Scum Rises to the Top

If you live in the country or at least drive through it from time to time, you’ve probably noticed more than a few ponds that are covered in algae. This is caused by an imbalance in the ecosystem and/or a lack of water flow and drainage of the pond. What you can’t see from a distance though is that this scum resides not just at the surface but exists well below the surface as well. Many businesses are like these kind of ponds. When there is scum at the top there is often scum farther down the corporate ladder as well.

A few years ago I had to deal with a boss that was sleazy and incompetent all at the same time. The only thing that he excelled at was trying to advance his own career and he did so by stepping on anyone that he perceived to be a threat to that. Under his year and a half reign of terror many employees complained to HR about him including myself. None of those employees got a favorable response from HR and most ended up quitting or being fired. This boss tried for most of that year and half to get me to quit or to contrive a reason to fire me. In the aftermath of all of this I came away with two conclusions: 1. The company has more money invested in managers than they do associates and will protect the managers as much as possible and 2. This guy was filling a certain quota for the company and they were never going to touch him.

It’s always fascinated me how the completely unqualified end up in positions of power whether it be in business, religion, or political circles. Every four years the politicians and the media present us with two choices for president that nobody really wants but either one is really the only choice because the masses don’t explore other options beyond what the television tells them to think about.

There are other kinds of ponds though. Those that aren’t full of scum that have a healthy eco-system where the fish are happy and healthy. I want to be a happy fish. I don’t currently work in a scum filled environment and neither was my most recent job either. But I’ve seen how quickly the eco-system of the job world can become imbalanced with idiots who rise to the top by sucking up to other idiots.

So today think of your life as a fish in a pond. Is your pond healthy in all aspects or is there a lot of scum at work, home, or church? What can you do to make the pond healthy again? Remember in a real pond the elements that make it unhealthy do need to be there, there just isn’t the proper amount of them. Think about it.