If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.”

Unfortunately I can’t tell you who the quote is from because it’s pretty much in dispute, but it doesn’t matter because it’s a great quote anyway.

I was prompted to think about this quote as I was having lunch with someone earlier today. As she was telling me some of her tales, I realized that I had a few of my own on this subject of fairness and realizing that sometimes you have to take that next step towards being fair to everyone, even if it ends up being nothing.

For instance, I remember at one hospital when I had to be the one to step forward and tell a HR director that where we worked needed to start recruiting minorities as employees at the hospital, for more than one reason. His take was that no one ever applied. My take, which I’d confirmed by someone who did work in the hospital (in housekeeping, the only department that had minorities besides myself) was that people in the community had decided over the years that the hospital wouldn’t hire anyone and thus had stopped trying.

How I got around that was to tell this person I knew to mention it to other people with any kind of job skills and have them apply to the hospital, let me know about it and I’d at least get them interviews for positions they were qualified for. It all eventually worked, and I took great pride in being the one who started the ball rolling.

At another place, I remember a conversation about hiring someone that had vision problems. The person could see, but not great, and would need an enhanced computer screen to do the job. My take on it was if the person had the skills and could perform the job and all it took was a larger monitor (back then a 15″ inch screen was the largest we could get) was that we, as a medical facility, should feel obligated to do what we could. Of course that was easy for me to say since it wasn’t my department but the person did get the job and did well at the job.

When people overcome their predispositions against someone and give them a chance because they’re qualified, they often find that their fears were unjustified and are glad they took a chance on that person. I have no doubt that there were times people might have had doubts about my working with them; heck, I probably get that now, although I don’t know for sure since those people probably never even pick up the phone to call.

Those are the easy times, though. What’s harder is standing up for others when you might not have a vested interest. I’ve done that as a consultant from time to time, while still acknowledging that wasn’t the reason I was on a consulting assignment. I figure that sometimes you have to stand on a principle, even if it’s just mentioning a situation, rather than always be concerned with your own place in this world.

As long as your intention isn’t to hold someone back, I tend to believe that taking positive steps to help others, no matter how small, is always a good thing to do. What say you?
 

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