The snow came as a surprise, throwing me off my routine for the weekend, just as mother nature tends to do. So as human kind has always done at times like this, we flee back to our caves until the storms expire.
This is true for internal storms as well.
I have always been a cave-dweller, someone who relied on a private space to protect me when threatened by external and internal forces.
The last three or four years have been a lesson in life, and how easily, we get caught up in other people’s webs.
I am a powerful person that puzzles other people.
This is not a boast.
Most people get their power from position, and thus become vulnerable to a number of factors, not the least of which is people with more powerful a position.
People who use position for power cling to it desperately, and are easily seduced by any thing that will allow them to maintain it (often with the illusionary promise that they might get more.)
These are the most easily corrupted because they soon come to realize just how little power they actually have.
The truly powerful – whether from personal or position – use these petty power people to maintain their own power, often playing one against the other so as to eliminate any threat to their own position.
In organizations where the most powerful person on top is relatively weak or indecisive, petty people create fiefdoms and operate their own little hives.
What few people truly understand about me is that I always defy authority when I think authority is corrupt.
It is the nature of who I am.
Even at risk of losing my job or getting killed, I’ve done so.
Somewhere in the back of my head, I can’t live with the idea that evil goes unpunished – and will do everything in my power to stop its being rewarded for ill deeds.
Early on, I was openly defiant – and more than once was fired over it. More than once beat up or threatened with more serious violence.
In most cases, especially in jobs I’ve worked, I somehow managed to position myself in a way that I was more or less immune to the ebb and flow of ordinary power – such as when I was a baker and changing ownership would not risk losing me.
So I was in these cases, always able to speak my mind, when other people, who feared the loss of their jobs, could not.
Just as I remain a cave-dweller, our so called liberated society largely remains a serfdom, where bosses dictate not merely how jobs are accomplished, but also the pattern of people’s lives.
In these cases, it is hugely important for someone to keep them honest when in most cases, they are not.
Personal integrity and power rarely co-exist in the same person or even the same work place. Since our society is based on the pursuit of wealth, corruption is a natural byproduct – even in the smallest institution.
The most ambitious people leap frog from one institution to another, and slowly work their way up the power chain to higher and more significant positions. But as in all such societies, they must live by the ruthless rules of survival of the most vicious. The problem in that scenario is that there is always someone more ruthless that you are, and others just like you seeking to edge you out of.
Over the long years, I’ve learned patience is one of the best defenses against this aggression. Sooner or later, these types – especially the ones who have less to offer than they think they do – undo themselves.
While working hard does not protect anyone in this game, competence generally does. The secret to surviving backstabbing is to not give these petty power people anything they can use against you. In most cases, they are simply trying to use your own weaknesses against you.
Of course, I am as flawed in many ways, so I have many chinks in my armor. – and part of the life lesson over the last few decades is trying to keep from letting others use these against me.
My biggest weakness, however, is my biggest strength – my inability to let evil people thrive.