You Brought This on Yourself

About two years ago my (then) flat mates and I took a day trip to the lovely spa town of Karlovy Vary. We spent some time swimming in an awesome and enormous outdoor swimming pool. As I was walking back to the showers, I noticed a guy – not in a bathing suit – just hanging around. I went in the showers and looked for a comfortable place to rinse the chlorine from my body. That’s when I saw the hand holding a cell phone under the crack in the door taking pictures I ran out the door and yelled, “What are you doing!?” The guy – the same guy – ran off.

I ran after him.

When I worked at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco a few friends of mine were fired for such things as “being unfocused” or “making death threats”. Um, yeah. You would be unfocused too if your mom had cancer and months to live. Death threats? Ever had a bad day and said, “OOOOOH! I am so frustrated, I could just kill her!” Well, my friend did and got fired for it.

I said something.

I have been told on NUMEROUS occasions that I need to learn to keep my mouth shut. Maybe that’s true. I am guilty of being opinionated and sarcastic and sometimes even caustic. I have been told I need to learn diplomacy and when to let things go. But, the more I think about it I think the opposite is true. I think more people need to learn to speak up. People are scared to death of consequences.

“If I say something, I’ll get in trouble…”
“I don’t want to rock the boat…”
“It’s really not my place. Someone else will handle it.”

Well, I got news for you. Someone else does handle it. Someone else speaks up every day so you don’t have too, and because you don’t want too.

So, yeah. The language school I worked for got wind of my sentiments toward them (from a little backstabby snitch) and decided to part ways with me. And then ask me to help them fill out paper work. And take a LOT of money from me. James Cook Languages did exactly what I thought they would – fired me. It didn’t have to end the way it did, but they pushed me. They lied to me and then…? I got nasty. I KNOW some people out there think I deserved it because I was telling people about their bad business practices. But you know what? I am glad. I can sleep at night knowing I was doing the right thing. I feel good knowing that my friends know what kind of business they could be working for. And I am SO not alone. Check out this thread… All three pages of it.

My point is this. I might have a big mouth, but at least I know that I stand up for what I believe in. When I see someone being wronged – myself, or some stranger in a shower – I try to make it right. I feel great knowing that I am not the type of person that will just let someone else fight my battles for me, take the hard hits because I am scared or just take care of my own. If I had it to do over again, well, I guess I wouldn’t have signed with them in the first place, but I would still speak the truth. I blew my little plastic whistle as loud as I could.

Yakety Yak. Don’t Talk Back.

Some people never learn.

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8 thoughts on “You Brought This on Yourself

  1. I’m sorry to hear you’ve lost your job. Good luck, whatever you do next. And I want to thank you for the warning about James Cook. I’m moving to Prague in a few months, and I deeply appreciate your honesty about your experience with that school. I am the person you helped by speaking out, and I am grateful. Thanks.

  2. I always admired people who will say what they need to say-who has the balls while otheres stare at their feet. I know first hand being honest has gotten me in more trouble than you know but at least ,for better or worse I did what was right, I dont think many people can say that. Maybe its cause I am too “unfocused”

  3. I think you approached this in the right way. It sucks that they fired you, and they surely SUCK, as I know from Kayla how so many “schools” out there have their ways of doing their business. I don‘t wanna name any specific institutions here, I don‘t wanna get into any possible trouble (legal?), you see. 🙂 And that‘s kinda the thing. It is not necessary for us to use any sort of faul language against anyone, even if they suck (they do) and even if you are right this time (you are). The thing is, if they suck, they have already, at that very moment, paradoxicaly, punished themselves. Isn’t that kinda funny? So where does that leave us?We don’t really have to get in the way. Your biggest revenge would then be if you just left them as they are, and took care of your life instead. You might even offer them some kind of help (a good friend replace that might not care so much?). Now that might really get their blood to boil, but if done in the right context, and you stay honest and truly mean to offer a hand, you will become, well, untouchable. 🙂Start seeing how such behaviour from their side must surely make them lose in the long run (other tutors in the future knowing how they treat the employees, not wanting to work for them, companies ceasing to order more classes, students feeling repulsed by such behaviour, etc.), try to help them not to lose (let go of all the grudges, there is plenty for all) and the whole world will admire you and will want to join you. 🙂I hope this isn‘t seen as somehow unwanted or unrequested.To yours best, Alicia. 🙂P.S.: Keep the blog going, it’s great.

  4. I see you’re trying to be very Zen there Michal but you don’t seem to know your chi from your caj. You’re suggesting not only that the other cheek should be turned but perhaps we could make this someone elses problem, some “friend” who is desperate enough that they don’t mind a bit of exploitation, actually ASSIST those who would do harm to others, then somehow through our benevolence achieve a glorious untouchable martyrdom. I think we should apply this same logic to cancer, don’t fight it, it’s killing itself anyway.:) The Nazis were wrong and they got what they deserved in the end… They WERE wrong after all and the universe has a way of balancing itself. By all means, whatever you do, DON’T GET IN THE WAY, so long as we can stand aside with a smug self-righteous grin we may survive to say “I told you so.”I agree we can’t allow these things to hamper our personal growth (was that a “success is the best revenge” allusion?). Harboring hostility is not healthy. If revenge is the goal then maybe Alicia should reconsider her motives, but taking things lying down especially when it effects the well being of those other than yourself is not Zen, it’s irresponsible.

  5. Thank you Anonymous. I didn’t think anyone would even reply to this, apart from maybe Alicia. She did, and sent me a very nice message on fb, so hopefully she found it useful. Well, thank you for your response, I thought it was inspiring. 🙂I basicly agree with you. Generally speaking we should always strive to achieve some sort of “common good”, or “collective well-being”, or whatever you wanna call it. But careful. There is a dangerous side to it. A trap so easy to fall into.Because the very one truth remains this: in this life, we are, in the first place, responsible for OURSELVES. Noone else. Noone else in the first place. Just US.I like to use this one example that one of my favourite mentors, and spiritual leaders likes to use a lot.Have you ever been on an airline flight? Sure, most of us have. What do they tell you at the beginning of the flight when they give you these emergency instructions?If the cabin pressure mask drops, what are you supposed to do? Put your mask on you FIRST! Even before you put them on your own children. Why?Is it cruel, or irresponsible?No! What good are you if you tried to put masks on other people’s faces and died of suffocation while doing that? You could’ve helped so many others if you had your mask on.There is an opposite side to it though. There are people who in such situation would try to steal other people’s masks in order to survive. That’s also bad. These people are uncarring and cutthroat people. Not good also.The way to go is this then: Put your mask on you FIRST, and then help others. You will do much more good if you do so. Don’t be foolish and put away what you have, but also don’t be a sadist and take others air, or not help others at all.So for Alicia this example illustrates it perfectly. She has a problem, no job (no air). What does she need? Get a new job (get some air}. What is it that made her lose that job (air)? The school that didn’t fit her well (environment that didn’t fit her well – no air there for her). Can she do something constructive about it? Can she capitalize on it somehow and maybe get something from it, like recognition or feeling good about herself? (She needs to feel she deserves it first). Sure, she can find someone who doesn’t find such environmnet so suffocating (a person who maybe learned to breath where there is no air, maybe they already have their own tank of air, example might be a teacher who has more experience or is tougher, AND at the same time is currently looking for a job – he would thank her, so would the agency, Alicia would feel better about herself for helping someone, and so they would all feel a little bit happier. Win/win/win situation – voala!).The point is if we truly wanna be a help for others, there’s no other way then helping ourselves first. If we don’t have anything, how could we be of any help? If I offered you a check for million bucks would you take it? Sure. But then if you came to a bank and they told you “sorry sir, it bounced”, would it be generous of me? Would it be fair of me? No! I had nothing to back up my offer (no money) but I still tried to give you something. Something I didn’t even have! How foolish and disrespecting of me. Of both you, and me.So I hope this is useful. And frankly, I have no idea what chi or chaj means. 🙂 I guess some eastern religion stuff. So maybe you can teach me something about that. Lemme know. Thanks again and cheers everyone, and everyone to karaoke tonight! 🙂

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