Will A Hostile Work Environment be the Collective Legacy of Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos?

I certainly hope not.

These men have changed our world for the better – all to the benefit of almost everyone. At the same time they have given a gross misperception of acceptable work place behavior. I speak now of the revelations taken from the following books: Brad Stone’s “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon,” or Ashlee Vance’s “Elon Musk: Tesla, Space X and the Quest for a Fantastic Future”, or Walter Issacson’s, “Steve Jobs”

Billionaires in a recent study had some interesting commonality in the form of behavioral characteristics exhibited by all. They, as a group and individually, tend to be ruthless. They are driven and have little empathy for those they have left beside the road after they proceeded to run over them, then backed up, and run over them a second time. They don’t Hostile work environment employees well. They often say cryptic things. They feel the rules don’t apply to them, and they are control freaks. Most of them, to alleviate their guilt, donate huge sums of money to public causes and charities – a positive benefit for abhorrent behavior.

There are not that many billionaires – around 1645 worldwide, about 536 in the United States. They tend to be creative, visionary and perfectionist. Employees have to decide if the benefit of riding their coattails offsets the brutal hours and effort that goes into pleasing them – if they can be pleased at all.

I don’t know if I would want to put up with working for one. But it’s a choice. I don’t have to do it. I can work for someone less demanding. I can weigh the benefits and make an informed decision.

Enter now, the idiots. You know them. You might even work for one. These are the morons who have read a book or two about these men or others they idolize and who have decided they want to emulate them. They fail to realize that copying aspects of their idols personalities will not lead to similar results.

They ARE not their idols. They lack the creativity – but they would never acknowledge that. They lack the genius – they are overconfident and believe their intellects are far higher than they really are – and most importantly, even if they had the other two attributes, they lack timing – that UNIQUE set of circumstances – a perfect storm if you will – that pits the right man with the right product at the exact right time in history that allows mega success.

Remember those simplistic, spot-on phrases from Winston Groom’s “Forest Gump?” The one that comes to mind: “stupid is as stupid does”? – It certainly seems applicable here.

Somehow, somewhere, certain folks in our work places have come to believe that fear and intimidation, hostility and rudeness – being crude and socially unacceptable are – well, acceptable.

Such behavior is not! It has never been! It shall never be! Remaining civil and treating your employees, fellow co-workers and subordinates with respect, appears in some cases to have fallen out of favor. I am not certain if this is from some stupid wild-ass assumption that to become rich you have to act like a sphincter muscle – which, said assumption, is the pure fully intestinally processed byproduct from bulls.

I am always amazed how civilization follows a similar process. Most of us work hard and over our working career, learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others. As we age and leave the work force, and are sometimes replaced by younger less experienced people who have yet to learn the lessons we learned. Whether out of ignorance or lack of experience, they repeat the behavior of the past making similar mistakes all over again.

To me that is absurd. But the attitude comes from the inexperience of youth unwilling to listen to what they believe is the outdated knowledge of those older than they.

Remember that original quote from George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”? It’s true.

So why after they read a book would this person for whom you work or know follow their newly adopted role model? Perhaps their insecurity and lack of self-identity!

So what do you think? Do you work for a “Bezo’s Butthead” or know of one? We’d love to hear about it.




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