You Know, Everyone Has Problems — It Doesn’t Mean You Have To Be A Little Crybaby About It

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I’ve been pretty lucky in that, over the course of my varied professional career, I’ve largely worked for people who I’ve gotten along with.  Most of my supervisors have been good people who I’ve had respect for, and who’ve had an equal amount of respect for me.

But that wasn’t every boss I ever had.  One of my careers had been in the food service industry.  I had worked for a restaurant chain for seven years, off and on, after graduating from high school and while attending college.  (I won’t mention a name directly, but will just add that if you’ve eaten good in the neighborhood, then you’ll know of whom I speak).  I started out as a barback (which was just the clever, more-important sounding name they used in place of the term “busboy”) and then quickly moved my way up to a bartending position (a time of my life I remember fondly, as I’ve never made as much money with as few bills to pay as I did then).

While the job was fantastic, the people I worked for, unfortunately, were not — as least not one person in particular.  Most of my managers were pretty good people and a pleasure to work with.  The Director of Operations when I was hired was also a good man, and he had approached me to enter their management training program (as the company was looking to expand the number of locations in the region, and managers would be needed).   As excited as I was about that prospect, those hopes were dashed when the D.O. left for Ohio, and he was replaced by someone new — a guy who had his own agenda that didn’t include me (promotions were soon to be given out in proportion to the amount of ass you could kiss, or your willingness to provide other “services” that couldn’t be found on the menu).

Unless it was the menu here

Unless it was the menu here

Needless to say, this guy and I didn’t get along at all — but that didn’t stop me from doing my job with the utmost professionalism while I was there.  I was asked numerous times by bar regulars why I put so much effort into doing things well when I worked for somebody like that, and I always answered that it was a pretty easy choice to make.  You don’t have to like the person you’re working for — you don’t even have to always respect them.  Sometimes, you have to suck it up and do to the best of your ability what it is you’re being paid to do — if for no other reason then it’s what a professional does.

Or, I guess, you could cry and whine about it.  Like this week’s Ro-Sham-Bo recipient, for example.  For those of you coming in late to this soap opera, Jay Cutler of the Denver Broncos has been throwing an extended hissy fit ever since he learned of a proposed trade that would have brought Matt Cassel (since traded to the Kansas City Chiefs) to Denver and would have sent him to Tampa Bay.

The Broncos quarterback has apparently asked the team for a trade, believing that the situation between the team and himself is irreparable.  This news comes on the heels of a meeting between Cutler, new Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, Broncos General Manager Brian Xanders, and Cutler’s agent, Bus Cook that evidently did little to repair the growing rift between all parties — and apparently only widened it.  According to Cutler, McDaniels doesn’t believe in him as the team’s starter, and didn’t voice the requisite (in Cutler’s eyes) vote of confidence in the signal-caller’s ability to lead the team.  “[McDaniels] made it clear that he could still entertain trading me because, as he put it, he’ll do whatever he feels is in the best interest of the organization,” Cutler said after the Saturday get-together.

Well, I can see why Cutler is so shocked — after all, who can imagine the head coach and general manager of a professional sports team actually doing what’s in the best interest of the organization?  Clearly, in Cutler’s eyes, that should have been secondary to massaging his self-inflated ego, or soothing over his overly-sensitive feelings about being potentially replaced as the team’s quarterback.

McDaniels has admitted that he looked into the possibility of a trade to acquire Cassel largely due to his familiarity with the former New England quarterback, a player that he worked with extensively while both were with the Patriots.  Cutler’s feelings were hurt, and that would have been understandable — a couple of weeks ago, when all of this actually took place.  But the NFL is a business, pure and simple, and Cutler should certainly understand that loyalty in the professional sports world is a lost concept from a bygone era — if it ever actually existed in the first place.  Cutler should have been upset for a day, placed a chip on his shoulder to prove his worth as the team’s franchise player, and dedicated himself to winning over his coach and performing to the best of his ability this season.  You know, acting like a professional would.

He certainly could have taken a lesson from current Saints quarterback Drew Brees in how to deal with the situation.  After Brees had posted a decidedly average season as the quarterback for the San Diego Chargers in 2004, team management decided to go in a different direction and drafted college star Phillip Rivers to be their signal-caller of the future.  Brees could have sulked, he could have demanded a trade, he could have cried and whined about the lack of appreciation and respect he felt he was getting from the organization — in other words, he could have pretty much taken a page out of the Cutler playbook.  But instead, he decided to compete for the job and do his talking on the field.

Brees’ professionalism in an admittedly tough situation (along with an ill-timed holdout by Rivers) led to the quarterback holding onto the starting job with the Chargers all season, which would turn out to be his breakout year.  Brees posted the 3rd-best quarterback rating in 2004, winning the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award and a selection to the Pro Bowl.  Brees also won over the respect and admiration of his teammates, and he positioned himself for an eventual move to New Orleans, where he’s continued to be one of the game’s top quarterbacks since.

Cutler, on the other hand, has decided to take the road too often traveled by professional athletes, and the issues swirling around this circus threatens to overwhelm the Broncos’ season before it ever gets a chance to start.  And that would be a shame, since Broncos fans must be torn up over the possibility of Cutler not continuing his tremendous run he’s already put together as the Denver starter.  Oh, wait … Cutler’s record as the team’s starter is 17-20, and he has zero playoff wins to his credit.  That makes his sensitivity over Denver’s actions so much more understandable.

A look at the new book detailing Jay Cutler's playoff resume

A look at the new book detailing Jay Cutler's lengthy playoff resume

The fact is that, some gaudy statistics aside, Cutler hasn’t proven much of anything as the team’s starter.  What he has shown clearly is his stance regarding the situation — his personal hurt feelings are more important than his teammates and the success of the team — by missing the start of the team’s off-season conditioning program today.  If Cutler isn’t traded — and the Broncos’ front office deny that a trade is in their plans now — then he’ll have a problem recapturing the support of the locker room — if he ever had it in the first place.

Is there a solution here for all parties involved?  Cutler needs to buckle down and start acting like a pro, instead of throwing tantrums more suited for a pee-wee league.  If he goes out and performs well, any of the off-season trade talk would be quickly forgotten, and he’ll get all of the back-slapping and acknowledgment from the organization he feels now is lacking.  In the meantime, he’ll have to settle for this week’s Ro-Sham-Bo Award instead.  But don’t worry, Jay — you were my first choice for the pick all along.

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One Response to “You Know, Everyone Has Problems — It Doesn’t Mean You Have To Be A Little Crybaby About It”

  1. […] this year that made me feel like I was being punished for not being on Santa’s good list.  I already railed on Cutler’s crybaby act before he was traded to Chicago — and it’s only gotten uglier as the season’s gone on.  On the bright side for […]

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