Don't bite the hand that fed you

Don't bite the hand that fed you

I am continually asked why I rarely write about things I experienced during three decades as a Chicago police officer.  In short, expose the dirt.

At times, especially now with the spotlight on police, it would be so easy to spill the beans. Tell tales out of school. Give the department or people and politicians who run it, a black eye. Some of it might be interesting reading.

I made a promise, to myself, never to do that. The Chicago Police Department fed me. It kept a roof over my head and the wolf from the door. It put food on the table. Until the last five years I worked, there was terrific medical insurance, especially for my child. Why would I bite the hand that fed me for almost 30 years?

Why do people bite the hand that feeds or fed them? When leaving a job, willingly or unwillingly, why do people feel the need publicize their employer's dirty laundry for the whole world to see? Some of the more creative out of school tales go viral on social media. A few are picked up by mainstream media. Some people get their two minutes of fame on television.

I asked various professional people if they retired, quit, or were let go from their jobs, would they would dish the dirt on their employer. Their answers varied. Most were not sure. There were a few, "It depends..."

I asked a long time reporter and Chicago columnist the same question. Before he could answer, the stunned look on his face said it all. It would never occur to him.

Maybe it is an old school thing among those of us raised with a hard work ethic.

Jobs were work. You traded time for money. Employer and employee loyalty depended on you doing your job and that paycheck. Employee and the employer knew that. Both knew one other thing. If you spilled the beans, dished the dirt, or publicly shamed the employer, you would be unemployable. Besides loyalty, there is trust. No one would in the field, blue or white collar, would hire you. You would not be trustworthy.

Why do people feel the need to publicly humiliate their employers? Why not just polish your resume and move on or up? Why let the whole world, including potential employers, know how horrible your single personal experiences were? Even if, by your own account, you were a model, self sacrificing loyal to the nth degree toiler who was treated worse than a slave?


Even menial low paid workers are being required to sign non-disclosure agreements. Violate them at your own peril.

Work is an economic contract between employer and employee. The employee trades time and toil for pay.

That is what jobs, careers, professions, or whatever you want to call them are, time and toil for money.

The employer does not have to create a work environment, conditions and hours to revolve around your generational lifestyle or to fit your personal needs.

You are expected to show up, on time, and produce. The employer is expected to pay you. That is it.

As long as an employer is acting within the law, they only thing required is to pay you for your time and toil. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Your employer is not required to like you, personally respect you, be responsible for your emotional well being or self esteem. All that is required to to provide a workplace in compliance with various laws.

There are no social and moral laws or justice. There is only a legal system. If the employer is in compliance, you are owed nothing more than a paycheck. Not even what you consider respect. Get over yourself.

As a result of this public shaming and bullying, many employers are resorting to non-disclosure agreements for even the most menial jobs. It is a result of people dishing perceived dirt for all the world to see. They are written very tightly. You could be sued for telling even the most innocent tale out of school. You could be black listed with no recourse. You sign on the dotted line, you spill the beans at your own peril.

We are living in a world where people, especially younger people, have some need to put their whole lives on the web. The good, the bad, and the ugly. There is a deep seated emotional need to get back at people who commit any kind of perceived personal wrong or micro-aggression- whatever that is.

Acting out against an employer might make you feel good about yourself. Maybe you will be a hero to your friends, relatives, and other people who live meaningless and worthless lives on social media.

Homeless man begging for food on Michigan Avenue. (PV Bella)

You may wind up like this if you think airing your employer's dirty laundry is appropriate behavior.

Shaming an employer does no good. It makes you look undependable, unreliable, and untrustworthy.

If you do not like your job, hate your employer, feel you are under paid or not getting the oh so important emotional support you need, start looking for someplace else to work.

Get a new job where you can be coddled like a toddler and paid what you think you are worth.

If you publicly shame your employer upon exiting you better have a good backup plan. No intelligent person will hire you.

And, do not forget that non-disclosure agreement you may have signed with all the other papers put in front of you when you were hired.

You might find yourself in more trouble than you are worth. After the lawsuit, you could wind up on the street begging.

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