July 21

Taking Responsibility

by Dennis KuntzIllustration: Truth and Lie

This blog post is late – very late. In fact, it’s weeks late. I let myself get caught up in other parts of my life and completely forgot about some of my responsibilities. When that happened I backed it up by making a completely wrong assumption. You see, writing posts for this blog is a privilege for me – a big one. I was honored when Michael asked me to be a contributor and continue to feel that way. When I had already missed the deadline – and one reminder – I just considered myself out of luck for being able to have a post in July.

Which is where I screwed up again.

You see, as honorable as my assumption may or may not have been in thinking I was the one missing out, I failed to communicate what I was doing with Trish Smith (the Security Catalyst Blog Editor), or Michael Santarcangelo. I also failed to take into consideration what my continuing to delay a blog post for July would do in terms of making things difficult for scheduling posts.

So, before going on, I’d like publicly to apologize to Trish and Michael –I do indeed still feel honored to post on this blog and thank you both for all of the work that you do.

Once I had decided to write about taking responsibility for what was described above, I started to think about taking responsibility in general. I started to think about how I might handle taking responsibility for more dire things, like a lapse of responsibilities that might lead to financial losses – or worse.

I’d like to think that I would have the courage to step up and do The Right Thing. But would I? When my job might be on the line? My career? The income on which my family relies?

Taking responsibility can be a frightening thing – whether you’re a kid who left superglue open next to your father’s presentation papers (and have siblings on which to blame it), or you’ve just deleted all of the email templates on the production servers (I did not do the first one; the second one, however…alas that was long ago).

Once you’ve decided to take responsibility for something, you’re not only left feeling naked, but naked standing at the edge of a cliff wondering if you’ll get pushed – and knowing that you may deserve it. That’s a hard situation in which to put yourself voluntarily – the rawness of the truth coupled with the anxiousness of awaiting any severity of consequences.

Once you get used to accepting responsibility, however, there’s a kind of epiphany. You know there will be consequences, but you also know that it’s the quickest route to getting things cleared up. It becomes cathartic to take control over your own situation as much as possible and to be the source of how your own culpability is communicated. You may even find that being forthright and honest will get you less severe consequences than if you had hidden the truth. At the very least you will be doing The Right Thing and establishing yourself as trustworthy even when your own hide is on the line – which is great equity to have.

So, is there anything for which you haven’t taken responsibility? Or even worse, is there something for which you’ve allowed someone else to take the heat? At some point in our lives, we could all say yes to both. But luckily it’s never too late to step up and do The Right Thing.


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