Help me help you help me

Everybody wants everything both ways.

It’s the law of unreasonable incompatibility.

Westerners use the idiom, you want to have their cake and eat it too. But this principle has its own quirky expression in just about every culture.

Albania says, to take a swim and not get wet.
Bulgaria says, to have the wolf fed and the lamb in tact.
Italy says, to keep the barrel of wine with a drunk wife.
Korea says, to chase two rabbits at the same time.
India says, to wear the mustache and drink the porridge.

You get the point. It’s an infuriating paradox, and it plays out in every area of life.

Most commonly in the business world. Here are a few snippets from my highlight reel of professional absurdity.

Managers ask you to take on more responsibility, but then consistently reschedule or cancel the project meetings you set.

Leaders challenge you to be more proactive with projects outside of your scope, but don’t tell you that they’ve reprioritized those initiatives to the bottom of the list.

Executives emphatically green light the innovative ideas you have, but the rest of the team shoots them down and destroys the momentum.

Bosses want you to take extreme ownership on tasks from ideation to execution, but none of those projects can get to the finish line without at least some collaboration from team members who are too overwhelmed to help you.

Coworkers ask you to engaged your grit to push through walls on slow moving projects, but then get disappointed when you don’t meet their unreasonably high expectations.

Founders stress the importance of work life harmony in their company culture, but recognize and reward employees who stay in the office nights and weekends.

Team members don’t take the time to review their own work before you publish it for them, but then criticize you for misrepresenting their ideas.

Presidents make public declarations about their obsession with finding and retaining top talent, but nearly a fourth of all professionals are disengaged from their work.

All these scenarios have made me want to shake my fists at the heavens and exclaim, which one is it? You cannot have it both ways, so for the love of god, please tell me if you want to have your cake or eat it.

Whatever you choose makes no difference to me. Just make a decision. Don’t send me down a path that’s misdirected and wasteful, just tell me exactly what you want.

Otherwise your unreasonable incompatibility is going to cause me to choke you with a printer cable.

Help me help you help me. That’s not a grammatical mistake or a joke.

Help me help you help me. 

What will you say to the people in your life want everything both ways?


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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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