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Hard and Fast


By Antonios Karantze, in , posted: 6-Jul-2009 20:15

Such a powerful word, and yet, Wiktionary has no direct definition. It means to accept that your actions, words and non-actions have an impact somewhere in the world. Many times it's innocuous; my non-action around the rain is irrelevant; my non-action around the rain when the washing is out means the clothes won't be dry,

But everyday, I come across so much lack of responsibility, I wonder if it's endemic in NZ culture.

Working in the UK, I worked with many managers who spoke in platitudes and struggled to make decisions that could be traced back to them (I took them all the time, but eventually started getting into the habit of the locals, as you do). But even so, there was a drive towards succeeding and 'winning', and decisions were made and people did take responsibility.

In recent years while working in NZ, I have found to some people avoidance is an art form; or perhaps it reflects that in a true organisation individuals have very little direct control and rely on others to be responsible before they can to. Perhaps it's just endemic to the industry I work in.

Responsibility means being concious of choices (even when intoxicated, which is no excuse), and acceptance that you chose. Personal growth is accepting the choice, living with it (sucking it up as it were), and not let it hold you back or selfishly affect those around you.

What a delicious, delicate piece of nonsense. It's very easy to say 'take responsibility', and achingly difficult to do it. How many times can one clean up after others? How many times can one work on a project and knowingly ignore a weakness, or state "we'll deal with it in-life"?

I have worked and continue to work with some truly fantastic people who do take responsibility - and in equal measure do not step over the situation of others avoiding it. I have taken poor decisions from previous projects and made them better. I have made poor decisions and affected those around me I care about (but I still affected them). And at worst... I have been impotent when leadership was required, and others stepped in.

But always that word... responsibility. It is humbling. It is awesome if you let it be awesome.

I loved the scene in Men in Black, when Will Smith is telling Tommy Lee Jones 'tis better to have loved and lost etc', when TLJ is looking at a wife he hasn't seen for 20 years. "Try it" he responds, with a look that would freeze lava.

Responsibility. Try it.

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Comment by nzsouthernman, on 6-Jul-2009 22:05

Extremely well put, Antonios. IT people are usually respected for their educated opinions, but we are all human and make mistakes. People will usually forgive someone who makes a bad call / mistake / error if they accept responsibility for their actions and are prepared to step up and help resolve the issues they've created. This usually assists in confirming the respect that people have for us in IT as problem solving is a key skill in our profession.

(As long as it's not always self-created problems we've solving. :) )

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antoniosk's profile

Antonios Karantze
New Zealand

I'm a born and bred Wellingtonian, and have chosen IT and Telecommunications as my industry, as a Commercial Manager.

Credits include but are not limited to:
- The O2 Xda smartphone range, and O2's range of 3G Mobile Internet services
- Numerous TelstraClear Mobile and IP voice products

In my journey through the industry I have worked at
- Bellsouth NZ
- Telecom NZ
- ICO Global
- T-Mobile International (formerly One2One Communications)
- O2 Plc
- TelstraClear
- Vodafone NZ

I'm a fan of technology, and what it can do for people and business... and I enjoy bringing new things to market and seeing them grow. Enjoy the blog, take the time to think about what I write - it's not technology heavy, and is my reflection on life and the people around me.