The Power of Apology is a concept I pulled from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s a concept I cannot seem to cut from my mind as of late. The concept? Those with the power to apologize hold all the power. If you can apologize, be forgiven, and convince the world to move on from your indiscretion, you hold all the power. Those who do not hold power…are not given such frivolities.
Perhaps it’s best to provide examples. The reason this concept stuck in my mind is that is such a common theme in today’s news.
Recently, a Connecticut state representative apologized for telling a 17 year old female speaker that “If you’re bashful, I got a snake sitting under my desk.” Yes, she referenced no longer being scared of snakes. However, anyone who speaks for a living and was in an official capacity at the time of comment should have known before speaking of the serious and sexual insinuation. Though he lost his leadership position, he kept his job.
How about the law firm of Steven J. Baum who threw their annual Halloween party in 2011 dressed as the poor bastards they foreclosed on. An apology later, they remain in a similar position in stature.
I don’t have to go over the more popular ones like President Clinton, Tiger Woods, and countless other popular apologies that have gone down in history.
Now, lets look at why this is important. One might argue that, apologies are such because one has made a mistake and is genuinely apologetic for that mistake. This may be true, but only the powerful are given this option. Those at the other end are not given such luxury. There is no option of apology.
A waitress posted a receipt she received from a Pastor. The receipt had a note written by the Pastor that stated he didn’t believe he should have to pay his server 18% gratuity when he only pays God 10%. Lets set aside the fact that he meant that he donates to God 10% of his own earnings…not 10% of his bill to God. Once the word got out and the Pastor expressed his anger with the posting of the receipt, the waitress was fired. No apology applicable.
Fifteen mine workers in Australia were fired after a stupid video they posted. No apology applicable.
The lists on both sides of this are endless. One can argue that in each of these latter cases, those in question broke code or rule pertaining to their jobs…however, most of the others have as well…