I am going to share a phrase I am quite fond of: “just because you have the right to do something doesn’t make it the right thing to do.” In my 20 plus years of doing this, I have found myself at odds more than once with a manager/supervisor who wants to do something that they shouldn’t. When I tell them not to, or that it isn’t a good idea, I am often retorted with “you can’t tell me that I don’t have the right to do (blank).” To which I have responded with “just because you have the right to do it, doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do.”
I have written in the past about how common practices have often gotten confused with the law, and the best example I can think of is the common misconception around required breaks. Namely the (false) assumption that there is a federal law governing breaks, but the truth is (as of this writing at least), that there isn’t. Sure, there are individual state and perhaps even local laws governing these things, but again, as of this writing I am only aware of 8 states that have these requirements (9 if you count Illinois, which has a requirement specifically for hotel room attendants in counties with populations of 3 million people or more). However, despite knowing this, how many of you employers/bosses are actually going to deny workers the opportunity to take a break for lunch? And why not? It is your right, after all – at least for those in 42 of these 50 United States. Put another way, I am perfectly within my rights to wear yoga pants around town. But just because I have the right to do it, doesn’t make it the right thing to do. Catch my drift?
So next time you are thinking of doing something where your mind is automatically going to the statement “I am within my rights to do this,” ask yourself first, is it the right thing to do? Just because you may not get in trouble with the court of law, you may find yourself struggling with another law: the law of supply and demand. Meaning, your supply of qualified candidates may dry up.