Nature abhors a vacuum, or so we’re told. When something is taken from the natural world, it is replaced with something else, even if we can’t recognize or don’t accept the form of replacement. The Law of the Conservation of Energy states that energy is neither created nor destroyed, it only changes form. Using these two axioms we can posit that, except in the case of wholesale theft or larceny, in socio-economic relationships when something is taken from one person they receive something in return.
Even if they can’t recognize or don’t accept the form of replacement.
When Nathan proposed the topic of “The strong taking from the weak” I thought it was an interesting thread to tug on. In today’s society we put a lot of emphasis on “Equality” and “Tolerance”. The issue is we look at these factors without understanding the social hierarchy of the group in question. As men, we bond thru struggle. The grind brings us together. Ask any man who’s been thru boot camp or INDOC for the military and he’ll tell you the same thing. We need to stop focusing on what’s lost and consider what’s gained, with an eye on the longer picture.
Historically speaking the mentor/mentee relationship didn’t resemble a TV ad for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. The Mentor exerted “Tough Love” on the Mentee, forcing them to strive and grow beyond their current limits. Even today, ask successful men about their biggest influence and they will tell you about that one tough boss who made them stay late and demanded more from them. Was this the evils of capitalism where the higher ranked supervisor was taking from the lower ranked employee? Perhaps, but we don’t consider what the employee gained from the transaction.
My first Engineer, which is how I like to refer to my first boss whom I worked for in my first “Real Job” as a draftsman, was one of these types. I learned a lot from him. In return for this education I gave him long hours, took on a lot of stress, and some strained marital relations. If you look at this dynamic superficially it may seem like I worked for the prototypical “Bad Boss”. On the contrary, while at the time the situation felt to me like it was horrible, I look back on it now and remember it fondly as a very formative period in my life.
I started working for “P” (as we’ll call him) before I’d finished my associates degree in Mechanical Design. “P” was the head engineer for a local mechanical contractor specializing in HVAC, plumbing, and piping design for large industry, schools, and hospitals. “P” was a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) and one of the most intelligent and driven men I’d ever meet. I was a snot nosed 20 year old with a suspect work ethic.
Over the next 5 years I would work for “P” and follow him to two different companies. From him I learned the processes and procedures I still use to this day. I learned how to properly check (and double check) a drawing. I learned how to use red pen and highlighters to make sure I captured and implemented EVERY revision to a drawing or document. I learned that job descriptions have no meaning in a successful company and if I needed to sweep the floor for us to be successful, that’s what I needed to do.
Why do I not work for “P” today you may ask. Well, some of these lessons took longer to sink in than others. It took a layoff from “P”’s company to realize that my work ethic wasn’t what I thought it was. “P” once told me I was the best CAD operator he’d ever seen because I was lazy and I was always trying to find an easier way to get the job done. This didn’t hit me till many years later. I also had an attitude that certain tasks were “beneath me” during the time I worked for “P”. I had started my college career to become an engineer and making copies of blue prints or running a steam genny cleaning break pad presses in the shop was not part of that journey in my eyes.
I can honestly say that working for “P” made me, in part, the man I am today and contributed to what success I’ve had in my career. If we only look at the relationship as it was at the time, it could easily be construed as a “Strong” employer taking advantage of a “Weak” subordinate. At the time I may have said the same thing. The seeds “P” planted grew, and I am better for them.
Abuse, wholesale theft, or larceny should not be tolerated, but we should not confuse them with demanding relationships. The immediate assumption that all relationships must be “Equal” from inception, especially between a mentor and a mentee, is immature and unreasonable. What we receive in return may be the key to success later in life.
Remember, nature abhors a vacuum.
Enjoying what Barbarian Rhetoric is presenting and covering inside these walls?
You can help support us by leaving a tip through one of these options.
Bitcoin – 15XJB6jgVimsMkmQM9itSdiMPHM96skXf4
Bitcoin Cash – bitcoincash:qqvmkczglv7qcna2p5vq38vuxxd79uvnwgwvw2frx5
Litecoin – Lb3QkB9xobWJUKRbW7rko7ykF743mwAx26
Ethereum – 0x27a39146039F7d2F0E7243Dd2127c12309624b0a
Thank You to all that support us.