Wednesday, May 30, 2007

WTF Wednesday

Things that make you go WTF?!

This is ridiculous. The father of a major league baseball player who was killed last month in a car accident is suing. His son was intoxicated, talking on his cell phone, not wearing his seatbelt, had marijuana in the car (a rental, as he had recently had an accident in his own car), and was going close to 70mph when he plowed into a tow truck which was assisting a stalled car at the time. Who is he suing? Everyone he can, apparently. The restaurant, which continued to serve his son. Okay, maybe there's a bit of culpability there; I don't know. But he's also suing both the tow truck driver AND the driver of the stalled car. WTF? Does he think the driver CHOSE to disable his car on the Interstate? And how exactly does a tow truck assist a car that's stalled in the road without being IN THE ROAD? That's why tow trucks are large vehicles with lots of flashing lights. So oncoming cars can SEE them. Geez. I'm really sorry this guy lost his son, but dude...your son fucked up. He's dead because he FUCKED UP. And yes, we've undoubtedly all fucked up in some way, at some point in our lives, and I don't know what kind of luck/fate/karma/divine will is involved in determining why some fuckups have more serious consequences than others, but going lawsuit-happy isn't going to bring him back. My sympathies for your loss--now get back to mourning your son in a more appropriate fashion.


On NPR this morning there was a story about a consulting firm that does nothing but help employers learn to supervise their Generation Y employees, whose fragile psyches apparently are having trouble dealing with the rough-and-tumble workplace. WTF? Apparently, after a lifetime of being told by their parents/teachers/counselors, etc. that they are ALL so special and wonderful and incapable of doing wrong, these poor kids are freaking out that their employers aren't continuing to massage their delicate egos. Give me a freakin' break. Now, I'm all for positive reinforcement--the bosses I remember most fondly were masters of that technique--but if your ordinary "Hey, that report looks great!" isn't enough for you, YOU'RE the one that needs to learn how to deal, in my opinion. Sometimes we need to be respectfully (no need to yell) shown what we're doing WRONG, too.

I feel all old and crotchety and "what the heck's the matter with kids today," but...damn. I mean, parental support is the greatest thing in the world--my own parents were masters of THAT technique--but there's a difference between being supportive versus deluding your child into thinking that the entire world exists only to fulfill his needs, and that his every utterance is brilliant, his every action perfection, etc. Come on, nobody's every utterance is brilliant, and you're not doing your child any favors by not gently helping him to realize that everyone has different talents and gifts, and that maybe he's not as good at soccer as Jimmy, but that's okay--is he having fun, anyway? Maybe math isn't his best subject, so we'll work harder at that, but what a great essay he wrote for English class.

Okay, okay, I don't have kids, so maybe I shouldn't get to have an opinion, but I WAS a kid, and if my parents had told me I was a great athlete I believe I would have known they were bullshitting me. They never told me I shouldn't try out for a team, but they never chewed out the coach when I didn't make it, either.

I think I'm going to suggest daily champagne toasts to my accomplishments (an actual technique one employer in the story was using) to MY boss and see what he says. If he can stop laughing long enough to say ANYthing, I'll let you know.

13 comments:

SUEB0B said...

Yeah, I hear you on both counts. Apparently no one is supposed to die, ever, no matter how stupidly they were behaving.

And I work with one of those Gen Y people who thinks she can do no wrong. It is pretty amazing. She slacks off, comes in late, talks on the phone or texts all day long, turns in sloppy work, does her school work (she's in a masters program) at the last minute or late, and gets so upset if anyone dares to criticize her one iota.

She wants to start an editing business - and she can't even turn in clean copy of her own because, in her own admission "I just lose concentration when I have to look at things too much."

Thanks for letting me rant.

georgeious said...

poor silly liz... if your boss gives you champagne toasts, that makes the company responible when someone gets in a car wreck after!

and speaking of the "i can't handle being corrected with a red pen" types, try reading the book "generation me" is you want some good sociology laughs about those durn whippersnappers today.

as far as the fuckup kid: he was probably due sooner or later. do you think they buried him in the backyard like a certain someone in my family? wink wink.

Noelle said...

I'm at that too young for gen x, too old for gen y demographic, and I read that gen y report, and got a little scared that I can be slackish and needy sometimes. But, if I'm gen x, then I should embrace it, be proud, and start my own company. I'm not quite sure what to do.

Oh, and the car crash guy reminds me of the lawyer who sued his dry cleaners for $65 million because they lost his pants.

3carnations said...

The father is trying to distract himself from the grief of his son dying in a completely senseless accident caused primarily by being under the influence by finding someone else to blame. It's sad. I hope he finds another way to cope.

As far as the child can do no wrong stuff...Our son is told when he is doing something he shouldn't, behaviorwise, but accomplishment-wise...He's two years old. When he throws the basketball to his little hoop and misses by two feet, I say "Ooh! That one was close!". At 15, I might say something more like "Nice try...Maybe bend your knees a little..." I think different positive reinforcement is appropriate for different ages.

Sparkling Cipher said...

I've heard this about kids - who are now adult age, but too immature to be called adults - who can't handle taking responsibility for their own actions and accepting their short-comings. I agree, (1) the parents aren't doing them any favors by trying to prevent any kind of letdown, and (2) most kids will smell the bullshit, leading the kid to lose faith in other things the parents tell him.

The lawsuits... Sweets and I have been discussing this off and on for the last week. From listening to the radio show of his favorite sports writer/secret man crush, it seems that most people in our area are outraged at the father's gall and saddened that he's essentially going to tarnish everyone's positive memories of his son and rip open the wounds over and over. For others it's a joke. Any mediocre attorney could easily tear apart the cases against the guy who broke down and the tow truck driver, and the restaurant owner can afford a very good attorney to tear apart the slightly better case against his business - and you can bet he won't skimp if it's true his daughter was running the place that night.

Anyway, I agree with 3carnations, he's looking for someone to blame, but this is only going to slow down the healing process.

lizgwiz said...

suebob, rant away! It's the best thing about the blogosphere. ;)

george, maybe if I sign some sort of release, he'll let me have the champagne. Hee.

noelle, obviously you need to start your own company and THEN slack off. ;)

3car, sounds like you have a good handle on the positive reinforcement issue. And, like I said, I think positive reinforcement is a great thing. What would bother me would be someone suing the hoop manufacturer because their kid can't make a basket in it!

spark, I agree the father is acting out of grief, but only in our wildly litigious society would it occur to someone to act out in that particular way. It's out of control.

Edge said...

Until we get some great disaster like a depression or major catastrophe where people really have to do without, each generation will get suckier and suckier. It's the curse of the Baby Boomers.

~Jef

gorillabuns said...

obviously most gen y'ers have never had a boss yell at them, "i pay you from 8-5 and you will do as i say from 8-5. if i say jump! you jump! if i say sic 'em! you sic 'em!" and "hey, sweetheart, can you sew this button on my collar while i'm in a meeting with 4 other men?"

i'm thinking most gen y'ers received a trophy for coming in last place in their t-ball games. what's the point in trying if everyone wins?

lizgwiz said...

edge, we are a bit...spoiled, aren't we?

gorillabuns, I'd like them all to work for a scary former boss of mine, who once got in my face with "It's not your job to think, it's your job to do what I tell you to do." (This after committing the heinous crime of helping a ditzy co-worker.) And I was her favorite employee! She LOVED me. "Like one of her own children."

Paisley said...

I heard about a school that doesn't give out Fs anymore...and school teams that can't cut anyone that tries out. IT MAKES ME CRAZY.

They all need a swift kick in the ass if you ask me.

Paisley said...

oh - a guy at my office doesn't think it's inappropriate to text message during meetings when he isn't talking and text messages during movies. wtf? he's not that much younger than me!

lizgwiz said...

paisley, I really, really don't get the whole text messaging thing. Granted, I'm old, but where's the appeal in getting carpal tunnel in your 20s?

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