Paul Butler | We Carry Our Own Weather

Paul Butler: Going the Extra Mile

Have you noticed how some people carry their own weather with them? Sadly, some seem to live life under a perpetual cloud of misery and moaning. What makes matters worse is when such people want to bag, bundle and bring all that darkness into the workplace.  

I can only think of a workplace woe that’s even sadder and that’s when that person is given explicit, formal authority to supervise the work of others. It’s not so much “super” vision that gives the orders for day but rather their subordinates receive “no” vision.  

My observation of the working miserable is they’re reactive rather than proactive. The reason they usually lack vision is they can’t see into the future as they’re all bent out of shape with the toil and trouble of today, and haven’t come to peace that yesterday has passed.  

I remember working for a senior leader in one job when we first moved to this great and glorious country. I don’t think I ever saw him smile — not once. I remember driving home looking at the blue skies and the palm trees swaying in the early evening sunshine wondering what makes someone so miserable when he has so much to be grateful for. 

Recently I heard an employee bemoaning the time change as he claimed it takes him at least a week or two to struggle through the confusion of his world being upside down by one whole hour. Are you kidding me? In our home, we turned the clocks forward and called it a night one hour earlier and sprung forth the following day. What’s to moan about?  

I’m no psychologist but I think I’ve come to agree with the proverb that claims that as we think, we are. So, if we think negative, we tend to speak negative. If we look for problems in this life, we are sure to find them. When we huff and puff and complain about the minors, they become majors.  

Rather callously but I must say, rather honestly, I heard someone say once: “Don’t keep complaining about your woes — 90% of people don’t really care and the other 10% are quite pleased you feel as bad about life as they do.”  

I’m not sure I agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment as my belief system is there is a time to weep and to genuinely console others, but surely our default operating mode ought to be joy? 

I love living and working in the United States but I think most Americans don’t realize what a wonderful country this is. Our workplaces are built upon the foundations of a rule of law; justice for all and that if you work hard and do the right thing — you are more or less guaranteed you will have a good working life.  

I’ve worked in other parts of the world where these first principles are not in the employee handbook — where class and caste systems keep the lowly in their wrongful place and where if people fall sick on the job, they’re simply cast out and replaced with no compassion for unfit labor. 

They always say a measure of a great country is when more people want to get in than get out and I say that’s also true of a great place to work. See, wonderful workplaces aren’t concerned with attracting and retaining talent because their culture serves as magnetic glue. 

Culture is people and great organizations recruit, promote and reward what they want — positive people and leaders of high character and competence. They focus on the good. They have no time for negative naysayers who make little to no contribution.  

One of the wonderful aspects of our humanity is that our future doesn’t have to be our past, as we can choose to change in the present. I am excited about what this country has done and can do. I am excited about what the workplaces of this nation have created and can create. I am excited about working with people who choose to carry their own weather with them.  

Yes, they’ll always be rainy and stormy days, but come on — we’re in Southern California… it’ll soon blow over. Let’s get to work.  

Paul Butler is a Santa Clarita resident and a client partner with Newleaf Training and Development of Valencia ( For questions or comments, email Butler at [email protected]. 

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