It’s Oscar Sunday, the culmination of awards season for the film industry. As the industry titans walk the red carpet it will appear that the Sony Pictures hacking scandal never happened. All will be wearing happy faces, closely monitored by a bevy of publicists. This is the world of make believe and scripted narrative.
Since the first stories broke of the Sony hack in the days before Thanksgiving, we’ve been spectators to a world of behind the scenes dysfunctional relationships in the entertainment industry. If you are an insider, there was no surprise. But for the millions who line up weekly at the box office, it was a rare glimpse of the ‘reality show’ we call Hollywood.
Is there a lesson in this for all of us who go to work in the ‘real world’? Yes. How we understand and manage our relationship with work and our workplace community is the critical foundation for success.
This past week we have had a conversation about our relationship with work in prose, poetry and even a few suggested novels to help clarify our values and definition of success.
This week we also learned that author and professor, Oliver Sacks (whose memoir was the basis for Robin William’s character in the film ‘Awakenings’, a Best Picture nominee in 1991) had received a diagnosis he described it in The New York Times OP-ED column on Thursday: “But my luck has run out – a few weeks ago I learned that I have multiple metastases in the liver…It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me.”
As he has many times before, he provides us with a prescription for a life well lived, clear on his priorities and relationships:
“Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life.
On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.
This will involve audacity, clarity and plain speaking; trying to straighten my accounts with the world. But there will be time, too, for some fun (and even some silliness, as well).”
We do not live in the world of make believe, but we do live in a world where imagination and creativity allow us to make connections and develop relationships in life and at work. Perhaps it’s time for us to eliminate the inessential and focus on self, work and friends as Dr. Sacks suggests.