sanford.jpgIn West Side Story, Tony’s life changes forever when he meets Maria at the school dance.

He leaves his gang behind and embarks on a new life.

Is it hard or easy for Tony? Well, he ends up dead so I guess the answer is hard. But making that decision to risk everything you’ve known in your life is easier for some people than others.

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has had a long, successful political career. There was even talk about him becoming president some day. That is until Maria.

He fell in love with an Argentinian woman named Maria and everything else in his life became secondary to her. He even flew to Argentina, lying to his staff about his whereabouts, and was incommunicado for days — a no no for governors. The citizens of your state need to know where you are just in case some sort of major catastrophe occurs.

Well, he didn’t care about that. Suddenly his high-level career, not to mention his lovely wife and four lovely sons, were not that important.

Dr. Debra Condren, author of “Ambition Is Not A Dirty Word,” thinks it’s all about narcissism.

He (and let’s face it, it’s usually a man, not a woman) builds
this lifelong career. Builds up power. He becomes a legend — in his own mind.
The legend in his own mind and the nature of narcissism is that he splits off
his immoral, self-destructive behavior, meaning he compartmentalizes it/denies
it, essentially; the narcissistic mind has this way of telling itself, “That person
cheating on his wife of 20 years and becoming a horrible role model to my four
sons–I’m not THAT guy.”

So what kind of guy is he?

I’m not going to get into the ethics behind adultery or the hypocritical acts of a socalled devout man pushing his morality on others even though it didn’t apply to him. That’s not what this blog is about.

This blog is about careers, the work place, jobs. It’s about what so many of us strive for — a great, happy, working life.

Sanford seemed hungry for a career of political power. Here’s his bio from

A native of Florida, Sanford moved to South Carolina as a teenager. He earned degrees in business and worked in New York in finance and real estate during the 1980s, but returned to South Carolina in 1990. He founded his own real estate investment firm in 1992, and in 1994 turned to politics. A conservative Republican, Sanford won three terms in the House of Representatives (he did not run for a fourth term). Elected governor in 2002 and re-elected in 2006, he’s known mostly for budget battles with his own party, and he has a knack for making headlines (including one stunt where he carried two live, defecating pigs into the State House, calling pig “Pork” and the other pig “Barrel”). During the presidential campaign of 2008 Sanford was mentioned as a possible running mate for Republican John McCain, and by 2009 he was making the news as the most visible governor opposed to a federal spending plan by President Barack Obama’s administration.

A man who carries defecating swine around has to be committed to his career, his job, no?

Well, that’s the question I’m pondering this morning. It seems to me Sanford was yet another person unhappy with his career. At some point he must have sat back and realized his behavior would impact his political future, but that didn’t stop him.

I know love is a beautiful, powerful thing, but love can also be used as an excuse to change a life you’re not happy with.

While we all are outraged at his breaking a commandment, we should all take a moment to think about whether an exciting Argentinian named Maria, or Mario for that matter, would be a welcome excuse to risk a career, a life, we really don’t want but are too chicken to leave.

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