07 02 2017
Manners and Respect.
There is an old saying that goes …
“Treat people the way you would like to be treated.” I can’t remember who said it and it is not really that important to the point I am trying to make. (‘Google it’ my audience members cry and maybe I will …)
Back on topic here, I have just had a run in with our local council – more specifically, their Sub-Contractors. Some idiot in an orange safety vest digging up my driveway without so much as a ‘Good Day, Sir. We are here to …’
I’ll keep names out of this, but after I had calmed down, and analyzed the situation, and had some rational thought to think about it all, it got me thinking on the general disrespect that man/ mankind/ people – whatever you want to call us – in general, actually have nowadays for our fellow persons.
I always try and be upbeat and positive in these blog entries of mine (Says me with a grand total of only 3 blog entries to my name, counting this one), but sometimes it is awfully hard to be ‘British’ and put a grin on one’s chin. Sometimes, you need to vent.
And this has been going on for a while.
The specifics of the above … well I do not know when, if ever it will be resolved, and I will probably be liable to replace the pavers as the council can never be relied upon to spend money on the correct things … but from the way I was brought up, and the number of service type technician jobs I have had over the years, I would have been FIRED on the spot if I had spoken to a customer the way I was spoken to!
The fact that the guy simply did not seem care still infuriates me … and after living so long in South Africa, I don’t know why I am surprised. I mean to simply pitch up at someone’s house – not announcing yourself or your intentions – and then lift pavers to dig up the driveway, creating a situation where the customer could not leave or enter their property – and then not apologize for it!!! I am sure some of my readers out there have employed people or been employed in similar situations … can anyone of you imagine the consequences should you or your employees behave like that?
And as I think on, this touches on the crux of this post.
People, in general, think one of two things …
Let us try and address these two things individually and hopefully point out to some what should be blatantly obvious to others.
There are no consequences to behaving like a dick to other people.
You know what, this may be true. The more I see of the world (Especially when taken in context with what I was taught as a child) the more I am disappointed with it.
Rocky Balboa had it 100% right in Rocky 6 when he told his eldest son
“The world is a mean, nasty, vicious and evil place! And it will beat you to your knees and keep you there if you let it!”
And that is, unfortunately … that is what I see too much of. People who have given up.
Wives, and girlfriends who are so scared to stand up for themselves (Husbands and boyfriends, too) so scared of being alone or being without, that they stay in these loveless and draining marriages or relationships until it actually kills them inside because their partner is a dick.
I see employees, pissed at work, HATING the jobs they are doing – doing the work of 2 or 3 people because their boss knows they will do it! Because the boss (he or she) has been a dick to them before and they have backed down and let them.
Which is what leads me to the crux of this point … the dick partners. The dick bosses.
When I was a kid, I was taught do good and good will be reflected to you. I was also taught the inverse of be ‘bad’ and people will not like or respect you and you will not succeed in life.
Yet as an adult, you see these relationship partners, bosses, even friends not doing good to you and to others…AND NOTHING BAD SEEMS TO HAPPEN TO THEM!
Is that some messed up shit or what? And then life lands a body blow: you try and emulate them and behave like them…now you’re an asshole?! Has anyone ever tried to make sense of all that?
I’m not advocating all life should be fair. And I know there are some good people out there … All I am saying is this … ‘Be one of them!’
When I was with the Cub Scouts, part of the cub law ended with ‘Do one good turn to someone every day.’
I would like to see a society return to that … do something good and honest and pure for a stranger every day. Expect nothing in return, except maybe a smile or a laugh.
You would be surprised how good it makes YOU feel inside.
It does not even have to be something big … it could be just a smile and telling a joke to someone who looks down in the checkout line.
One of the nicest things that ever happened to me went like this …
I was at my local coffee shop in line with my takeaway coffee. I helped a woman in front of me by holding her bags whilst she hunted for her purse.
Before I even knew what she had done, she had paid not only for her coffee but for mine and rewarded me with a big smile and a thank you. We had a laugh over a joke or two on the way back to the car.
There was nothing flirty or even sexual about it … it was not that kind of interaction.
What it did was put a smile on my face and made what was set to be another dull day of slog and grind into a happier morning. For that day at least … my faith in humanity was restored. That is how I know there are still some good people out there …
Think about it …
They actually think that behaving like a dick and pissing people off is a way to live and actually get things done.
Now … this is a tricky one. I say this because I, myself have had to resort to this many a time to get stuff done.
When I was in charge of the renovations here … turning it into a guesthouse. Some of the finishing suppliers were happy enough to scurry off and swipe your card in the machine … but when it came to actually getting your stock delivered … well, you can imagine.
Now my behavior was far from stellar but at the end of the day … I got the stock – kitchen cupboards it was – delivered on time and they did not slow down the job.
Now, believe it or not, I actually get this one. And I am sure everyone in every country has at one time had to resort to this tactic to get someone, some company to actually do their required and respective jobs?
Does it make it right? No! And here is why …
There is social intercourse phenomenon called ‘mirroring’. Basically, it goes back to what I said earlier. So in short, if you treat people like that, they will treat you exactly the same way.
More importantly, however, it takes away from you – the inner good guy or girl that you are – it makes you less than you should be. There was a philosopher that said something along the lines of, ‘every time we lose our temper, we lose the battle …’
Whatever the quote was, it is something we should try and live up to.
In the business sense, the one I blame for this is Apple guru – Steve Jobs. He is the one who used to piss people off at the workplace … pit department against department, work the workers up into almost a fanatical frenzy (Sometimes to the point that blows were exchanged) because he believed that a stressed and worried employee is more productive! Whilst it may be true, it is no way to live … and it is not right!
And that is why he was ejected bodily from the driver’s seat of his own company in the 80’s.
My personal experience with this was actually quite bad. A guy who had been my boss for years. I won’t name anyone here. At the time I was working and running an IT department for a small Short Term Insurance UMA.
This boss of mine – we had worked so well together for years. Then 2 things happened. One, he was made a shareholding director. And two, he went on some stupid business course offered at one of the local colleges.
What he actually learned (or even the title of the course, I could not tell you), but suffice it to say, he turned overnight from someone I used to class not only as a colleague, but a buddy (The guy came to my birthday parties) to a real dick of an ego-maniac.
Apparently, in this course, he had learned the IT people, and IT departments in general only really worked 30% of the time.
What he failed to mention – or indeed knowing him – bothered to read into further was that it is ‘30% of the time during a working day’ – 8am to 4pm or 9am to 5pm. This material never mentioned all the after-hours work – the maintenance and upgrades – that were required and urgently needed that was carried out after hours when the servers and other stuff could be access without interrupting workflow.
It never mentioned the entire Saturdays and sometimes most of Sundays overseeing the rollout of new machines and servers.
Bottom line, is overnight, drunk with either power or knowledge, (or both I am not sure) this guy whom I respected and even admired to some degree, turned into a ‘jumped up little Hitler’ in his behavior towards me, and pretty much everyone else.
The sad part about it was…for whatever reason, his being a dick – his newfound dicky attitude seemed to work, as the company went from strength to strength whilst I was treated so abominably, I used to contemplate slitting my wrists in the shower each morning.
If he wanted me to do more, all he had to do was ask, and ask nicely and with manners.
Anyway, the point I am trying to make here is this …
Because he was now rich, and powerful, did it make his behavior right? If an outsider looked at it, they would have to say ‘Yes’ because no one seemed to call him on it!
Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and slap my past tense self and say – stand up to him…he needs to be told.
Let me dispel this myth, and the title of this section now.
It is not ok, EVER, to treat people with less dignity and respect than they deserve and are defined by human rights.
Harry Potter author JK Rowling had the right idea in her series of books.
“To get the measure of a man, see how he treats those lesser than him. Not his equals or his betters.”
Something to think about there …
Till next week … I am out.