Okay. Here’s the latest carbon unit incident. It’s nothing unusual, but I always find these folks fascinating.

Self-worth is an important and valuable thing to have in the right measure and for self-validation. Low self-worth often translates into living a life with no joy and taking what comes to you without a fight. It can mean total acceptance that you have little to no value. Horrible to see, live through, or fight.

Everyone has probably met someone who, let’s say, has an opinion of self-worth that is a bit higher than everyone else’s. That’s okay. If that carbon unit is self-aware, they can moderate their haughtiness when in the presence of perceived lower-level carbon units. Those without self-awareness can be insufferable.

Example: Today, I went to get a COVID test, or as we call them in this family, the cranium scrape. Had one at the hospital when I was admitted for TGA but have just been feeling off, so went to get another. While cranium scrapes are now the norm, they are not pleasant and for my efforts, I received another Sponge-Bob that hangs on your cereal bowl. Yay! This means I now have two of these! Adding that to my self-worth is a real boost to the ego. I need to make sure self-awareness kicks in, so I don’t lord this bounty over others that don’t have a Sponge-Bob bowl hanger. See what I mean? Insufferable.

If you take a step back and look, there’s always a reason for why people are, the way they are. You can say that about a lot of things, right? Taking a step back or changing your perspective can always get you through a difficult time.

Most carbon units fall somewhere in between. That’s okay, too. It’s trickier to navigate those middle dwellers, though. A person doesn’t know when navigating, toward which end of the spectrum other middle dwellers gravitate. The simplest actions might yield an unexpected reaction. This is the outcome of the incident. Oops, I gave away the end.

I preface this incident with so much back story because when discussing carbon units, there are no definitive rules for behavior, unless you’re a clinical psychologist or something. There is no guidebook for regular folks outside of our own experiences because none of us are the same.

We carbon units are complex and sometimes require lots of words.

In 45 years of managing people, you tend to just get somewhat proficient at judging someone quickly. Right or wrong, it happens. It saves time. Of course, you can be wrong and thus, you correct. But about 90% of the time, you’re right and bada-bing, bada-boom, you know what to do.

The individual to whom I refer, presented somewhere in the middle, during the interviewing process. Based on the critical need and timing of the hire itself, I may have gambled a bit to just solve the freaking problem. Uh-Oh…

The person accepts the offer after 3 freaking days. 18 million people out of work and this guy can’t decide. He needs cajoling and convincing, because at “his level”, there he has certain expectations on how he should be treated. Okay, then. No problem. I play the game. Great, he accepts. I meet the wife, buy Starbucks, tell some jokes. Problem.

Women are good at letting other women know things subtly. I was reading the wife more than him. She really didn’t want him to take this job. This single “corner cut”, in ignoring what she was saying that I knew to be true, was where I went wrong.

The person arrives at the account to size things up and was just flabbergasted at the low-quality lodgings we have provided him for a TEMPORARY assignment. He was warned up front, but he said we didn’t represent accurately, how bad it really is.

He sends me a text late on a Friday night, when there is not much I can do, and backs out of the job. He then proceeds to send me and the recruiter photos of things he found disgusting. A stairwell in the building. A picture of the stainless steel kitchen sink. A chair.

The guy gives up a high-paying job because the temporary quarters are not at the quality level “for a person of his stature. It’s beneath him.” He is definitely high maintenance. Where am I going with this? I’ll tell you. This person’s self-worth was so high that he passed on a great gig because we couldn’t find anywhere else to put him. Again I say, this was TEMPORARY.

Obviously,this is subjective and judgmental on my part. I am biased because I would stay anywhere temporarily for challenging work. That’s me.

I think most carbon units would roll up their sleeves, buy a little shelf paper, some AJAX, and get to work on the place. Don’t like the furniture, put a slipcover on it. Whatever he would have spent, we would have reimbursed. The fact that he didn’t even consider that option, is where he showed his true self….worth.

I, on the other hand, think we dodged a bullet. Sponge Bob is agreeing with me, as he is swinging in agreement from my bowl of cereal. It’s my treat for the cranium scrape…a bowl of Kix.



Someone, who sometimes, has something to say.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store