Telling the truth often means stepping into
the unknown, a true act of faith. Working
to change a crazy system, rather than passively
accept corruption or abuse or illegality
is spiritual action. Stuck in a rut is its
opposite. Some whistleblowers find spiritual
resources, and also use their own basic sanity
to clean up dysfunction bit by bit. Indeed,
stereotypes portray whistleblowers as tormented
by interior demons or crushed in spirit,
while modern psychological jargon talks of
anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress
disorder. In any event, many valiant attempts
end prematurely. Resources to deal with the
stress make a key difference. Here are some
spiritual resource links and some psychological resource links.
Most whistleblowers care a lot about both
their privacy and their careers. Whistleblowing
always involves conflicting loyalties, as
well as shame or stigma. Who to trust? Courts
only recognize confidentiality in some relationships.
Private discussions with attorneys receive
the most protection. Conversations with doctors,
therapists and pastors or other spiritual
professionals are also usually confidential.
Remember that few attorneys can or try to
deal with the ethical, spiritual and mental
health effects of whistleblowing. However,
many attorneys fail to realize (or acknowledge)
their inadequacy with respect to these client
needs. Plus, some stressed-out employees
fear seeking out mental or spiritual assistance
(particularly from a confidentiality-sloppy
employee assistance program).
The "Peter principle" describes
a typical dysfunctional system--a manager
rising to a level where his or her shortcomings
become too obvious for further promotions.
Of course, those demonstrating the principle
invariably deny it, in part because poor
self-awareness is often associated with mediocre
management. Blaming the competition or underlings
is easy. Good managers, on the other hand,
consider subordinates human resources--to
be trained and utilized to best advantage.
In a competitive environment, poor
get fired. However, bureaucracy is
Bad managers keep many personnel officers
in business. After all, no one doubts
managing is tough: balancing the interests
of supervisors above and employees
juggling limited resources, climbing
career ladder. Advancement requires
knowledge and luck. The temptation
think that it also requires silence.