No Way, Dude!
It seemed like an ordinary letter. A guy was having workplace issues and wrote to Office-Politics.com for assistance and resolution. He had worked for a creative team, who now told him that his services were no longer needed because he was over 40 and they were seeking the 20-something skateboarder type. Outside of the obvious HR violations, I provided him with some suggestions, and wished him well.
It seems, though, that it is not the end of the story. Then Executive Skateboarder, Mark Conahan (pictured above, photo by Rich Burton) commented on it. Then the folks at Silver Fish Longboarding picked up the story. Now it would appear, I'm getting a small following of skateboarder dudes zooming in on my office politics advice.
Of course, it is true that I've been working on my own skateboarding skills. In my leadership class tonight, we were discussing Steve Farber's book, The Radical Leap. I wanted to drive home the point of "posers" (those who look nice in a suit but couldn't lead their way out of a paper bag), so using the skater/surfer culture and the idea of posers in this context seemed to work. Of course, when dealing with MBA students, one needs to provide tangible examples to drive it home... like a professor who is a klutz on a skateboard (see second picture, taken by one of my students). I survived class uninjured. My students, however, will probably be scarred for life.