Either You Smoke or You Don't | HR Fishbowl

Written on March 9, 2012 by Charlie in HR Profession, Leadership

Cozy Carlisle from “Dead Again” – artfully played as only Robin Williams could – shared a piece of wisdom that I’ve held on to since he threw it at me from the big screen 20 years ago. And it’s this: “Someone is either a smoker or a nonsmoker. There’s no in-between. The trick is to find out which one you are, and be that. If you’re a nonsmoker, you’ll know.” He shares it as he’s lighting-up with no qualms about it whatsoever. I used to be a smoker struggling with whether I was a smoker. I quit. I miss it…terribly.

What if there really was no “in-between?” There’s something very comforting about removing the grey that surrounds us: You are or you aren’t; it is or it isn’t; it does or it doesn’t; it will or it won’t; it can or cannot. We’ve been taught all along in the world of Human Resources that nothing is black and white. Or at least that’s what I’ve always said. Imagine how nice it would be to quickly discern whether some stupid thing that Vice President did either constituted harassment or not. Oh how I wouldn’t give my pinky finger to know exactly what you should be paid. And who wouldn’t love to be able to look at that candidate across the table and drop that hammer of justice down on whether she will be successful or not. It would be nice. I’m not really sure Cozy is suggesting that’s possible, though.

In fact, I think he’s highly conscious of all the grey out there. He gets that we are encumbered by, overwhelmed by, and maybe even incapacitated by it. We are caught in the grey…trying to be all things to all people…trying to be all things to ourselves; we are conflicted; and as a result, we can’t get to one side or the other and we can’t do either one of those sides justice. We’re afraid to choose or to commit to who we really are.  Maybe we’re afraid to figure out who we are because that would mean we’d have to admit it. It’s easier to be wishy washy. It’s easier not to really have or take a stand. It’s much easier to sneak that smoke when no one else is looking…

So this is not so much a cliched “be authentic” post as it is a “pick one and go for it” post. Did you pick the right one? Who the frack really cares?  Just pick it and be it. Stand behind it. You’ll know – eventually – if it’s the right one. And you can change it if you really have to. In the meantime, give it some time. Enjoy it…and only it.

Image Credit: † mexico rosel † (via Compfight)

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