A few weeks back, we celebrated the glory of film by watching an overlong telecast of the Oscars where celebrities wore mega-priced gowns and suits while reading off scripted jokes or “moving” lines. It was a rather “ho-him” event in my opinion. To each his or her own, of course. At one point Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe went on stage together to present the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. As like every other telecast, they has a scripted bit to get through before announcing the winner. Their bit consisted of them arguing about what adapted screenplay really meant. They couldn’t agree on a definition and an “exasperated” Gosling then stated:
“Let’s not fight, come on, we have two Academy Awards between us, it’s beneath us to argue.”
At which point those of us film aficionados wondered “since when does Gosling have an Oscar?” I started wracking my brain. Sure, he was good in Sexy, Stupid, Love (well, his abs were really good) but not Oscar caliber, though. Then Russell Crowe asked “Wait, you’ve won an Oscar?”. To which Gosling responded “Well not when you put it like that, but you have two Academy Awards, so technically there’s two between us!” As such, despite, not having an Oscar statuette of his own, Gosling used the royal “we”term. Yes, technically, between the two of them they did have two oscars but both were Russell’s. Yet, technically the statement was correct. A misleading, correct statement. He then moved the conversation forward.
I laughed heartily at this bit not because it was super funny (it wasn’t) or because he was super cute making such a silly statement (which he was). I laughed at this bit because I have seen this type of behavior repeatedly in the workplace. I am sure you have as well.
There are often team projects that we all have to take a part in. There are times when there is a all-hands on deck necessity. And for the most part, many do roll up their sleeves and chip in. However, there is always that one individual that will not put in their greatest effort or maybe put in no effort at all. You get peeved because everyone is working hard except for that one individual that just did the bare minimum. You feel exhausted, annoyed and like a victim of an unjust, unfair system. Then things get even worse emotionally. The project is successful and everyone, everyone gets full equal credit. That lazy person rejoices in the team’s win. That lazy person goes all out later that day in the giving out the high-fives and partaking in the happy hour festivities. What is annoying is that probably that person doesn’t even bother to get the first round. Such a situation is really annoying and acts like a sucker punch to one’s mind and spirit.
This type of situation in the workplace is now what I refer to as the Ryan Gosling Math. Its the situation where others embed themselves in your win. They take your shine and put it over themselves. They coat themselves in your win. This reminds me as well of relay races where the lead runner established a large win and the other runners just coast to the finish line.
This type of shine stealing doesn’t just happen with colleagues but I have seen bosses do that as well to their team members. Of course, when there is a failure those same people are very quick to lay blame onto others.
What I can hope going forward is that there be a way to identify these fake winners. I do have to note that I do not advocate for the public shaming of these fakers. Individuals that engage in such behavior probably have other greater needs and maybe need encouragement on other projects. Then again, they an just be selfish, lazy, idiotic people.