Comedian Dave Chapelle recently made headlines after he stopped a recent performance because of significant heckling and noise from the audience.
Sounds rude, right? After all, the audience paid good money to see Chappelle (a headliner of the comedy tour), so shouldn’t they get their money’s worth?
Shouldn’t Chappelle deliver the goods, regardless? These are paying customers!
I support Chapelle’s decision.
In fact, I think we can learn a lot from his actions. In a world where more is being expected of us for less money, our privacy is being whittled away by our government in collaboration with our social networks, and protective laws like the Voting Rights Act are being taken away, I think Chappelle offers a refreshing example of someone who isn’t interested in compromising his message to accommodate people that are taking advantage of and disrespecting him.
Of course, Chapelle is a multimillionaire comedian beloved by millions, so he can afford to take the hit on his reputation, and he will certainly work another day.
Whether it’s your job, a sport, or within a group of friends when we’ve have had it up to here, sometimes saying sayonara and standing up for one’s self may seem risky, but you might be surprised to find that people will respect you for refusing to be taken advantage of. And more importantly, you’ll respect yourself more as a result.
Do you think anyone will heckle Chapelle on the next stop of his comedy tour?
My bet is on “no”.
Here’s some questions to ask yourself before you decide to hit the road:
- Are you responsible? Before you start blaming others for not receiving the proper level of respect, are you providing results that are within agreed upon expectations? Would you respect someone who doesn’t apply themself at work, misses practice, or doesn’t participate in social events? Make sure you’re not that guy or girl. If you are, it’s time to ask yourself why you’re not giving your 100%.
- The Golden Rule. Are you providing the same amount of respect to others that you would like to receive? Remember that what goes around, comes around so remember that your attitude can be like a boomerang. Don’t let a bad attitude come around and hit you in the head.
- Are you alone? Getting consensus from others is a helpful way to gauge your environment. Are you a specific target, or does the entire workforce feel like you? Is your coach abusive to everyone on the team? Are all of your friends simply cruel to each other? If it affects others, you may be able to enact a change through consensus. There is strength in numbers, so consider the group approaching the source of the negativity (boss, coach, friend) and you may resolve your issue more quickly.
- Have you spoken up? No one respects a martyr. Feeling sorry for yourself is a surefire way to perpetuate and encourage people to treat you poorly. If someone is treating you poorly, you are obligated to yourself to stand up and tell him or her their behavior is inappropriate. If it continues a second time, speak up again. A third time without any change in behavior might merit a consideration of stronger measures, like speaking to upper management, other team leaders, or leaving that group of friends behind.
Regardless of what you decide, remember that you are not a prisoner of your situation. If it’s too soon to make your departure, set up alternatives in advance and ask yourself what kind of a life you’d like to have. In the meantime, take care of yourself in other ways. Make sure your life is filled with positivity, good food, and good friends. This will offset the conditions of your work life.