September 22, 2008

Half meanies

Max and I discussed a friend's job vulnerability when we were driving back from Boston. Joe offers an intellectual framework for technology strategy, a position that makes him vulnerable during an economic turndown, but he doesn’t seem worried. He was more concerned about a coming massive layoff decision at his company. Their financial consultants have been generating the least business for a while and were those earmarked for pink slips. But most of them are located in New York City. Can the company, in all conscience, lay THEM off within a week after 9/11? It isn’t humanitarian, and from a practical point of view, it sets a bad example to all employees in terms of morale.

Joe had toyed with poli sci at Duke. At some course in social behavior, he explained, he had badgered the teacher about why decisions were made. "This or that isn’t FAIR," he had said, and "that’s what I was mostly interested in."

I smiled to myself, thinking, "Slyness and unfairness the children hated above all," one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite childhood books, Half Magic. A similar theme, simplified for toddlers, was found in Sir Archibald and the Meanies.

Me too.