Joe Rector – The Gift That Keeps Giving

Last weekend we posted a couple of post about Joe Rector, community news columnist for the Knoxville News Sentinel and the Knoxville Focus. First, on Saturday we previewed what Rector would present in the Sunday News Sentinel. Second, on Sunday we previewed what Rector would present in the Monday edition of the Focus.

Now, tomorrow in the Focus you will read his next column entitled “Fairness” or read it below. He says everyone should be treated the same. What about the “accused” -vs- the “convicted”. Hmm, enquiring minds are wondering. Tell us it ain’t so, Joe.

Okay, I admit that I’m perhaps a touch “anal.” Type A personalities are supposed to be that way, and too many people have commented on my obsessive-compulsive characteristics, as well as my penchant for being in control for me to deny it. So, I stand guilty as charged. However, being so isn’t such a bad thing. Many things that would otherwise go by the wayside are completed and wrapped in neat little packages because of such due diligence.

One thing that my overzealous make-up demands is equality. I expect it in every part of life. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. What is needed most is a set rules by which we all abide. That way, each of us can judge for ourselves how well we stack up against others. If another person beats me in a contest and we’ve competed on an even playing field, I can accept losing a match. No, I don’t like losing, but doing so is easier to take by realizing that opponents haven’t been given an unfair advantage.

What I expect is that all are held accountable to the same standards. Nothing provokes resentment more than when one person is told not to do something while another is allowed to do it. Bosses can destroy morale and productivity in an office setting by pulling such bone-headed stunts. Why should I give effort on a project when criticisms are hurled my way over things for which another employee receives praise?

At the same time, whether or not a boss likes an employee should have no bearing on work decisions. I have no doubt that some bosses in the past have felt more than a little animosity toward me. At times I can grate of a person’s nerves, especially when I’m in the middle of one of those Type A conniption fits. However, I also believe that in most cases I met the expectations of my job. A boss’s attack of my work or decisions that adversely affect my position have to be based on something more than a vendetta or clash of personalities. Otherwise, fairness is thrown out and everything is left to chance and mood.

My mother is the blame for these rigid views. Throughout her life, she had a set of standards by which she conducted herself. She believed in treating all with dignity and equity. On more than one occasion she “jacked me up” for having a bad attitude and for expecting the rules to change in my favor. I learned that fairness is a main ingredient in leading a life for which there are few regrets.

Now, I’m an older person, and I darn well demand a level playing field. In fact, I become righteously indignant when the rules are finagled to benefit one person or group over another. That indignation more often than not leads to my expressing my displeasure with situations. I have to speak up; remaining quiet in the face of inequality means that I accept the unfairness. Yes, speaking up can produce ill feelings and end relationships. Still, it must be done to secure such an important right for everyone.

Maybe the coming years will mellow me. Perhaps I just won’t care one way or the other. I hope not. Watching individuals tweaking rules to their gain and my standing idly by wouldn’t set well with Mother or with me. Maybe it’s a moral obligation I have.

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