By Don Klein
Let’s go hypothetical and make some extravagant presumptions. Let us assume you are being paid $1.4 million a week for about a half-year’s work and your employer expects you to adhere to a few simple work rules.
1. You have to show up for work at the appointed time.
2. You have to be prepared to do the work assigned to you.
3. You are expected to behave on and off the job in a manner that does not reflect badly on your employer or yourself.
4. You must be respectful to all who work with you at all times.
That’s not too severe, is it? I’ve know people who make a lot less who live and work under a lot worse work rules.
Assuming that you are talented enough to skillfully carry out the details of your work, wouldn’t you accept these rules? Or would you conclude, in view of the fact you are the most highly paid of anyone at this job, that the rules do not apply to you?.
There is no question what I would do even if I was paid a lot less than the approximately $33 million annually. I would follow the work rules as if my life depended on it. Wouldn’t you? It is good to have a steady-paying job, especially these days.
I would never have more than one alcoholic beverage with meals and would never over indulge. I would never touch illegal drugs. I would report for work on time – all the time. I would make sure I knew what I was suppose to do once on the job. I certainly would never abuse my fellow employees, and most studiously not those in responsible positions.
I would want to preserve my good fortune in having such a good job and wish to protect the advantages the work brought to my family.
Not so in Charlie Sheehan’s case These are all of the things he ignored and thereby jeopardized his cushy employment and fat salary.
Let us continue with this now not so hypothetical circumstance by saying that if I had ignored all the above and went my own way to the detriment of my employer and was reprimanded, would it make sense to blame everything that went wrong on others.
What would you conclude in this situation?
How would you describe someone who blamed all his misfortunes on others? How would you react to someone who described himself as a superior human, a superman with inexhaustible appeal and magnetic attractiveness?
You would probably say that person was in need of some serious therapy. Well that’s the status of the Charlie Sheehan story, an actor at the height of his career blowing it all because of a bloated self-importance distilled through pervasive infusions of alcohol and drugs.
Anyone who endangers a great career is the author of a very sad tome. I felt that way about Michael Vick and John Edwards, two men of great potential receiving self-inflicted wounds. Vick has managed to redeem himself, but Edwards seems forever doomed to dishonor. Then there are lesser lights like today’s Lindsay Lohan to Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle of silent movie fame.
I feel that way about Sheehan If I was fortunate enough to have a job like his I would certainly tow the line. Like most people, I like to be the recipient of loads of income and it wouldn’t be hard to obey the rules of his employment which did not appear to be very severe or onerous.
He does not have to creep through someone’s crawl space to make household repairs at slightly better than minimum wages nor be outside during all kinds of bad weather nor dig ditches nor climb telephone poles. No, all he had to do was show up at a film studio and act out a silly little weekly 30-minute situation comedy.
Now he has lost it all – job and fat income. It is a sad story of human frailty. The question that remains is will be have the strength and inclination to recover and rebuild his reputation as others like Robert Downey, Jr., did, or will he continue to be obstinate and abusive? Only time will tell.
The other disturbing element of the continuing Sheehan drama is the media coverage. I think it has gone a bit overboard and perhaps it even innocently prods Sheehan on to keep this nonsense going in front of the public almost daily As usual, in its pursuit of viewers and higher ratings, television news that has made the most hay over this sad, sad story.
You don’t have to be a psychologist to recognized that the poor man is ill. He needs professional help and to exploit his situation with television clips of his sorrowful behavior is in bad taste. I know the television assignment editors will say that Sheehan is a legitimate news story because of his celebrity and his open battle with the powerful networks. But isn’t enough, enough?
Give the guy a break and send him the phone number of a good therapist.