Though his $US2 million an episode salary for Two And A Half Men seems attractive, we would not recommend anyone use Charlie Sheen as a role model for their life. But his recent rantings to anyone armed with a camera do contain some ideas you can adopt to be a more helpful employee and co-worker.
We’re not going to retread the whole sorry saga of how Sheen has become a headline staple, since it’s pretty much inescapable online (the short version: Sheen’s employers think he’s out of control, he thinks they’re a bunch of liars/hypocrties/cheapskates). But here’s what Mr Sheen can teach us about a day at the office.
The quote: “These resentments, they are the rocket fuel that lives in the tip of my sabre.” The lesson: Anger can be useful in the workplace, provided you manage it correctly. If you’re not happy with a situation, it’s much better to do something about it than just sit and smoulder, and the anger can serve as useful motivation.
The quote: “That was stupid. I was joking about being underpaid.” The lesson: After initially claiming he wanted his salary to be raised to $US3 million an episode, Sheen backpedalled on those comments, perhaps remembering that he had signed a two-year contract. There’s two lessons here: think before you speak (Charlie himself hasn’t quite cracked that one), and recognise that getting any kind of raise requires careful planning. Sometimes you’re better off asking for additional perks. Perks that would appeal to Charlie Sheen? We’re not going there.
The quote: “It’s been a tsunami of media and I’ve been riding it on a mercury surfboard.” The lesson: If you’ve become the most visible employee in your workplace for whatever reason, it’s better to acknowledge the problem and discuss it with your boss than act like it hasn’t happened. That doesn’t mean you should talk about the situation with anyone who asks, mind, unless your key workplace metric is mentions on Twitter and Google News.
The quote: “Can you imagine going back into the sludge-pit with those knuckleheads at this point? It would go bad quickly.” The lesson: Sometimes, the job just doesn’t work out and you have to move on. We’d argue that resigning with dignity makes more sense than slagging off your former employer while poolside with scantily-clad companions, though.
The quote: “Maybe guys just sit in a room and just go, ‘Look, we hate each other. Let’s continue to make some great television.’ Maybe that’s possible. I don’t know.” The lesson: Yes, this contradicts the last quote. We don’t imagine Charlie Sheen is going to win any points for consistency any time soon. But the principle — that your workplace is never going to be perfect and that it may be worth suffering the company of fools if the end result is something that you’re proud of — is worth remembering as well.