My First Principled Dilemma

Principle One: Don’t Criticize, Condemn, or Complain.

But what if your ACTIONS are driven by a critique of something? How do you explain your actions without mentioning the critique? This is my dilemma!

I was pretty sure the training would be a waste of time, but how can I communicate that without criticizing? Buy this pictured hourglass at!

The situation: An all-day training at work called “Actice Shooter Training.” Part of the training will cover the “Run, Hide, Fight” model now advised if encountering a mass shooter. The rest of the training? Unclear. I tried to figure out why the training needed to last 8 hours. The answer appears to be because there is a lot more information covered, information that might be interesting but could be learned by watching a video or reading a memo.

So, I decided to skip the training. But how do I justify my actions without saying some variant of “I think the training will not be a productive use of my time.”

I could lie and say, “I have so much work to do I can’t take a moment away!” But that doesn’t seem to fit with the general principles of HTWFAIP, let alone my own values. A co-worker of mine, who also opted out of the training, said, “There are some other things I wanted to get done today.” That seems like a good, truthful answer.

Is it better just to lie rather than criticize? That doesn’t seem right to me! Thanks to Portico Magazine for this image.

I could say something anodyne, like “It’s just not for me. I hope you have a wonderful time and learn a lot!” But that may just prompt more questions: “Why isn’t it for you? What do you mean?”

Instead of doing those things, I’ve been criticizing. “If the content of a meeting could be delivered in a video or memo, then the meeting is not a productive use of time.” Or “It feels like this content applies more to professors who work with students and could be vulnerable in a classroom.”

So what am I missing? Are there times where we cannot avoiding criticizing? Is polite criticism an acceptable option under Principle 1? Or do I just need to mark this down as something I still need to work on?

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