Karma is a concept of deeds and acts found in Hinduism that deal with creating one’s destiny. If one sows goodness, one reaps goodness; if one sows evil, one will reap evil. A theistic view of karma is expressed by the following: “God does not make one suffer for no reason nor does He make one happy for no reason. God is very fair and gives you exactly what you deserve”. There was a bunch more on Wikipedia but my attention wandered and I got sidetracked watching a video of cats playing tether ball.
What got me thinking about this (karma, not funny cat videos) is people with ill intent. Bad people. Mean people. People who take advantage because they can. I don’t understand people like that. You seem to find them in business most often. Probably because that’s the most common place people have power over others – your job. Everyone has run into one of these asshats at some point or another. The boss who makes you do something simply because he can. A coworker who intentionally throws you under the bus for no apparent reason. The guy who decides microwaving three-day old fish in the break-room is a good idea. What goes through these folks heads? Why do some people treat others in a way they wouldn’t want to be treated?
One of my favorite quotes semi-related to this topic is from Johann Wofgang von Goethe, a German poet in the 1800’s. Paraphrasing: “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” I also like this one from J.C. Watts (OU Sooners!) “Character is doing what’s right when nobody’s looking.” This one’s a gem as well from Capt. Ramsey of the USS Alabama: “The training program is simplicity itself. You just stick a cattle prod up their ass and you can get a horse to deal cards. It’s a simple matter of voltage.”
Ok, that last one is fiction but it does give me ideas of what I’d like to do to a few of these not so nice people. Why does it seem that these folks often succeed in business? Do you really have to be a butt-head to get ahead in life? I hope not. I’m not a saint by any stretch of imagination but I hope that overall my balance sheet shows more good than bad. At least I tell myself it does… because it’s going to be the big bummer dudesky if at the end you find out it didn’t matter.
It has to matter. Otherwise what was the point of most Clint Eastwood movies? Or those slighty creepy values.com commercials from evangelical Philip Anschutz? I don’t want to risk bad juju. I’ll just keep on trying to do the right thing. But… given the opportunity to turn the tables on one of those bad folks would I do it? As Clint Eastwood Said in Gran Torino, “Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn’t have f’ed with? That’s me.” (don’t you love how easy it is to be a badass from the safety of the Internet?)