Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tiger, You, and Me

Anyone who's been following this blog for a while has probably come to learn what I'll say every time an Eliot Spitzer, a Larry Craig, or a John Edwards-type situation surfaces.

First, that for people who handle matters relating to our national security, compromising behavior isn't as funny as late-night talk show hosts would sometimes have us think.

And second, that for all public figures, their decision to be public is a conscious one that comes with PLENTY of upside as well as downside.

I've held my virtual breath on Tiger Woods so far, except to say that I'm surprised that Tiger, much like Michael Phelps, jeopardized millions upon millions of dollars in endorsements not just by his behavior (I'll stay judgement-neutral here on the infidelity or marijuana smoking) but by the carelessness surrounding it. A squared-away individual who acted as a combination bodyguard/administrative assistant would seem capable of preventing either PR disaster. Shoot, Gatorade or Nike could've hired the person themselves, seeing as they're losers in all this as well as Mr. Woods.

Anyway, I didn't post about Tiger's option of "just going away" because I thought it was just a rehash of earlier stuff. I realized today, however, that it's no different from what I would tell any friend, relative, neighbor, colleague, etc. who had a similar problem with his or her job.

For instance, let's say I complained to you CONSTANTLY about being a National Guardsman trying to schedule a gazillion in-person and Distance Learning courses simultaneously, or about preparing for a battery of grad school tests, or language qualifications, or volunteering for Sam Meas, or losing 20 pounds, or whatever the case may be...

..Eventually, you would (rightly) lose your patience with me and say, in essence, "If you hate it so much, why don't you just quit/stop doing it."

If Tiger Woods has such a problem with media intrusions into his personal life (driven by regular, non-media persons' interest in it, of course), he can simply stop doing endorsements and stop playing professional golf. There are movie stars and pro athletes who've created a precedent for this type of thing, too, so it's not a totally-uncharted course.

That's the same advice I would give to Eliot Spitzer, Mark Foley, or anyone else -- don't go away mad, just go away. But it's also the same advice I would give to ANY friend who hated his or her job and had the option of leaving.

Tiger doesn't need the money. Tiger doesn't need the professional stature. He already has tons of both.

YES, there will still be tons of interest in his situation no matter what he does with the rest of his life. However, that interest will slowly but surely fade, assuming he does nothing to stoke it.

If he wants to make a comeback, I'm all for it. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not in any way saying he shouldn't.

What I AM saying, however, is that he spent the past two decades benefiting from a career and life in the public spotlight. If he wishes to leave in order to have some much-needed privacy, that sounds like a good course of action.

That's the same thing I'd tell my friend who makes big bucks but hates his law firm job...Once you reach the point where you don't need it, just leave it.

But if you're just going to benefit from it whenever it suits you, but complain about it endlessly when it doesn't, I've got little to no sympathy to offer.

No comments: