Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sharing is NOT Always Caring

Let me start this post off by clarifying that I am not a saint. I have been known to curse like a sailor when having general conversations with people - even at work - without thinking twice. I will drop the F bomb around folks without batting an eyelash - and sometimes I will apologize for the same - if I'm speaking with someone I'm not extremely familiar with. However, I will never direct my foul language at someone, using it to call someone an inappropriate name, nor will I talk about someone using foul language unless I'm in a closed office or conference room with a very select few individuals, who I know believe that the language I'm using is appropriate, and who I also know wouldn't be offended by my use of such language. Let me demonstrate:

The following is appropriate for a general office conversation in my book - which I know is going to be vastly different from other people's books. Especially my Mom's book - just in case she reads this, I will clarify - I would never use any of these sentences in front of my Mom - not because I'm ashamed of my foul mouth, but because I like the back of my head sufficiently unbruised, thank you very much.

Ahem - back to the point.

Co-worker: Today they're giving out free ice cream in the cafeteria
Me: Why the hell are we sitting around here then? Let's get our asses to that cafeteria, stat!

Also Appropriate
Co-worker: The board officially denied your request to allow staff to wear flip flops on Fridays in the summertime.
Me: Those bastards have no idea how much morale would improve with the simple allowance of flip flop Fridays. I say we stage a sit-in before the next board meeting to show those assholes how serious flip flop Friday is to 'the people.'

*For the record - in this situation, I am in no way a peer of any board member, nor could I even tell you their names without doing an internet search first - in other words, the board and it's members - to both me and my co-worker - are a rule-making entity for our company, but we have no personal knowledge of them or their priorities related to work or otherwise*

Co-worker: You know, that layout of parking spots that your boss gave to you was wrong. She told you you were going to be able to park right in front of the building, but really, as you can see by this diagram, you're actually going to have to park around the side, and you're going to have to walk almost 100 feet to get to the front door of the office.
Me: That bitch lied to me. She told me that my title entitled me to a front door parking spot - and she didn't have the balls to tell me the real deal. I'm done with that bitch and her shitty work and her fucking attitude. Her head is so far up her ass I don't think I can work for her anymore. Fuck her.


A similar version of the inappropriate conversation shown above literally happened today while I was at work. It was a discussion between two of my co-workers who were literally sitting in open air cubicles (like we do everyday, nobody around me has offices) and the one guy went off on a litany of cursing, literally damning his boss for some information that was misrepresented either by his boss (who happens to be a woman) or his co-worker who relayed a different message from what his boss stated previously. And, I get it, you think you're getting a new cushy work situation, and in a matter of two minutes, you believe your co-worker's version and your cushiness is now obsolete. It's frustrating. And, yes, if I were in the same situation, I'd probably want to blow off steam and curse everyone and their mother out for the great injustice being done to me. BUT - before I went off calling my female boss a bitch loud enough for the 5 people around me (including two summer interns) to hear, I would take it outside, go to a conference room, or the bathroom THEN have this conversation where I'm calling my boss every name in the book and swearing up and down not do any work for her.

I was, unfortunately, sitting at my desk when all this went down, and I was able to ignore the start of it, but at some point, after he had called his boss a bitch for the 12th time, I decided I had to stand up and ask him to stop - that his language was getting just a little bit offensive. And, when I did, I just popped my head into his cube, said excuse me, and just said, "hey guys, the language in here is getting a little offensive, maybe you could go into a conference room or something." What I got in response was a hand in my face and a "don't worry about it, we won't be here for long." No apology. No realization that what was stated was inappropriate. Just a look that, to me, seemed to say "get the hell out of my cube and leave me alone."

Later, I had to apologize to the interns for this guy's outburst, and let them know that the actions of someone else were totally inappropriate - and that, if something like that happens when I'm not around, they should call me immediately, and I will stop it. Because, like I said, it's one thing to curse out loud when you're emphasizing a point i.e. "What do you mean you still don't have the fucking air conditioning turned on? It's 900 degrees outside - get that shit on!" is totally appropriate. Ending that conversation with "you asshole." or "you moron" or even "you dumbie" is totally inappropriate. You've crossed the line where you are now directly calling someone an inappropriate name, and that, to me, is harassment. Because it's personal. I don't care how dumb, stupid, neurotic, ditzy, clumsy, or lazy the person you're talking to ACTUALLY is - there is NEVER any reason, especially in the workplace, where it is appropriate to call someone a foul name.

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