There has been much in the news around the presidential election
about certain people taking assistance because they think of themselves
as victims. Let me say from the outset this is not a political rant. It
however is a consideration about the concept of being a victim in our
I recently finished reading Dave Ulrich’s latest book, HR from the Outside In,(which
by the way I highly recommend be read by all HR professionals) It looks
at the global HR profession from the perspective of the latest Human
Resource Competency Survey. In the book Dave Ulrich and his team make
reference to a quote from William James, In one sentence William James
established the essence of this blog post. He said
We are not victims of the world we see; we are victims of the way we see the world
and consider that for a moment. We on a consistent basis hear claims
that the government is against us; the labor unions are trying to
destroy our businesses and society. We hear that the reason we can’t
expand our businesses is because of too much red tape and regulations.
But is that really the reality of the situation? Are we victims of the
world we see? Or are we victims of our own piece of reality?
take just one aspect of the reality here and consider the two
perspectives. If we picture the scenario that one of the problems
organizations are having is the difficulty in hiring workers to fill
needs with the organization and compare the views:
We are Victims of the world we see
If this is your view of the world, you can argue that the difficulty facing the organization is due to the fact
that the world economic environment is in dire straits.The policies of
global governments are hindering the advancement of our organizations.
The solution to the problem is we need to cut costs and the easiest way
to achieve that is to cut headcount. We therefore have to overload the
current staff because the work still has to get done. Besides have you
seen lately what happens when we post a position? Have you seen all the
untrained people who apply? How can I possibly have time with the other
responsibilities I have to get through them all?
We are victims of the way we see the world
you seen the range of complaints from the EEOC lately? They are
literally plastered with examples of organizations that take this view
of the world into the workplace. The range of complaints are clear
demonstrations of the fact that these organizations think that they are
victims of the world they see. Consider these examples:
An organization refused to hire a pregnant woman as a group leader – We can’t hire them as they don’t represent the image we want. Besides they won’t stay with the organization after the arrival of the child anyway.
An organization placed an employee of different color in a lower position than a white employee – Those
people are always the rebels and don’t like following rules so we need
their services but not as bad as the other employees. Besides they don’t
want to work anyway. Just look around town and they are always hanging
out on the street corners with nothing to do.
Years ago Napoleon
Hill wrote that what the mind can conceive and believe it will achieve.
So if you take the position that you are the victim of the world you
see, sorry t say you will be that victim. If you expect that a certain
employee is nothing but trouble, they will be. If you categorize a group
of employees under certain characteristics, they will be that
It is your choice whether you view the world we see as part of a grandeur scheme or as a victim. Dictionary.com tells us that
a victim is a person who is deceived or cheated, as by his or her own
emotions or ignorance, by the dishonesty of others, or by some
impersonal agency. So when you look at the world do you create your own
reality by suggesting out of ignorance that you are the victim in the
I would strongly suggest that in order to bring
this global marketplace back to a point of strength we need to learn to
work together, not as the victim of some imaginary stereotype of a group
of people or conditions that you face. It is your choice whether you continue to segregate your organization from the new normal or join the global village.