In the movie Pulp Fiction, Jules dramatically states a phrase from the Bible… what he says, how he says it and what happens next leaves an indelible mark on the audience… In fact, I can quote Ezekiel 25:17 from memory.
The quoted text from the movie goes like this…
“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.”
If you've seen the movie, you remember the first time Jules says it. If you haven’t seen the movie… well, carve out three hours this weekend to view one the best films of the 90s (read: of all time).
In the film, Jules actually says the phrase twice… once at the apartment and once at the diner. In both cases most of the phrase is intact sans the last line… at the apartment he says “I lay my vengeance upon thee” and at the diner he says “I lay my vengeance upon you.” Nominal difference… or is it?
At the diner, Jules is reflecting on has transpired over the last few hours… as he reflects, he analyzes his Bible quote.
“I been saying that shit for years. And if you heard it, that meant your ass. I never gave much thought to what it meant. I just thought it was some cold-blooded shit to say to a motherfucker before I popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some shit this morning made me t
hink twice. See, now I'm thinking, maybe it means you're the evil man, and I'm the righteous man, and Mr. 9 millimeter here, he's the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could mean you're the righteous man and I'm the shepherd and it's the world that's evil and selfish. I'd like that. But that shit ain't the truth. The truth is, you're the weak, and I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm trying, Ringo. I'm trying real hard to be the shepherd.”
No doubt that Jules is navigating a transformation. Much like our beloved HR profession/industry. Who are we, what do we represent and/or why are questions we must ask of ourselves. No need to be overly philosophical but let’s not be afraid of the tough questions either.
Do me a favor… please read the quote above again… pay particular attention to what is being said and not being said. Where’s HR in that story? Where are you in that story?
Here’s my take but I’d love to get yours via the comment section below…
- Righteous man = HR
- The inequities of the selfish = the status quo
- The tyranny of evil men = our dependence on best practices
- The valley of darkness = shitty working environment s (bad bosses, terrible benefits, crappy compensation, etc.)
- Brother’s keeper = all stakeholders
- Lost children = back handed reference to the management team
Pretty please, with sugar on top… comment below… I’m really curious to see what you come up with.
Btw, don’t try to look the quote up via any traditional Bible… like most things in Hollywood, it is made up.
William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He’s been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.