Why the Buck Must Stop Here
People in positions of power are often accused of ‘passing the buck’. We use this term often but have we ever questioned as to whether we also do the same? Do we pass the buck coz of privilege, convenience and a blissful ignorance of what goes on around us?
My first job was at a well known family run company and I had a boss who agreed to ridiculous deadlines. My predecessor had spent many tear filled moments in the office bathroom. But never really fought back. Hence I inherited the joyful place she vacated – complete with constant arguments and ridiculous deadlines – eg. Write content for a website in one day. I was initially scared coz it was my first job. But somewhere down the line I started fighting back. I argued back and refused to take the crap. I even threatened legal action once coz my boss had sworn at me which was unprofessional to say the least. I was the JVP – coz I refused to say yes to everything. But by doing this – as uncomfortable and painful as it was, I also set a precedence. That I ain’t taking crap. And the people who came after me, enjoyed the benefits of that. They understood that to stand one’s ground is important. And they did not have to be hiding in bathrooms and crying. The buck stopped with me.
This is true of many situations. Not just at work. At home. In social gatherings. With friends. You need to understand that to fight against injustice is sort of a responsibility of a civic minded individual. If I can prevent the suffering of someone else and pave the way to a better path for others, isn’t that something I should take pride in doing? It’s so easy to turn a blind eye. To pretend it doesn’t affect you or to learn to shut it out. But you are passing the buck. It’s just rolling. If you can stop it, do it. The countless people who come after you, who won’t enjoy the privilege you do – will be utterly grateful.
All one has to do is to look around to see how much privilege plays a part in determining your destiny. Systemic and structural violence is that – structures that perpetuate unfair practices. If you are privileged it won’t affect you. But if you can take a moment to walk out of your comfort zone for someone who can’t stand up and fight, that could and would alter the course for people who can’t do that.
In the bus, in the office – fighting the pervert; in the office – standing up to the boss, standing up for the minor staff; in the home – standing up for the maid or worker; in school – standing up for the kid who is always bullied or picked on; these are all small instances but they make a world of difference for the person concerned and others after. Don’t pass the buck. Let the buck stop with you.