Paul Butler | Truth at Work

Paul Butler: Going the Extra Mile
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I recently broke my collarbone in a bike accident, and so for the last few weeks I’ve been seeking advice from various specialists. The conflicting information I’ve received between my doctor, physical therapist and radiologist has been quite frustrating. At this stage, they seem to contradict each other and so I don’t really know what’s true. Between their advice and what I found on the wonderful worldwide web I’ve come up with my own recovery plan — My Own Truth.  

During a recent x-ray appointment, I tried out my new truth when the radiologist asked how I broke my clavicle. Rather than the boring bike accident story, I told him I was cage-fighting in Tijuana. He was impressed. So that’s become part of My Own Truth: I’m a cage fighter. 

The world of work is rapidly changing and what was true yesterday is no longer true today. I believe some of these new truths are good and some of these are actually lies, and therefore are untrue. 

Technology has enabled us to work from anywhere at any time. This is true. We no longer need to commute five days a week — we can work onsite some, and work remote some. This is what we call a hybrid schedule. True. 

What’s also true is that each of us are still expected to work hard. I have witnessed how some people take advantage of the ability to work from home but they hide; buried in unproductive busyness that creates a cloud of confusion as to what’s actually getting done or not. In effect they’re lying about their output.  

I heard it said on a podcast recently that there are actually jobs for everyone who wants to work. I believe that to be true. What I know is untrue is when I see a transient on the street holding up a sign that reads, “Will work for food” but they’re sitting outside a sandwich shop with a sign in the window that reads, “Help wanted.” Either the transient or the shop manager is lying.  

In today’s working world there’s an increasing trend for people to declare (or more darkly, be required to declare), their pronouns (i.e., him, he, his), on their LinkedIn profile, email sign-off and next to their name on a video conference platform.  

Based on my created biology, it’s true that I am male — therefore my true pronouns are “him,” “he” and “his.” It would be a lie to claim otherwise, but in today’s working world a biological male could identify as female and vice-versa. If I wanted to, I could even claim to be non-binary (i.e., not male or female) and instead use the pronouns of “they,” “their” and “theirs.” This is a self-proclaimed lie, regardless of how strongly one feels about it. 

So, just like my recovery plan from the clavicle break, I could come up with my own frame of reference — My Own “Truth” and just do whatever I believe to be right. It doesn’t mean that would be medically correct and hence, true. 

Over the next few weeks, I will follow the recovery plan I’ve designed BUT and here’s the big BUT: I will check in with my doctor, my physical therapist and my new cool cage-fighting fan (my radiologist), to see what’s true about my state of recovery.  

They each know what’s true based on the objective principles of their profession and years of training. They will tell me the truth about whether the bone has fully healed and they will tell me the truth about my range of motion from what they know to be true about the human skeleton. To ignore objective reality makes me unwise if not delusional. It could even result in me healing badly or permanently harming myself (like if I actually tried cage-fighting). 

As time marches on and we increasingly see the world being turned upside down by forces we cannot see, I encourage us to hold on to that which is honorable, good and true.  

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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