Because you are one

Since it’s my husbands birthday today I’ll tell y’all one of his favorite work stories of mine.

When I was a young-know-it-all-staffing-manager I acted like it. If I knew I was right about something, I didn’t back down. If I knew someone on my team (errr corporate didn’t really feel like they were on my team though) was not going to be as nice as they could be to one of my customers I refused to let them talk to my customers. I prefer to handle it myself than have to clean up a mess after someone who knows nothing about, or even laid eyes on, my customer has been rude.

I had gotten in a situation where I did not want the person over AR talking to my customers anymore. I wanted her to tell me what she needed and I would go and chase it down. Any of my customers who talked to her complained about how rude and disrespectful she was, even if it turned out to be an error on our part and not the customers. I even remember the owner of the company saying she was “his bulldog.” I always shudder when I think about that because he said it like it was a good thing, some sort of twisted compliment.

On one of the visits from the owner he asked me why I didn’t like the person over AR. I didn’t answer him right away because I wasn’t prepared to give a business reason over a purely emotional opinion. I tried really hard to think about all the business reasons I could provide to why I didn’t want to talk to her, or let her talk to my customers but it really boiled down to the fact that she was a jerk. So I sent an email answer to the question (I had to send the email to the VP because the owner didn’t have an email address). In the email I answered his question and I flat-out typed that it’s because she’s an asshole. Plain as day, I used those words in black and white.

Now, I got a phone call and was asked why I would do that and specifically why I would do that in an email. Well, because I believed I was right. I knew for a fact that it was a correct label for her and that was that.

Here’s the kicker. The owner would use GD and other swear words on a regular basis when we would have meetings. Just pepper them allllll through the conversation. I had no reason to believe that I would get in trouble for using that word. I also thought it was perfectly fine to put it in an email because I stood by what I said.

What I can tell you I eventually realized is, you can’t always emulate the behavior you see. The owner and I were not judged by the same standards so we could not behave in the same way.

I think that’s pretty much true of the hierarchy right? You’re held to different standards depending on where you are in that. It could be as simple as how well you abide by the dress code to how you can get away with talking in meetings. I’m not saying its right, what I’m saying is be aware of it. When you can, you should step back from a situation and try to map out the possible consequences to your behavior and determine what you’re comfortable with. In that example, I would probably send the email again. I still believe it was an environment where the impression was it would be accepted and it’s not like I got in real trouble over it. BUT 33-year-old me is pretty much ashamed of that behavior because I know there are better alternatives to how I handled it.

professional fashion

Worst case, when in doubt call your mentor. Or just remember Justin Minyard’s advice that he gives me any time he thinks I’m leaving for work frustrated “Just don’t call anyone an asshole in an email today.”

 

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Instant expression

So I haven’t been loyal to the blog recently because I’m working on one of my issues… instant expression. I’m one of your typical gen y kids that loves instant gratification, instant recognition, instant feedback, etc. I have no time to waste so instant is ideal! I’m also very guilty of expressing my thoughts/feelings (good and bad) instantly. I’ve worked very hard towards delivering my disgust towards an idea in a more upbeat cheerful kind of way these days, but a girl can only be worn down so much before her instincts to be blatantly truthful take over. Turns out, staying away from the blog did nothing for keeping things in because there’s still email (and y’all know I can get myself in trouble over some emails). It’s easy for me to not a post a status after second thought or send a tweet, but that’s because hundreds of people would see it! When I evaluate if making a public status/tweet is a good idea, I usually take into consideration the ramifications of at least ten people who would see the post and then bam, just like that I know to delete what I was going to say. Email (and text) is a completely different story. An email between two people is understood to be a one on one conversation and private (but for some reason there are organizations out there reading their employees emails anyway) so it’s a lot easier to let loose some frustration in an email or text. thatsnicedearUnfortunately, that doesn’t mean its smarter than tweeting or blogging or anything else. It’s too easy for someone to forward your email, or screen shot, and pass it around to several people. It’s too easy for them to delete their part of the conversation and have your words taken out of context. It’s too easy to look like an a-hole! How can you avoid the terrible mistake that is venting out all of your frustrations in the wrong kind of way? Walk away from your electronics. When you’re mad, or disgusted, or angry, or fed up… walk way from your electronics. Maybe you go write what you wanted to say and then put it through the shredder. Maybe you call someone you trust, please make it someone you undoubtedly can trust and not a co-worker that you thought you could trust, but find out too late that you cannot. Maybe we seek guidance from someone who knows better than us millennial or another millennial  that has this figured out. If you’re one of those people who has this figured out, please do hit us up in the comments!