Power is most appealing to those who want more.
Sometimes it’s the nearly completely powerless who abuse what little they have. “I know my goddam rights,” screams the welfare client.
The young woman on the highway, powerless at work or in her relationship, abuses the power of her vehicle, going 85 mph, weaving in and out of traffic. The young man on the residential street, peeling out, using his power to make obnoxious noise, because he lacks the power necessary to get a date with the girl he covets.
Sometimes it’s those with a bit of power who, sensing more power within their reach, wield the little they have to show how well they will handle more.
How well, or how poorly. Because it’s the truly powerful, the quietly authoritative people, who use power with deft restraint. It’s the powerful parent who can show the expectation of behavior with a glance; no raised voice or slap necessary. It’s the powerful boss whose silence speaks volumes about hoped-for outcomes not met. But the boss who snaps, scolds, derides; the one who, lacking the power to inspire, wields the power to stab– this is the one who will not handle more power well, and wants it for its own sake, to feed a hungry ambition. If you must make me look small, you’re not so tall after all.
I’ve had my taste of conventional power and I would not seek it again. Having power over people’s work lives is like being a super-hero– “with great power must also come great responsibility,” to be fair, to motivate, to understand, to have high expectations while recognizing people are human– that’s very hard stuff. No thanks. But I will support and have the back of anyone who does it well.
The power I now have is to endure and trust a good outcome. I don’t fear those who have power, because those who use it for ill will reveal themselves as the naked emperors they really are. And when they do I will do my best not to giggle.