Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I took a few minutes out of my afternoon to check on the Baseball Hall of Fame election results. I can't quibble with the two selections the voters made (Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn... with Cal Ripken and his consecutive-games-played streak being something associates should try and emulate to when deciding whether they should come into work on a given day, no matter how sick they feel or what the doctor tells them to do) but I'm disappointed that Mark McGwire received such little support (23% of the votes, with 75% necessary for election). McGwire's statistics qualify him pretty undeniably. The problem is that, despite a lack of solid proof, apparently a lot of voters are presuming those numbers were achieved with the use of performance-enhancing drugs, and denying McGwire entry to the Hall of Fame because of it. This is ridiculous.

Even assuming McGwire took steroids, no one ever caught him, and shouldn't that be the standard? He was just doing what he felt he needed to do to help his teams win, and if everyone was willing to look the other way while he was playing, they certainly shouldn't hold it against him now. It's the same way we look at our associates. Whatever they need to do to get the work done, whether it's illegal drugs or outsourcing some of their assignments to legal staffing firms in sweatshops overseas, it doesn't matter as long as the work gets done. It's our own Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. You get the work done and we're happy, whether you've put your long-term health at risk or not. All of that is up to you, it's entirely your call, we're not going to hook you up to an IV filled with amphetamines unless you give us your consent, and we're not going to force you to use the employee discount that we negotiated with the drug pushers down the street. Anything you want to do to help the firm is entirely up to you, and while we're certainly appreciative of the efforts, and will of course look favorably upon those associates who go above and beyond the call of duty to give their all to the firm, we're not going to fire you (immediately) if you don't drink a gallon of Red Bull for breakfast.

It should be the same way with McGwire. He did what he had to do, and if his teams were willing to accept the results at the time, why should he be held responsible now? We don't prosecute our former associates for crimes they committed while they worked here, unless we have to. Baseball shouldn't either. I think it's a travesty that McGwire won't be at Cooperstown this August, all hopped up on pills and ready to give his induction speech. Maybe next year, if we're lucky. And if he's not dead by then from the after-effects of all that junk. Personally, I've never touched any of it. Back in my day, we didn't need pills and creams and artificial stimulants to get through the day. The hours requirements were lower and the demands were less. I'm just glad I don't have to be an associate now, because it's much tougher. Lucky for me, I'm not forced to think about it too much, and I can just pretend the associates today have it easy, make unreasonable demands on them, and get angry when they can't meet those demands. It's easy to bury your head in the sand. And relieves you of the burden of caring about other people's well-being. That's their parents' job, not mine.

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