“Always carry a flagon of whisky in case of a snakebite and always carry a small snake.”

William Dukenfield (Jan. 29, 1880 – Dec. 25, 1946) Actor & Comedian

Posted on
January 30, 2024
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William Claude Dukenfield, better known as WC Fields, was one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood during the 1930’s. He often played characters who had a serious problem with alcohol. As an example, in the film My Little Chickadee, his character said "Once, on a trek through Afghanistan, we lost our corkscrew and were compelled to live on food and water for several days.” And he mirrored  the problem in real life as well.  Interestingly, Carlotta Monti, Fields’ companion in his later years, wrote that in his final moments, she used a garden hose to spray water onto the roof over his bedroom to simulate his favorite sound, falling rain.

While smoking among senior executives has dropped to half of what it was 15 years ago, high-risk drinking has increased with those same executives during the same time period.  The definition of “high risk” is defined as males who have at least 5 drinks, or females who have at least 4 drinks, on one occasion every month over the timeframe of a year. About13% of Canadian executives fall into the “high risk” category.  Under the Human Rights Code in Canada, employer shave a legal obligation to make every effort to accommodate team members who have an alcohol abuse issue (legally recognized as a disability) – even if he/she has multiple occurrences that result in ongoing absenteeism.

Recognizing this problem in an interview can be quite difficult.  Perhaps one of the best ways to investigate the possibility of a problem of this nature is to take the candidate out to dinner or visit a lounge that serves alcohol – and watch carefully.  

While he may have regretted his alcohol problem, Fields perhaps tried to atone by leaving a substantial portion of his net worth (about $10M USD) to a children’s orphanage. The former figure would be worth more than $150M in today’s dollars.

Perform Better!

Posted on
January 30, 2024
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