What’s It All About Al-friday – Charles Van Doren & the 1950s Game Show Scandal

You know – what’s it all about Alfie?

Why do we do what we do? Why do we go to work? Why do we practice HR?

Lots of important questions to answer on Fridays, as a reminder at the end of the traditional work week of why we are working, and what our life is really all about, before entering the weekend.
All the Answers is a wonderful article written by Charles Van Doren, the famous cheater on a 1950s gameshow “Twenty-One”. It’s really stuck with me since reading it, because it embodies that human spirit I wrote about last week of survival and rebuilding.
Obviously I wasn’t around when the scandal went down, so I never felt the betrayal of a loyal follower who was emotionally invested in the spectacle. I could understand the bitter disillusion when your favourite television personality has lied to you the whole time. What an innocent age it was in the 50s when a nation was shocked by TV execs doing dodgy things… what a cynical age we’re in now, where it’s just expected.
Anyway, here is a man who made a terrible mistake in his early life (and for that, I take pity on him). He lost his job. He faced public humiliation and popular opinion of anger.
And yet, he continued to live life. He had a family. He was in love with his wife. He worked hard at what he was good at.
He survived, kept his head down, and rebuilt.
His eloquent writing makes it an enjoyable read, but really, this is happening to people all around us. Perhaps it’s happening to you. Perhaps it has already happened to you. 
Whatever, however, whenever – have a good weekend with the people you love.
Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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  • 5 October 2012