And not for the last time, I was caught once again watching that beauty of a movie, Gladiator. Unlike most of my friends, I find the dialogue between Maximus, Commodus and Lucilla in the first half of the movie, the most important act of the movie.
Commodus: You are a man who knows what it is to command. You give your orders, the orders are obeyed, and the battle is won. But these senators, they scheme and squabble and flatter and deceive. Maximus, we must save Rome from the politicians. Can I count on you, when the time comes?
Maximus: Highness, when your father releases me I intend to return home.
Commodus: Home, well no one has earned it more. Don’t get too comfortable – I may call on you before long.
. . . Scene change – post Marcus’s death – Lucilla turns to Commodus, slaps him twice and acknowledges him as king…
Lucilla: Hail Caesar.
Surprised? Let me explain.
Maximus is a simple bloke who’s done fulfilling his responsibilities and now wants to retire to a farmer’s life. Commodus is the ambitious bloke who wants to utilize Maximus’ power and position (of general) and the hold of his army for his own benefit. Lucilla is another good but a sly chick who doesn’t mean any harm for others, but she’s smart enough to understand how to reciprocate to Commodus after he’s just killed their father and stay on his safe side, ignoring his wrong doings.
How many times have you seen this happen in your life? I see this scene enacted on a repetitive basis, at my workplace; within my team-mates, as well as with other teams in the office. There are always some Commodus, a few Maximus, and certainly a few hidden Lucilla in every team. You know them as the go-getter-aggressive blokes, the do-gooder no-politics workers bees, and the few shrewd ones.
Like Maximus, these worker bees would prefer to have the easy life – come to office in time, work hard during office hours, and leave on-time to have a healthy work-life balance. They do not engage in office politics or any boss-licking activities. They expect a steady job with regular promotions and salary hikes and a simple yet perfect life.
Then come the shrewd Lucilla(s), always on the lookout to get the job done using short-cuts. It wouldn’t matter to them if the (quicker) alternative was a right or a wrong one. They come to office on time, finish work fast and aim to leave early. They always hope to be rewarded more than they deserve, yet if proven otherwise, they’ll accept it quietly.
And then there are the Commodus – extremely ambitious, always on the lookout to get the best of every situation; even at the risk of causing collateral damage to others. They do extremely well, they have a lot of enemies, most of them being other Commodus, and they are always on the lookout to make use of their’s and others’ skills to their own benefit. The Maximus of the team are generally the ones that take the hit, at times knowingly, and at most times unknowingly.
So which group do you belong to? Are you a Maximus, or Lucilla or a Commodus?
Disclaimer: The above stereotyping need not apply in every situation. And I love the rest of the movie too! 🙂