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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Rick DiPietro Shows Emotional Immaturity At Work

People often fail in the workplace, even if they are smart, hard-working and responsible, because of a glaring emotional immaturity or poor judgment.

Sometimes this "low emotional IQ" takes the form of inappropriate (for the office) comments or otherwise inappropriate behavior.  The workplace is never the place to show one's "wild side."  Sometimes -- and most often with women -- it takes the form of inappropriate dress. 

But other times, it really manifests itself in the form of horrible judgment.  Employees should be aware that one serious indiscretion can color, indelibly and permanently, his or her supervisors' perception of that employee's future potential for greater responsibility.  (For this reason, it is prudent to never get drunk with the boss.) 

The latest shocking workplace episode comes from the world of sports.  

Often-injured (and former concussion victim) New York Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro decided to prove his manhood late in a game (that is, the final 20 seconds) this past Wednesday night.

A decision to first precipitate hostilities, and then to fight, led to a one-punch knockdown in which DiPietro suffered facial fractures and will be out of action at least four to six weeks.

(Did I mention DiPietro's history of concussions, including one in March 2007?)

DiPietro has been injured often, during the course of his 15-year, $67 million contract that still has 10 years to run.  He continues to battle knee problems that periodically flare up and keep him out of action, despite several injuries and lengthy rehabilitations. 

In my opinion, DiPietro lacks the requisite durability to be an NHL goaltender, as being able to avoid chronic injuries rendering oneself unable to play is a necessary element to being a professional athlete in a violent contact sport.  I would predict the Islanders will buy out his contract once they share that assessment.

DiPietro's behavior is troubling, for it is shockingly immature and irresponsible.  It is worse, from a business standpoint, when one considers the context: DiPietro is almost 30 years old and makes US$4.5 million for each of the next ten seasons.  In short, DiPietro put his employer -- the Islanders' hockey team -- at major risk, this after already sustaining numerous injuries and having the club make a sizable financial investment in him.

Such a lack of emotional maturity in the workplace demonstrates a "me first" attitude that imperils an employer.  In a regular workplace, such behavior can get one fired.

Eric Dixon is a New York lawyer and strategic analyst who provides crisis management and strategic consulting services to businesses, individuals and political organizations.  Mr. Dixon can be reached for further comment at 917-696-2442 and via e-mail at


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