The Concept of Ownership Taken Too Far

And how awesome it feels to be misunderstood

Here at LV we talk often about owning up to your faults and taking the blame. But what about the times when you are blamed unfairly? When you are shamed for things you could not control?


Whatever went wrong, you are suddenly staring up at a blinding spotlight and everyone is looking at you for an apology and an explanation of why you messed up so badly.

You’re okay with taking the blame when it is due. You are proactive and take ownership and are open about your flaws. But this is blown waaay out of proportion.

This one time I took a job out of my comfort zone. The short story is it didn’t work out.

Sadly, this institution was caught up in the blame game. This is always sad, because an entire culture is focused on assigning faults instead of learning from them.

I quickly made many mistakes while there. I struggled with my main objective. I communicated poorly. I mismanaged my team. And when my career there began to collapse, I failed to see the obvious — it was game over.

Suddenly I’m talking to Human Resources and can’t get my boss to return my calls. (This is when you know for sure you’re in for a big raise!) And though the picture HR painted definitely had my fingerprints all over it, there was just no way I could ever shoulder the full weight of how things worked out. I acted pretty foolishly, but it would never explain everything which went wrong.

At this point, there was no fixing the problem. There was no restitution or correcting the false information. The “facts” were in and I was guilty without a shadow of a doubt. The judge and jury tampered with the evidence, to my demise, and I sullenly accepted all of the blame available.

Needless to say, I didn’t get the chance to stick around until retirement.

Faults fully acknowledged, I was still horribly read the wrong way. Misinterpreted and misunderstood. Definitely didn’t need any counseling after that one…

God and I knew what went wrong and how I participated. No argument there. And when the smoke cleared and the fog lifted, I was finally able to shrug off the excess blame, because it was never mine in the first place.

Lesson learned.

How can you avoid taking undue responsibility for events you cannot control?