Saturday, September 12, 2009

Go with the flow or Do it right?

I recently took the BST (Basic Security Training) online course from JIBC (the Justice Institute of BC).
One of the questions for discussion was,

You are working at a nightclub. Your job is to monitor the entrance, watching for minors and anyone who may be concealing alcohol. A young female approaches the gate, and the entrance attendant allows her to proceed into the venue. When you question the attendant, he tells you not to worry because the young female is his girlfriend. What should you do?

The technically correct answer is to challenge her for ID. But is that a real-life answer? What if no one -- your co-workers, or even your supervisor -- supports you? Sure, you may be right, but what if your boss is wrong and insists on being wrong?

Just started a new position this week, and some things just weren't right. The head concierge had a clumsy set of over twenty keys but couldn't open the mechanical room. Didn't know he couldn't. Didn't have any explanation except to blame the building manager for changing the keys or the lock and not telling him.
I guess he felt embarrassed by the whole thing, because when I pushed for the keys to be sorted out, he threw a tantrum and called our mutual supervisor. Said I was an "asshole" and that either I was to be fired, or he'd quit.

Later, our supervisor came on site and spoke to us both, separately. He could see my point of view, accepted that I really wasn't out to embarrass the head concierge -- after all, I had spoken with him in private, and had tried to show that it was reasonable to get the keys sorted out and simplified instead of spending five minutes sorting through over twenty keys and still not being able to open a door. In an emergency, the firefighters would be swinging their axes to get through while the building was burning down.

The point is, should someone "go with the flow" and just let things be? Is this the prevailing work reality? Or am I just in the wrong crowd and need to find people who are more conscientious?

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