Here’s a picture of me holding a copy of The S.W.E.A.T. Pledge. (Skill and Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo.) I wrote The Pledge last year for three simple reasons:
1. I believe what it says, and felt strongly the world needs one more acronym.
2. I wanted to raise some money for the scholarship fund. (We sell them for $10, and the money goes to the foundation.)
3. I needed something declarative that everyone must sign who applies for a mikeroweWORKS Scholarship. Something that reflected my own view of work-ethic and personal responsibility.
Number 3 is especially relevant to this post, because two of our current scholarship programs are winding down. The videos for mrW/UTI Scholarships have all been submitted and received, and voting is currently underway at http://www.uti.edu/mrw. When the dust settles, a million dollars will be awarded to the collective recipients. If you’d like to cast a vote, please consider yourself officially invited to do so. Some of the videos are really great, and all deserve a look. Deadline to vote is 11:59pm, PDT, July 12th. Good luck to all.
Unfortunately, a number of applicants for the mrW/UTI program created videos that did not comply with the rules of submission. Sadly, those people were automatically disqualified. Sadder still, are the complaints that have arisen from a handful individuals regarding the “fairness” of the rules.
Sour grapes are not unusual, but I am surprised that anyone who read the S.W.E.A.T Pledge before signing it would whine in such a public fashion. I’m not going to address the individual complainers directly, because I have no wish to embarrass the aggrieved. However, I will address the vocally disappointed as a group, because my friends at UTI are being publicly criticized and they’re probably too polite to speak frankly. Me? Not so much.
Dear Vocally Disappointed Scholarship Applicants,
Thanks for applying for a mikeroweWORKS/UTI Scholarship. I’m sorry to hear that you were disqualified. I understand that some of you believe the rules in question were lame. I also understand that some of you resent being asked to sign the S.W.E.A.T Pledge. I can only say in response that this particular pile of free money is simply not for you. Signing this pledge was a mandatory part of the application process, and if you are now complaining about a “lack of fairness,” you are in clear conflict with points 8, 10, and 11. Or perhaps, just unfamiliar with the terms, “pledge,” honor,” and “promise.” Either way, your complaints are what my grandmother would call “unseemly.”
As for those who feel the process is too much of a “popularity contest,” I’ll simply point out that you were under no obligation to participate in the first place. Why bitch now?
Look – failure and disappointment are parts of life. Maybe the most important parts. I encourage you to get over it. Try again. They’re other programs out there. Find them. Follow the rules. If you can’t, don’t complain about the consequences.
But remember, even when you do everything right, there are no guarantees that you’ll get what you want. That’s life. You have to keep trying. You have to keep looking for other ways in. Otherwise, you’re options are limited to quitting and complaining. Neither will get you very far.
PS. Additionally, applications for our Work Ethic Scholarships are still being accepted. This is a totally separate program, with a deadline of July 9th. We’ve got $200,000 allocated for this round. Rules and regs are here.
PPS. On a completely unrelated note, over 20,000 of you wished my friend Eileen a happy birthday last week, and the impact was hysterical, staggering, and perfect. Thank you. All in attendance marveled at your collective creativity. Many of your poems were read aloud, and several of your songs were brought to life, (sort of.) Everyone was touched, especially the doll, who has spoken of little else since. Eileen has vowed to respond personally to each and every one of you with a hand-written note on thick and creamy vellum. So stay tuned for that…