Lesson 102: Unfair treatment for already-paid-for past mistakes
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 7/15 ('Lower Decks')


When Capt. Picard blasts a new Ensign recruit on board the Enterprise for taking part in the cover-up of an accident at Starfleet Academy, which resulted in the death of a classmate Cadet, the Ensign just stands there and does not respond to the captain.

Later, thanks to guidance from her instructor Lt. Worf, the Ensign defends herself against Capt. Picard. She tells Capt. Picard that she had already taken her punishment and paid her dues at Starfleet for her faulty actions and that perhaps the Captain should not have accepted her assignment to the Enterprise if he felt so negatively towards her.


Accidents and mistakes happen. They are very much a part of our human reality.

If we have truly paid the price for any accidental mistakes committed, then there is no need to continually keep our head lowered in guilt.

If we have learned from our mistake and have paid any direct or indirect punishment for our mistake, then we must move on with your lives and not dwell on the mistake.

When we accidently drive in excess of the posted speed limit, we are issued a traffic ticket, which we pay and accept the consequences of increased insurance rates. This event does not stop us from driving later on; rather it teaches us to become a better and more careful driver in the future.

In the same vein, if we should accidently commit a mistake at work which proves harmful in some manner to the organization, then admitting to the mistake, taking our punishment and learning from the mistake only makes us a better resource for the company.

Bottom line is, we should not allow ourselves to be wrongfully victimized by others for our accidental mistake, and as in most instances, we are the only ones who can stand up for ourselves.

In the case of the Ensign, Capt. Picard explains to her that he previously chastised her deliberately to see if she will stand up for herself, and that he had in fact personally requested her being assigned to the Enterprise precisely for her situation, so that he could ensure that she would not treated unfairly by others for her past actions.

If only we all had such mentoring managers.

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