Why is it that today, very few people want to take responsibility for their mistakes? We all have witnessed car accidents where both drivers claim it’s the other person’s fault. This happened to my daughter. She slowed down for a yellow light and the car behind her overtook her from the right. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t notice that a semi-truck was coming, which hit him. His car hit my daughter’s (which was already at a stop) and he spun around to the intersection. According to him, it was my daughter’s fault. The judge thought otherwise and sentenced him to take driver’s classes and a fine.
Another personal encounter I had with the blame game is when our college’s electricity went out and the fire alarm went off five minutes later. As we all learned in elementary school, you are supposed to exit the building in an orderly fashion and the people inside our library did. I stayed ten minutes walking around with a flashlight to secure the place before locking the doors. We have a cash drawer, a cart of MacBooks, and other valuables so I had to make sure they’re safe. It turns out, someone was in the conference room. She did not ask permission to use the room so we didn’t know she was in there. She did not leave when the lights went out and she claimed she didn’t hear the fire alarm. And no, she’s not hearing impaired. When she finally saw emergency vehicles coming into the parking lot, she decided to find out what’s going on. Of course, I had already locked the doors and she panicked. She was shaking the glass doors and students passing the hallway couldn’t open it for her and told her to get to the emergency exit doors. There’s one right next to the front doors and another across the conference room. She was understandably upset but she took it all the way up to the campus president and of course, who was to blame? Me. For following directives to secure the library. She said somebody should have checked on her. What is she – five? Like I said even elementary kids know what to do. My boss apologized to her but I didn’t. The campus president said it was embarrassing but he didn’t really scold me and just told me to make sure all the rooms are empty. Now we have a new directive in place that states staff (professors, et al.) were to leave all rooms unlocked. So to hell with the school’s and people’s personal belongings. We have to make sacrifices for stupidity.
I mention this today because I’m a test administrator and today a person shows up saying that he is scheduled for today when in fact he was supposed to come in yesterday. I have it in the database and in an appointment book. On top of that, he was sent a confirmation e-mail. But my boss is a firm believer in accommodating the customer so it was implied that I had to take the blame for the misunderstanding and fix it.
Finding someone to blame is a common human tendency. I would surmise that this probably stems from pride. Nobody wants to look bad or stupid.
But it is a lack of consideration to the person you’re dumping the blame on is also an awful reflection of character. Of course, we all know about the woman, her coffee, and McDonald’s. No wonder we read warning labels on products like : “Warning, iron may be hot when turned on.”
I read this interesting article titled “The Psychology of Blame” from The Department of School Psychological Services of the Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center in Ohio, that I’d like to share.
It gives some insight on why people blame others. For some laughs, check out this post on Squidoo: