Breaking Bad Profiles. Celebrate.

he was angry with his girlfriend

Driving outside of my area of geographical knowledge, it was one of those rare moments when I didn’t know my location and I focused on the GPS graphics to move me to the destination. It’s a benefit of the Rideshare driving experience if you enjoy exploring unfamiliar places and different people. I’ll pick up a vacation-bound client in an exclusive gated community at 7 a.m., then an hour later I’ll get someone at their Section 8 housing and take them to their job. The conversations from those rides are whiplash experiences complete with profiling assumptions. This is one I celebrate.

Steve stood outside the newly constructed apartment complex in this unfamiliar neighborhood, and I immediately profiled him. “Breaking Bad,” was my internal voice, and I wasn’t referring to Mr. White or Jesse. No, I categorized him as someone who bought and used the chemistry teacher’s creation. Steve got in the backseat of the car and immediately explained why he was angry with his girlfriend.

late to work and pistol-whipped

I overheard the phone conversation with his supervisor where he explained why he was two hours late to work. I’m pretty sure the boss wasn’t buying it. We spent the next 27 minutes talking about his very different life. “Tell me more about that,” was my most frequent response. Steve filled the conversation gaps with his responses about his illegal drug problems, his relationship issues, a bizarre story about being pistol-whipped as a teenager, and being engaged for 16 years.

“Well, Steve. Sixteen years. I can tell you want to test the waters before you jump into marriage,” I said with a smile in the review mirror. He wasn’t in the mood for sarcasm, but he was in the mood to expose some of his heart. Here’s the line that made me pull over and dictate these notes after I delivered him to his job two hours late. “I want to go where I’m celebrated, not just tolerated,” he said. Boom. Put that line in a meme or on a decorative dishtowel.

celebrate good times…c’mon!

Are we celebrating our people? We read surveys every year about the need for more employee recognition in the workplace. However, do we recognize and celebrate the people we live with outside of those jobs? Steve wants that celebration at home. I could give Steve a long list of things he needs to change to move from the tolerated to the celebrated stage, and I doubt anything would change.

Have my jobs been happy places for me because of the culture? Possibly. I have been part of workplaces where the focus was solely on the employees completing the job they were hired to do. I have been a part of business environments with a staff member designated as the Party Planner or a Director of Fun. Their job was to find reasons to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, or Cinco de Mayo… every month.

“pull those up”

Steve needed something no workplace was going to provide. It’s a strong reminder to appreciate my family’s impact on my happiness and be aware of those who need to be celebrated in the workplace because it might be all the celebrating they will get.

“Pull those up,” I wanted to say as he exited the car in his sagging pants. He didn’t need that critique, however. “Hey, man I’m celebrating you right now,” I said. Unemotionally, he replied, “Thanks.” Then he walked away, dropped his vape, and started preparing for the excuses conversation he was about to have with his supervisor.

Find someone on your home or work team who needs to be celebrated, but don’t make it obvious to fill the monthly quota of feel-goods. Listen and observe. You’ll find something to celebrate.

Ron Harrell

Ron Harrell

Harrell is a Fractional Manager, Consultant, and Talent Coach specializing in brand analysis, strategy, and execution for radio and audio mediums. Connect for a No Copy & Paste review.

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