View from the Cheap Seats

Years ago, I had a guy who was considered my peer who decided one day to tell me how to manage my team, how I should deal with a performance issue, and how to deal with people in general.  This guy’s approach was continually telling people to fuck off.  A great attitude to have but difficult to execute in practice if you want to keep your job.  So after running me through the ringer on it all, I finally looked at him and asked “how is the view from the cheap seats? ‘Cause here – on the field, in the game – it’s a whole different view.”

That was the thing.  It was easy for him to sit back from afar and rant at me for doing everything wrong.  He had no skin in the game. He didn’t actually have to figure out what the fall out will be when the rubber met the road.  He didn’t actually have to fire the person who needed it – deal with HR – and the fall out from the team.  From his vantage point – in the cheap bleacher seats – it was easy.  What’s the big deal!

This same attitude is something I keep finding over and over again recently.  Just today, I friend in the kink community pointed out a string on Fetlife whereby someone was complaining that it was classist that the upcoming conference was either reliant on people being able to pay their $200 way or volunteer as a way to get in.  “Why is it expected that I have to work for a scholarship when someone who paid does not?”

The rants went on and on about how things should change to be easier on them – those who are students or have financial issues where they cannot afford the fee.  They also complained there as only a limited amount of money for scholarships.  Then people started tossing in the fact with childcare issues and all – it’s clear only those who can afford it can go.


When people started trying to gently pointing out that money is what allows the conference to happen, it was seen as people attacking those without money.  Uhmm….what about the people who have worked 75+ hours making this happen?  They don’t count apparently.

In the end, those sitting in the “free seats” were upset because, “if they were in the game, they would…..”  The view from those seats isn’t allowing them to see that money for scholarships is not unlimited. Nor is it allowing them to see that the community is run by volunteers – not because they have the money but because they have the time – something they all have too.  It’s easier to sit in the seats and bitch than get in the game.

I am noticing this at work too. The cheap seats is where everyone wants to sit.  You can drink beer, and tell everyone else how to play the game – then bitch when people don’t act the way you want them to act or how would make your life easier.  It’s easy to throw rocks than it is to get in the game.

I have started challenging people to raise their hand.  Don’t like that the mix of people at an event?  Then volunteer to help promote? Don’t wait for someone to ask you because they won’t.  They won’t because they hate you – they won’t because they don’t have time to seek. 

I’m running into the same thing at work.  Easier to bitch and moan – harder to stand up and say “let me help fix it”. 

Why is this so hard for people?

Never mind – it’s always easier to bitch – I forgot.

Well, just remember, the world is run by people who show up.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. BluEyedBader says:

    Well said…

    I run into that all the time at work. Unfortunately there are always those people that will bitch and those that will actually step up and do something about it.

    To me, you cant bitch unless you are actually doing the work, at least that has been our motto.

  2. I’ve been on the field so long that I have forgotten what it’s like to watch from the nosebleed seats. 😉

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