When MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Keith Olbermann recently received two-day suspensions from their politically-based TV shows because they donated to political campaigns, I began to think, "How can the everyday American relate or learn from this, in their own workplace?"
Most Americans today are lucky to have a job and those of us who are gainfully employed have a difficult time relating to the ordeals of these broadcasters. So what? Two guys donated to a campaign. I'm a frequent viewer of the show (I switch between him and FOX's Imus) and I've seen Joe walk on set 20 minutes late...isn't it worse to be late for work, rather than give some cash to a campaign cousin? The point is every company - big and small - has "rules." Some people call them SOPs, standard operating procedures, and others have handbooks or a specific code of ethics. No one is ever above the rules and I always tell my readers, work is not a democracy. Perhaps you work for a smaller company without a massive rulebook, but the boss has banned Facebook or other social media websites while at work. Whether it's a written rule or not, follow the law of the boss.
Understanding how your company operates is important and frequently rules go unlearned until they are accidentally broken. Whatever your own workplace rule is, it's there for a reason and meant to be followed. I find it funny that on two of the highest-rated political shows, the talent had to learn a lesson about following the rules. Again, work is not a democracy, even on a political talk show.
I recently saw this demonstrated when Barbara Walters took time, on the air, to reprimand Joy Behar for walking off the set when FOX's Bill O'Reilly came on as a guest. Nobody messes with Barbara Walters, she's the boss. In fact, the only person I'm more afraid of than Barbara Walters is Oprah.
Stephen Viscusi is the owner of The Viscusi Group (www.viscusigroup.com) and the author of "Bulletproof Your Job" (HarperCollins). Follow him on Twitter @workplaceguru.