Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

A Good Friend

Picture yourself in the following situation. After attaining a cushy new position, you hire some of your friends to help you out on the job. Unfortunately, the work is incredibly high stress and challenging, and your job performance has come under scrutiny. Some aspects of your poor performance are tied to the work being done by your friends. If you fire your friends, that might appease some people and take the pressure off of you, but what a terrible thing to do to your friends. At the same time, operations would run smoother if they were let go, and letting them stay might be a disservice to the operation. What do you do?

This is currently the dilemma being faced by President Bush and involves his friends Attorney General Gonzalez and World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz. To this point, Bush has decided to be a good friend and not fire them. However, by being a good friend, is he being a bad leader? At the same time, there is a self-serving reason to fire them, so would firing them be a form of betrayal?

This may be a false dilemma. If President Bush knew that he was hiring friends he would have difficulty firing, should he have hired them in the first place? An old maxim tells us business and friends don’t mix, yet the president chose to intertwine the two. Seen in this light, the problems our president faces are reminscent of something Michael Scott might face on an episode of The Office. Of course, I wouldn’t want Michael Scott as my president.


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