Go On, Admit It
If you don’t know what the CYA acronym means, or if you’ve never had to do it, this post is not for you.
Recently, I went to a screening of Jack Black’s new movie: Be Kind Rewind. If you’ve seen the previews, you’ll know it’s about two video-store workers (aw, how cute, videos!) who accidentally erase all the tapes and begin recreating such classics as “Ghostbusters” on their own. If you haven’t seen the previews, then I just ruined it. You’re welcome.
Between all the on-screen shenanigans, I started thinking about the crazy things people do to avoid accepting blame. When we were little kids, my siblings and I knew that nothing angered my mom more than the old-school classic: putting the milk carton back in the fridge with one drop left. Obviously, it happened a lot. One particularly memorable time, though, the discovery of the empty carton incited such a trauma-inducing tide of rage, mom-style, that no one’s ever owned up to it. Still, to this day. We’re all in our mid- to late-twenties at this point. You say pathetic, I say we’re obviously all really good at CYA. It’s genetics.
But it can backfire. In the workplace, a friend of mine recently got all bent out of shape because one of her colleagues threw her under the bus in a meeting. The offender wasn’t even being reprimanded, but the person panicked and immediately began to implement an inappropriate CYA response … and looked like an idiot in front of the entire room.
Same with the lead stuff that happened last summer—oh yes. I’m going back to the bad place. No one, neither supplier nor distributor, shouldered the responsibility. I can’t say for sure how it affected their profits, but neither looked too good in the eyes of the industry. It’s the dark side of CYA.