So Anthony Weiner is doing a little sexting. So what?
He didn't really cheat on his wife. And it's not as if cheating on your spouse is something new. We have a long list of political figures, titans of industry, talented athletes, famous actors and other esteemed members of society who have done this. They do things in their personal lives that we wouldn't do. But they are competent professionally. It's not as if he broke any laws, which is more than can be said for a recent president who received oral sex in the oval office and then lied about it to a grand jury. Maybe he hurt his wife, maybe he didn't -- she seems to be standing by him and besides what business is it of ours anyway? That's between him and her. I have personal married friends who "swing" with other couples, which would shock many in my community if they knew about it and shocks me as well when I consider what they must look like without their clothes on (they're well past middle age). But to each his own. Who are we to judge?
Yes, that's right. Who are we to judge? Isn't that what the pope just said about hiring gay priests? "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" he asked. This is the pope talking! And he's right!
Of course, it's not a great idea to tweet photos of your private parts and exchange sexual texts with strange girls. It's an even worse idea when you're married. It's an absolutely terrible idea to do this when you're a U.S. Congressman. And it's a catastrophic idea to continue doing this after you've resigned your position following a national media circus and then decide to run for public office again a short time later. As a guy, I admit that Weiner's behavior is kind of impressive -- the most sexually explicit text my wife and I have ever exchanged was the last time she asked me to pick up tampons at the drugstore. So the guy's got some game. But this type of game may not be what the voters of New York City are looking for in a new mayor. Fair enough. Maybe he won't make such a good mayor. But I'd hire him. Why? Oh, I can give you six good reasons!
1. I don't care about his personal life. As long as he doesn't bring it into the office, that is. Too many people bring their personal stuff to work. I wouldn't hire someone if I thought they would be a potential danger to my other employees. Or even a significant disruption. I have a client who hired a salesperson that not only publicly cheats on his spouse but blatantly hits on every girl in the office, to the point of being a major distraction. I have another client whose IT guy uses drugs and hangs out after hours with a known group of well... undesirables. These guys can't leave their lives at the door. They create a disturbance in the office. They get in the way of work being done. They were both fired. I would never hire someone like that, regardless of how competent they are. But that wouldn't stop me from hiring someone who keeps his private life private and does a good job.
2. He's a pretty snappy dresser. I would have a tough time hiring someone who dresses unprofessionally. Tattoos, piercings, torn jeans or low-cut blouses are fine if that's what you're into and you're going drinking in Fishtown on a Saturday night. But during the work week you've got to keep this stuff covered up, particularly if you're meeting with corporate clients or representing my company in a professional setting. Do I judge you by how you look? Yes, I do. Particularly if the way you look is going to lose me business or upset clients. Could the way you look cost you an opportunity to work for me, even if you're really competent at what you do? Yes it could. You can have your freedom of expression somewhere else. Anthony Weiner looks professional in a suit, and good in casual clothes too. No comment on how he looks without clothes though... that's for his Twitter followers to judge.
3. He's a performer. The guy went to SUNY Plattsburgh, not to some Ivy League school. He worked his way up from virtually nothing to becoming a New York City Councilman and a U.S. Congressman and a nationally known figure. He's been known to drive his staff hard and has been described as extremely demanding and intense. He's always on the go. He speaks well and communicates effectively. And he can juggle a handful of girls at the same time while still conducting business and keeping his wife in line. What guy, other than Tony Soprano, can perform under this kind of pressure I ask you?
4. He's good with technology. Well, that goes without saying, right? Twitter, texting, sexting, smartphones and tablets... he's a man of the times, complete with cool screen names and the latest in online lingo. That's pretty impressive for a 48-year-old guy who, like me, was brought up on typewriters, Atari games and 8 track audio players. My company's a technology company too, so finding guys our age who can navigate their way around the latest tech tools like a twenty-something is a valuable commodity.
5. He's pretty well connected. Business is all about who you know and at this point I think pretty much everyone in America knows Anthony Weiner. Who's going to turn down a call from him? That's power. He's the kind of guy that could help open doors for me so I can sell more of our business software. An upgrade for the White House? He probably knows a few guys. New computers for the New York legislature? I'm sure he can make a couple of introductions. And just think of the fun I'd have bringing him along on a few sales calls. After a titillating (yes, the pun is intended) hour of Weiner stories and pick-up advice, those guys'll be eating out of my hands. I'm not sure I'll be able to keep up with the orders.
6. He's got a super thick skin. And boy do I need someone like that. Especially in my business. Remember, we sell technology and some of it is Microsoft technology. So you really need a thick skin to work in my company. Considering the abuse that Weiner's received over the past few weeks alone, handling complaints and technical support problems will be a piece of cake for him. I need a guy who's able to take criticism and move on, letting it bounce off him like a Teflon pan. He's definitely the man for the job.
So let's stop beating up on Anthony Weiner. Okay, New Yorkers: you don't want him as mayor, that's your business. But I'll hire him.
A version of this blog appeared on The Philly Post.
Follow Gene Marks on Twitter: www.twitter.com/genemarks