Sunday, July 20, 2008
These days I am a Ronin or a warrior with no master.
That describes a true consultant.
Someone once wrote that when you are a servant at least you want to be the very best servant that the master has. For so long that was my problem. I wanted to be the trusted right hand of the leader. What I found was the undying loyalty was two handed or maybe better described as backhanded. The same hand that patted you on the shoulder and told you that you had done a fine job could also be used to slap you hard when you made a mistake or did not so the task the way the master would have wanted it done.
But to be a warrior often means to be a servant and to be a servant means to be under the direction and control of another.
I have had many masters over the years. Some were benign and some were to be respected. I learned from them. But some were little more than bullies in the clothing of a warrior. The only thing I learned from them was that loyalty meant little or nothing. You were used and then discarded. Oh they used fancy words to lure you in and keep you close and the same fancy words while they slipped a dagger into your side.
That is the reason I became a Ronin. I could still wield the weapons of my trade but I owned nothing to any single an (or woman). I did not want to come in from the cold as many warriors do. I wanted employment but not on their terms.
So I slip through many kingdoms and along the way there are those who eye my independence and ask what it takes to be like me.
The answer is the same but they don't want to hear it any more than I did when I was in their place.
The ability to say "no" I tell them. The ability to walk away if things aren't to your liking.
Some months ago I sat across from one of those masters who had lured me in changing and editing his promises as we went along. Eventually he told me that I was not a team player and that I was too meek. He played words like some play music on a violin. He spoke of strength while asking me to yield and kneel. That was his game. He always forced his people to their knees. I had seen it again and again. Now he was trying it with me. I thought about it for a time. Yielding is so easy. It is like giving into the cold high up on a mountain and sleeping that dreamless sleep that eventually becomes death. Except in this sleep you do not die.
I thought about what I had fought for over the years. I knew the answer in my warrior, Ronin heart.
So I listened to him impassively but at the end I stood up and with great restraint thanked him for his wisdom. Then I walked out, drove home and sent him this message.
Best for both of us if I push on. I am sure you'll agree.
This was not a good fit for either side.
You see for me when he played his violin, there was no music.