What Were You Thinking?
We’ve learned to take the elevator between 10:56 and 11:06 to get to the cafeteria these days since the lines for both take forever until after 1:00. (Productivity is not everyone’s priority here, but that’s the South for ya too.)
We were standing in the elevator lobby to go down to lunch today, several of us, and one co-worker in her 30s remarked to our co-worker in her 50s that she forgot to check the menu online to find out what was being served today.
50ish Woman: “I think it’s Oriental.”
30ish Woman: “What? Oh.”
Me (bewildered): “Does it really say ‘Oriental’??”
50ish Woman: “Yeah!”
The 30ish woman and I looked at each other wide-eyed. The 50ish woman looked quizzically at me, as I remarked that I was surprised the in-house caterer would use a word that’s long been considered a non-PC, offensive word.
She had no idea, and said something quietly about not knowing anything about that stuff.
We arrived downstairs to discover the menu actually says, “Peking-style.” Good choice, chefs.
This unsophisticated lady, the 50ish woman, is the same woman who saw me in the restroom a month (or more) into my temp/contract role at my job here and remarked, “Oh! So, I haven’t been around much. Aren’t you the new secretary?”
“Yes…err…Admin Assistant,” I mumbled and walked out without making eye contact nor smiling.
C-Suite right-hand, yes. Business manager, yes. Executive resource, yes. Program services manager, yes. Complex comms/logistical and tactical technician/coordinator, YES!!
The fuck?? Who even hires a “secretary” anymore? It’s like not even a job title in the market anymore. No lady, you REALLY haven’t been around much.
God forbade I had APAC heritage, otherwise, today I would have had to punch old fuddy-duddy 50ish lady “in the nose,” as my dad says.
Why don’t people know this stuff? Because they don’t care, because they don’t have to care. One day? You know, they will wish they had. One day when the “Orientals” and “Secretaries” are in charge of their healthcare, their golden years standard of living, their retirement resources, their end-of-life care, they’ll wish they’d been respectful. One day they’ll piss off the wrong one, and it’ll mean something more than an angry blog post.
There can be very serious social and financial consequences for not being thoughtfully socially concordant. Just because you’re in your 50s doesn’t mean you behave like it still IS the 1950s. (Besides, if you’re in your 50s today, you don’t even REMEMBER the 1950s.) Get with it! The ramifications of being out of touch these days can mean your very job and social standing.
Times change. You have to keep up, people. Archie Bunker is dead. You have absolutely no justifiable excuse. You simply have to be aware and in touch.
What were you thinking? You weren’t. You didn’t. You haven’t. Do it. Try it sometime. I promise, it’ll hurt (all of us) less.