Keane observations about life, politics and sports.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Don't take yourself or your job too serious.

I admire a good work ethic as much as the next guy, but there is such a thing as taking your job and your contributions too seriously. Here is a classic case in point:
In June, Washington Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden went in for a routine checkup and asked his doctor about what looked like an ingrown hair on his forehead. It sometimes bled, but Bowden didn't think much of it. The doctor, though, felt greater concern and decided to do a biopsy. "When the biopsy came back," Bowden said yesterday, "it wasn't the good kind."

That's how Bowden learned he had squamous cell carcinoma -- a type of skin cancer for which doctors recommended surgery within a month. Unwilling to abandon his job, even for a week, Bowden ignored the advice. He spent the second half of the season working as usual, and worrying in private about the growth on his forehead -- and whether it was spreading.

Immediately after the season, Bowden had the cancer removed in a five-hour procedure
I'm not a doctor (don't even play one on TV), but even I know the rule of thumb on surviving cancer. It's all about early detection and early treatment.

You may be asking "what is the essential job Bowden couldn't leave in the hands of a subordinate for a short while?" He is the general manager of a baseball team, the Washington Nationals. Good thing he didn't take time off or they might not have managed the worst record in baseball. Actually, it doesn't matter what their record was since even if they were a contending team he should have dealt with his cancer. Part of any manager's job is to ensure your assistant is ready to fill your shoes if something happens. Anyone can get hit by a bus or by lightning. No one is indispensable.

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