The Exploitation of a Winners Mentality

I was recently told, during a morning team meeting, that our attitude at work means everything.

In fact, my boss – a very well meaning young man – handed out this blog post titled “Your Attitude at Work is Everything.” To summarize, the author Dave Kerpen talks about how he was working as a vendor throughout college for big venues like Fenway park and that his job was entirely commission based. And so, he devised a way to make himself more important. My boosting his own image and worth, he was able to make a killing.

Inspiring, right? Except when you consider the fact that this guy had to jump through massive hoops because a multi-million dollar franchise refuses to pay their workers minimum wage. A few others in the room were floored by his tenacity and ingenuity. It’s cool if you don’t consider that almost everybody else in his position probably didn’t make enough to eat that day. This guy’s story isn’t what you should aspire to be, but rather a story that shows how a large corporation exploits the little guy.

Too often we look at the one successful person and say “that’ll be us,” when the reality is that there are probably twenty others who couldn’t make it. It’s not to say that those people also aren’t bright. It’s just that Americans too often have a winners complex, even when we’re set up to lose. We have to stop assuming that we will always be the exception to the rule. The rule exists because most people fit the mold, not because it’s supposed to be broken.

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