Monday, June 28, 2010

More than just a costly mistake.

Out here in Aggieland, home of Texas A&M University, we have a bit of an embarrassment on our hands.  Now  TAMU is known for its military history and a creed that in the first sentence states, an Aggie does not lie....

So you can see how this might piss some folks off when the number 3 man at the university, the Senior Vice President of Administration, is found to not only lied about having a Masters, but a PhD.  But wait....and here is where the fun begins....he told students - Corp of Cadets no less - that he was an ex-Navy SEAL.

Oh the poor man....he made a "costly mistake."  A 'mistake' me says! How do they define a mistake?

  1. a wrong action attributable to bad judgment or ignorance or inattention
  2. identify incorrectly
  3. an understanding of something that is not correct
  4. err
  5. error 

OK, so 1 and 3 apply, 2, 4, and 5 do not since he knew what he was stating was incorrect.  So he did, in deed, make a' mistake'.  What else did he do while he made that 'mistake'? (oh the list could go on and on about the damage his 'mistake' caused, but we're just going to look at one incident):
Kemos mentored prospective SEALs, told detailed stories about his supposed exploits during his time with the elite fighting unit, and in April even spoke at a dinner for cadets about ethical dilemmas he faced while he was a SEAL.
At some point I just can't give the guy any benefit of the doubt.  At some point it moves past a mistake into something else entirely.  How does one talk about "ethical dilemmas he faced" when he is -at that very moment - being unethical?  Didn't the guy see the irony in this?  If he did see it why did he continue, if he did not, then how did he get where he is?

I mean, at some time didn't he understand what was taking place because of his own actions?  I mean he is described as "extremely knowledgeable" a "problem solver" and a "competent guy."  He must have had something going for him to allow the smart people at TAMU to promote him to a $300K job as the number 3 guy.

So what does this say....I mean if you look at it from a distance?  You don't need an advanced degree to be good at your job and a lie can move your forward quicker than honesty.  Oh, c'mon Jeff, the guy just lost his job!  He is now disgraced and all that stuff.  Yeah....that is true, but for one year he made as much money as an honest janitorial worker makes in 12 years.  For most of my coworkers - educated, competent, problem solvers as well, it will take us 5 to 6 years to make that.

Now, by choice, I have decided to live by a different set of standards which has cost me.  Honesty, integrity, and ethical behavior has not paid off - I know this - and I accept this.  And if I had it to do all over I would have adopted these core values earlier in my life, not later as I did.  What I have received is beyond any monetary reward or career boost that could ever be offered.  I do not live a life of irony through my choice of behavior.  I can look my kids in the eye and tell them what you see is exactly what I am.

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