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You’ve heard of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have done unto you,” and the Platinum Rule®, “Treat others as they want to be treated.” The Tarnished Rule is the antithesis of the compassionate spirit expressed in rules (such as these) that span religions.

The Tarnished Rule is simply this: “Do unto others that which would benefit you.” Benefit” [to oneself] has of course many connotations, to include abuse, assault, and neglect of other people. This mud splattering mode of interaction is the opposite of uplifting. The unfortunate outcome of those who espouse cage fighting’s behavioral equivalent is reduced output.

People concerned with protecting, defending, obsessing, worrying, and fretting in the aftermath of a bullying onslaught are not engaged in productive pursuits. They’re in fact doing the bully’s bidding – self destructing, eventually devolving into a crumpled mass of their former self.

Those who abide by the Tarnished Rule are strategic – they use their mouths as weapons, and their minds as machines in the war against their coworkers. There are thus winners and losers in a zero sum game to squash the “opposition” – defined as anyone who may get in the way of corporate goodies, or any person whose performance by contrast showcases one’s subpar finished product.  

Companies that do not have civility policies are more susceptible to poor behavior – and as such, employ the Tarnished Rule by default.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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