1 Sep

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The other day I met a man who shared he holds a top job in the Administration. He made it clear he doesn’t work for the Administration. He is a lifer. A long timer. In the real world, they are scoffed at as Federal employees.

Live in D.C. long enough it is wisely known that a snowball cannot be thrown without knocking over about 70K Federal employees. They are everywhere, migrating from around the country, even world, for the guarantee of the three S’- shower, sh*t and shave. Being a Federal employee is security. Being a Federal employee does not mean they are the brightest of the bright. More often than not, they are the complacent, unwilling to rock the boat enroute to pension.

They are just people, at work at 8 and leave at 5.

That is a problem.

This man volunteered out of the blue, he got a F.O.I.A., a Freedom of Information Act request for data on something or other. He had no clue what it was for. He signed the paper denying it.

My eyebrows rose. My question was direct, “why did the man file the F.O.I.A. and what did he tell you was his reason for filing it.”

Dunno “said the Chief of that Bureau as he nibbled on snacks.

“What did he say when you spoke to him” I asked.

“Dunno,” the Chief of the Bureau said, “Never asked.”

I was incredulous. In social circles, the best one can curvaceously explode with is “O.M.G. you didn’t pick up the phone to hear him out, to find out who he is and what can be done?”

“No” he said “he probably wants money or fame, all Whistleblowers do.”

And there you have it why people turn up at workplaces with guns, often. No one took the time to take the person out of the building for coffee to sit down and ask “hello, how are you and who are you?”

A few years back I was at the Social Safeway in Georgetown. Yes, D.C. names our Safeways, – the Soviet Safeway, it’s shelves were almost always bare; the Secret Safeway, it was hard to find it and the Social Safeway where people went to hook up, so I heard.

Starbucks operated a concession inside the Safeway. Safeway employees ran the coffee stand. It wasn’t rocket science work. All it took was asking “may I take your order please” followed with a “how are you paying” then wishing a good day.

One man could not manage that. He was curt, flippant and so weird that customers complained. I come from the Smiles Can Win culture. My smiles were not winning. It got to the point that I spoke to the manager, cautiously. I didn’t want the man to lose his job. My professional opinion was the man was qualified for a job, not this one. This one needed Social Skills..

To my horror the Store Manager opened a drawer exposing papers upon papers of complaints about this man. My eyebrows rose, I asked, “What did he say when you spoke with him?”

The manager answered, “I haven’t spoken with him. I am getting ready to fire him.”

A mentor taught me to ask people if they are open to a thought. Their answering “yes” engages them in ownership of the answer. The Store Manager said “yes.”

I shared, “Have you considered taking him outside of the store, across the street for coffee, chat with him, get to know abit about him, hear him listen…”

The Store Manager said, “I never thought about that.”

The world now knows the shooter of the TV crew lived a hidden life. The murder of these two people began with H.R., Human Resources. Someone did not ask pertinent questions that may have saved the life of these two kids maybe not of two others.

The red flag was there with the man using a name, Bryce Williams, that is nowhere as near impressive as his real name, being a Third, part of a lineage. Thirds and Seconds don’t always see their ‘tack ons’ as impressive. To them being a Second or a Third is an anchor they don’t want to talk about, a liability of having to answer who number One is and whether they lived up to Number One’s accomplishments or could escape his failures.

Congressman Chris Van Hollen was threatened when it came out in his 2010 re-run for office that he is a Second. His constituents never knew.

Van Hollen The First was a giant among men. The world will learn more about shooter “Bryce Williams” over time, more than his being an aging hot rent-boy going for $2000 a night, a success in that field. And of the man denied a F.O.I.A. that his boss did not invite for coffee?

Well, there are some more things the man said that had me worried enough to pen this piece that a simple enough coffee and walk around the block may or may not mitigate…..professionally speaking, is he the man for his job?

No. Not until he learns to pick up the phone and say “Hello, how are you and who are you….”


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