of us by the proponents compromised that argument. 

In fact, the accusations were so extreme it seemed clear to me that they were trying to justify their own lapses by howling “But everyone does it!”.  They surely were protesting waaaay too much.

It all only served to reinforce my stand on the issue…. they were proving my point.  They were stirring up more chaos and anger and disgruntled feelings by their recriminations, their blame, their name-calling (and even some near threats—on a discussion group, for crying out loud!). 

I would have been happy to debate the issue in a reasonably rational fashion, but this level of drama?  No thanks.

The argument for the individual instead of a principle (or so-called “situational ethics”) is an important one to have.  However, it loses its value when courtesy, kindness and empathy are thrown out in the process.

Goddess Entrepreneur / The Sisu Project….

The only consultant & motivational speaker around to use Finnish mythology, hair-raising anecdotes, oddball humor and solid business principles to reach & teach your audience in the areas of leadership, ethics, guts, courage—and a simpler way of life.


“Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.” — Arthur Golden

Wind: air, aura, blast, blizzard, blow, breath, breath of air, breeze…

“I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things… I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind.” —Leo F. Buscaglia , 1924-1998

Wind: chinook, current, cyclone, draft, drift, draught, flurry, flutter, gale…

“For what is it to die, But to stand in the sun and melt into the wind?” —Kahlil Gibran, 1883-1931

Wind: gust, hurricane, jet stream, mistral, monsoon, puff, squall, storm…

“Since I grew tired of the chase And search, I learned to find; And since the wind blows in my face, I sail with every wind.” — Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900.

 Wind: stream, tempest, tornado, trade wind, typhoon, undercurrent, wafting, whiff, whirlwind, whisk, zephyr.  

“The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind, The answer is blowin’ in the wind.” —Bob Dylan, b.1941

Motherless Daughters

My mom died when I was 10, and it certainly affected my life. I was pretty much in charge of the household after that – cooking, cleaning, taking care of my little sister – while my father worked very hard to take care of us. (He would drop us off at our school teacher’s house in the morning, and pick us up after work in the afternoon… we went to a one-room school in western Maine, so had the same teacher!)

I suspect this early experience led not only to my intense need to take care of people (not so much in a warm & fuzzy way, but in a constantly alert and looking out for them kind of way), and to be an achiever… but also, I have to wonder… to be an entrepreneur.

When the book “Motherless Daughters” came out, I bought it – and found I couldn’t read it because of the feelings it dredged up. (I’m still unable to read it.)

Is there anyone out there who has read it? Any other motherless daughters who might weigh in on whether there’s a correlation between death of a mother at an early age and entrepreneurship?

It’s the Looks, Stupid… Not the Skills

Yup.  Here we go again.

Why is it some journalists have a need to describe the physical attributes of a woman they’re quoting, but not those of a man – even when they’re in the same article? 

Maybe we should expect it from men’s magazines.  Or even certain newspapers.  But in O, The Oprah Magazine?

Here are the quotes, found on MSN Relationships today, taken from the article “How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It”.

“The number one myth about relationships is that talking helps. The truth is, more often than not, it makes things worse,” says Love, a tall, lean redhead with a down-home Texas twang and a generous smile. She is cofounder of the Austin Family Institute, and leads workshops around the country when she isn’t making television appearances or cowriting books, including the best-selling Hot Monogamy.

“Talking about feelings, which is soothing to women, makes men physically uncomfortable,” says Stosny, the Maryland-based author of You Don’t Have to Take It Anymore and an expert on male aggression. “There’s literally more blood flow to their muscles. They get fidgety, and women think they’re not listening.”

Barbara Graham, the author of the article, lost her credibility with me with those descriptions.  Patricia Love, an experienced professional, is first described by her looks (although Graham is careful not to comment on whether or not Love is attractive).  Her skills and accomplishments seem almost secondary.  On the other hand, Steven Stosny, Love’s research partner, is described entirely by his qualifications.

I have an undergraduate degree in psychology, have worked for years in the mental health system, and have studied male/female gender differences & communcation styles extensively… and my reasonably learned opinion is that the article – and the theory it describes – is otherwise pretty good.   

It’s too bad Barbara Graham felt a need to put a gratuitous physical description of Patricia Love in her write-up.  I guess now I remember one reason why I stopped reading O, TOM several years ago.

Linda Snyder, M.S.

What Makes You a Goddess Entrepreneur?

Okay, I’ll go first.

What makes me a Goddess Entrepreneur? I would say it’s the combination of how seriously I tackle my business; my intense respect and love for the land (and especially trees) and animals; my belief that we’re all intimately connected (even if we don’t often feel it); and my passion for my husband and daughter, first and foremost… and for my friends and family as well.

A Goddess loves the raging wind and dancing bonfires; she sighs over smooth stones in her hands and the smell of real roses while the thorns are sticking into her skin.   She buries her hands in the dirt, breathes deeply through her nose in a baby’s hair, lays her cheek against a puppy’s fur… and teases her lover with her eyes.

A Goddess thanks the flowers she picks for her bouquets, carries a wayward firefly back outside, and cries over dead things.

A Goddess Entrepreneur knows we must all work together, love together, and be together… and if we do, all will be well.