Being accountable

I work in an environment that demands full and absolute accountability for every decision I make regardless of its outcome. The root cause analysis behind the reasons of many individual and organizations failing in this industry is a simple lack of accountability for their actions. Another misunderstood concept of accountability is that it is the same as responsibility; here lies a problem because the two are completely different in nature and consequence.

If you do not know the definition and meaning of the word “Accountability” then please read here before reading on.

There are hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of Canadians that leave comments and opinions in regards to their own personal feelings on how the government, society, policy makers, politicians, etc.. are to blame for their own hardship and problems. Very rarely is anyone of the opinion (at least not openly) to admit that they made serious mistakes in their own personal judgments at various points in their own lives. People are quick to criticize and attack the winners and administrators of our society and demand full accountability from them without ever taking into consideration of how their own lack of accountability has shaped their current situation.

One of the basic fundamentals of growing up as children is the development and gradual assumption of more and more responsibilities in our own lives. Most of us learn how to go to the bathroom by ourselves, most of us learn how to brush our teeth by ourselves, most of us learn how to clean our rooms by ourselves – most of us learn how to take personal responsibility for our own lives. Later on down the road most of us learn the importance of being responsible for studying and getting good grades in school, we learn to understand and be responsible for showing up on time for work and being responsible with our weekly allowance money. Most of us learn that failure to be “responsible” often produces negative and unfavorable results and circumstances hence the motivation to “be responsible”. By the time we leave home, get an education and find a place for ourselves in the real world most notions of being responsible are 2nd nature and we do not give it much thought since it has been ingrained in us since childhood.

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What many people lack though at this stage in their lives is an understanding of how responsibility interacts with accountability, and when we fail to be responsible we ultimately fail at being accountable. And it is here where many people begin to lose their foothold on the winning side of life and slowly find themselves more and more on the losing end. These are the people who then start a regular routine of blaming the rest of the world for the situation they now find themselves in and demand “change” and demand “answers” and demand “fairness and equality”.

Allow me to give a real world example of what I mean:

Wendy graduated in 2003 top of her grad class; she immediately took the next step and enrolled in University. She had a scholarship and a few bursaries to help her along the way to pursue her passion and dream of becoming a lawyer. By the end 2nd year and after a couple of spring break trips to Mexico and a few months backpacking in Europe she decided that her life was destined for something else. She dropped out of University and enrolled in an exclusive Fashion Design program at a private college, she wanted to be a fashion designer and the program brochure showed lots of “success stories” and previous program grads working at the top of the industry. She completed the 4 year program through a combination of student loans, part time bar tending jobs and summer jobs back home. She graduated with $48000 worth of student loan debt. She was engaged to her fiancé of two years at this point and was pregnant with her first child. She struggled to find a job with the current job market and could not afford to leave the city to pursue opportunities elsewhere, on top of it her fiancé could not afford to leave his construction job. She took a job in the mall “designing displays”, eventually she was promoted to a store manager.  The first child came, they got married. A second and third child came along after pressure from family to raise at least 3 children. They bought a house; after all they are entitled to have a home to raise a large family in right? They secured financing and financed the down payment on a beautiful $890000 4 bedroom house only 30 mins from downtown. They owned 2 cars one of which was a BMW (trendy want to be fashion designer).  Finally one day the assessment came for their property and they discovered that they owed more on their mortgage than the value of their house. To make things worse her husband’s hours had been cut as his company had fewer contracts. Their combined personal consumer debts alone now stood at over $80000 including those student loans. Day care costs for the three kids were going up again, grocery bills getting higher and the mortgage payments were wiping out every last cent of take home. House went on the market and sat for 6 months. Now Wendy is an outspoken critic of absolutely every single component of society. The government for their ridiculous tax rates, the government for not creating job opportunities in her field of work, the politicians for not being accountable and balancing budgets, the local city hall for raising property taxes again.. it goes on and on and on.

The problem here is at the end of the day she has failed herself and there is nobody else to blame for her situation now in life besides herself! She has not taken the ownership and “accountability” for all of the decisions and actions she has made in the past. She has lived the life of “entitlement” and society owes me a great life! She CHOSE to have 3 kids. She CHOSE to drop out of University. She CHOSE to study a field with little demand and poor employment prospects. She CHOSE to buy an outrageously priced house for her level of income.  She CHOSE to take on all of the debt she now has. She CHOSE the direction of her life from day one and this is now the outcome. Now why should anyone else be to blame? Wendy simply CHOSE to live a life BEYOND HER MEANS of income.

Wendy is one of hundreds of thousands of Canadians that are complaining today of not being able to afford and live the life they imagined, instead of making 6 figures they are make minimum wage at the mall. Sure there are blame and accountability issues with 

society, but I don’t believe anybody has the right to demand anything from anybody else before they have accepted and taken accountability for their own lives.Image

Avoid playing the blame game, you look like a fool – take ownership, responsibility and accountability for your own life.

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2 thoughts on “Being accountable

  1. Yada yada yada… This rant sounds familiar. When you hear the words “entitlement” and “accountability”, the words “nanny state” are not far behind. Sit back, yawn and wait for the bore to finish their tirade. Then ask them to pass the guacamole they’ve hogged over by their side of the table.

    Yes, Wendy is an idiot. And yes, she’s up shit creek. And agreed, she needs to look at her choices in life. But why not think about how we can change society for the better so people like Wendy don’t end up where they are in the first place. Not for Wendy’s sake, but for her kids.

    Look at a country like Sweden, for example, where my family is from. People there don’t go to pointless “fashion institutes” because the government regulates education so people don’t throw their money away, even in a good faith effort to better their lives. They are streamed in school so that they have a better idea of where their strengths lie and what kind of career path is best for them. The government hasn’t instituted a ridiculous institution like CMHC, which has been taken over by industry insiders for their own benefit, so house prices haven’t ballooned to the extent they have over here. They also don’t get financing on houses they absolutely can’t afford. Women have children later in life and usually not more than 2, so that they can get an education and career under way and aren’t saddled by huge costs out of the gates. Speaking of which, families have government provided daycare. And they don’t have to save up ridiculous amounts of money just so their kids can get a good education because higher education is cheap and of good quality.

    So the idiot Wendys of more civilized countries are still making stupid decisions, but at least they are not being netted and trapped by unscrupulous sharks. Our laws protect the weak, or should at least. Let’s make an attempt to have a civilized society where all kids are born into families that have a solid quality of living, minus huge financial stressors. That leads to a better quality of life for everybody and a society where all children have equal opportunity. There are still rich and poor comparatively in Sweden, but not on the scale you see in North America, where the gap is widening all the time. Stupid people should still have a decent quality of life, especially for their kids’ sake.

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