The Professional – 5 Reasons Why Emulating Ben Simmons Won’t Fly in the Workplace

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Well, the NBA season is underway, and it is one of the more anticipated seasons in recent memory. There are a myriad of competitive head-to-head matchups that have fans salivating. This season is also filled with some interesting controversies and headlines that exploded throughout the world of sports before the season even began. One of those controversies involve Ben Simmons and his tumultuous relationship with the Philadelphia 76ers. Following a dreadful playoff performance that witnessed him literally avoid touching the basketball, passing up open shots, and passing immediately to teammates if he did get his fingertips on the ball.

Simmons lost confidence in his shot and was petrified of going to the free throw line. Already a bad free throw shooter at 61%, that average plummeted to a woeful 34% during the playoffs. The Philadelphia fanbase and media were merciless. To be honest, Simmons was shook mentally, and I seriously felt remorse for the guy. I am old enough to remember a similar mental block occur with former NBA star Nick Anderson. However, as bad as the press have been, Simmons has exhibited a glaring lack of accountability and self-awareness. Simmons is fortunate. He is still a superstar with a ton of talent, so he can still be an asset to any team seeking a championship. Nevertheless, the average employee works in the real world absent multimillion dollar contracts, agents, and basketball talent to leverage demands. Exhibiting behavior like Ben Simmons just may get you terminated. Here are some behaviors one should definitely avoid when working in the office.

Bad Work Performance – If you are gainfully employed by a company, there is a logical expectation that you perform your job suitably enough to receive compensation. Now, whether or not those wages are fair & competitive is subject matter for another blog post. Nevertheless, if you are an employee with suspect work ethic and inadequate work performance, a company can reserve the authority to separate you from the business. Unlike Ben Simmons, it is highly doubtful you will be afforded the same opportunity to dial in bad performance after bad performance without meaning repercussions. People also have a self-inflated sense of their worth. Sure, one should always have confidence in oneself. However, you can’t have Craig Ehlo skills with a Michael Jordan attitude.

Lack of Growth & Development – Now, if bad work performance is one issue, lack of self-awareness is certainly another problem. If you are performing poorly at work, management should be providing feedback regarding expectations and suggestions for personal improvement. An ambivalent or otherwise adversarial attitude is not in your best interests. Failing to improve and better yourself will only lead to career stagnation. You don’t want to be viewed as expendable. You must be able to step back and identify your weaknesses if you wan to become a better version of yourself.

No Showing At Work – Unless your company has a union that has strategically planned a walkout or strike, it is in your best interest to show up to work. Failing to show up to work for a certain number of days can be viewed as job abandonment. Unlike Simmons, the average worker cannot skip training camp and the preseason. It is either you show up to work or find other means to make a living.

Alienating Coworkers – It is not unusual for an employee to have some sort of beef with management. However, if you have bad relationships with your coworkers, you could possibly be contributing to a toxic environment. No one wants to work with a malcontent. If you are a disruption to the mission, vision, and team; management will sooner sever all ties with you for the good of the team. This is known as addition by subtraction – removing a cancer from the team in order to move in a positive, constructive direction. 

Insubordination and Disrespectful Behavior – To be sure, there is a chain of command in the workplace. And unless you are at the top of that chain, an employee has a leader to whom they report. Noncompliance with a directive from leadership is a surefire way to earn a pink slip. Disrespecting your leadership is a surefire way to earn a pink slip.

I understand that some of these points may not be popular, but this needs to be read by someone. Because, as social media and celebrity figures continue to influence and empower, the every day employee may believe they can operate like said celebrity. That is simply not the case in the real world. And as Dave Chappelle alluded to in his latest Netflix special, but in a different context, Twitter is not a real place. And thinking you can move like the famous or people who are social media famous might get you fired. My suggestion: Go to work and be fully present. Practice some self-reflection and humility as you become the best version of yourself. Ensure that you build meaningful relationships and respect leadership. And if the fit is not right for you; seek other opportunities in a professional manner. 

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