leadership

Never be your Beast of Burden


The other day a newly released DVD caught my eye as I was browsing for TVs. It was the Rolling Stones’ 1978 ‘Some Girls’ tour film, never before released, digitally remastered from the original 16mm movie.  So I had to have it.  (We also later bought a new TV.)

‘Some Girls’ was the first album I bought. I was 14, and heavily influenced in my musical taste by my older brother. I’m proud of that first purchase, I think my 2nd album buy was Grease – the Movie. ‘Beast of Burden’ is a stand out track on an album full of heavy hits.

‘I’ll never be your beast of burden’, implores Jagger, ‘my back is broad, but it’s a-hurting’.

It is still one of my favourites tracks of all time, and 30+ years on rarely a week goes by without me cranking it up in the car, me singing at the top of my voice on the way to work. I have no idea where that old original vinyl LP has gone, but now I have their electrifying 1978 live performance, which my new TV can convert to 3-D. Ain’t technology great.

But having just listened to the whole concert and sung along again to the lyrics, I was struck anew by what Jagger was singing about – never be your beast of burden. Now that I’ve been back as a salaried man for a few years (after over a decade running my own business) I’ve noticed how there are people – colleagues, suppliers, clients – that take advantage of your good nature far too often. Without noticing it, you can end up being their best of burden. Helping others is one thing, but when some are simply not pulling their weight or imposing extra work on you unfairly, or simply stuffing up with you having to take the resultant flak, then you’re being taken advantage of.

So, a 2012 resolution is to push back against those that engage in this, while not letting normal customer service levels slip.

[Beast of Burden >  lyrics and discussion of meaning ]

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