If you know me or have read any of my blogs, you know there is always a backstory.
So, let us begin with of course "a quick backstory."
I answered without regard to how the interviewer would impose a myopic view of my chosen reply.
I simply stated " thanks for your question, for us - we discriminate, we have to deploy our precious and expensive capital in a way that benefits our company, its employees and our investors, so we must discriminate against those niches or business models that do not align with ours "
After making this statement and the mention of the word discriminate -the interview quickly went shall we say ( south ). I used the word in its transitive sense, but no matter - as so many people today - quick to be offended -have neither the inclination nor the desire to learn more about a word that has much to offer business executives, business owners and students alike.
In a societal norm where discrimination ( as intranstive verb ) is so taboo, fraught with ugliness and a word wrongly attached to a singular ugly outcome ( against race, class, socio economic standing ) the word discriminate hasn't had the chance to defend itself.
It is guilty before due process and that's both telling & pathetic.
The rallying cry of late is one of inclusion, tolerance and diversity, unless of course you have a differing opinion. Perhaps after this short blog, this valuable word can work its way into inclusion and tolerance too.
BACK TO MY INTERVIEW. I was asked how I choose which companies we decide to buy. My response was as quoted above " it's simple - we have to deploy our precious and expensive capital in a way that benefits our company, its employees and our investors, so we must discriminate against those niches or business models that do not align with ours. "
The Interviewer ( insert your own ideas, visuals, thought processes here ) stopped things abruptly. His youthful eyes bulged, eyebrows tried to merge as one into a unibrow. He made an exaggerated exhale, breathed in and added a gasp for air and retorted, we cannot um, uh, we cannot publish this and I don't think you meant to use that word.
My immediate reply was. My apologies, I am quite certain that I am older than everyone in the studio so the word discriminate to me means, to distinguish between good and bad decisions, to set apart using wisdom or experience.
At which point, I quickly observed that I was now being discriminated against based upon a discriminatory view of the very word discriminate itself. " IRONY huh ? "
(I'll pause here and ask that you re-read the quote above again. Ironic ? I say irony of ironies. )
After a quick whispered conversation amongst some of the staff, it was determined that they could simply edit out my horrific sin and after my mic was muted - we paused for a commercial break.
Upon returning from the break - the interview quickly focused on a wrap up with my interviewer having an epiphany of WOW I just realized, we are short on time today ( you know because we have to get to the weather report ) and lets thank our guest Jeff Arnold, Author of The Art of the Insurance Deal for joining us. ( mic removed, no further dialogue, no interaction since )
I share this story with you for self reflection. I don't expect a book review from this group, and I am rather certain the recordings have been deleted.
My concern and the reason for this blog, is to offer you a different version of the word and for those of you engaged in the very act of discrimination itself. Below I have provided you with an alternative ( nay, inclusive diverse and tolerant version ) of ways you may choose to discriminate.
You may want to discriminate when driving home today by not checking your cell phone while at every redlight.
It is possible that you may discriminate against your children at dinner, by having the first conversation with your spouse about their day.
Your final act of discrimination could be to follow my blogs or discriminate against me - because I use a word different than you use it. Either choice you make is of course..... " wait for it " .........discriminating.
You, burgeoning business executive, small business owner or student should take a fresh look at this word and dissect it. Tread carefully though, it's a dangerous word - fraught with the very real potential of it's user to be a recipient of the very word itself.