Okay, so this may become a recurring theme in my blog posts – but how the world is changing with regards to how we get information and the advent of Social Media should not change the fundamental requirements of how to be a decent human being. I think it is really important that standards do not slip.
What I believe is basic stuff, like showing respect for others, being polite, behaving professionally, having good manners and knowing how to use cutlery, are the minimum standards of decency.
One example of a contravention of several of these elementary tenants occurred a month ago, where the VP of a large US PR firm called a popular blogger who “actively” rejected a pitch, a “f__king b__ch” in an internal e-mail he mistakenly sent to “reply all”.
This is just so… unacceptable that I don’t know where to begin.
What kind of organization accepts the use of expletives in internal e-mail? One with a lack of professionalism, not to mention a serious deficiency in respect and good manners. Are employees permitted to talk to each other this way? What kind of environment would that be to work in?
I don’t care who “started it”. That is thinking for immature people who have not been hired (i.e. paid a fair wage) to represent a company and by definition, that company’s clients. Not everyone finds the same thing funny (see my July 18th blog post https://mononewsblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/do-you-find-that-funny/ on that topic), and while the blogger’s response might have been meant as “tongue-in-cheek” it also could be considered quite rude, yes. But if you’re in PR or any kind of client services position, you need to learn how to deal with rejection, and that’s to suck it up! Either chalk it up to experience and move on, or, take it as a challenge and figure out what it will take to turn this person into a fan. I guess quitting is a third option, but I don’t think there’s a job out there where you are never in a situation where you don’t have someone who is your client.
People get angry. People say things they don’t mean. But fundamental respect dictates that everyone is entitled to an opinion, to express that option and have it seriously considered. This is an indispensable requirement for proper human interaction. Hearing someone out is just good manners.
In a professional setting, this means biting your tongue, carefully considering your words, putting the e-mail away for an hour (or a day) until you’ve cooled off, and, oh yeah, using spell-check before you hit send (actually there is a setting that automatically checks your message for spelling before you are allowed to send it.)
And knowing how to use cutlery. Table manners are a particular pet peeve of mine and I heard the morning show hosts discussing it on the radio today. If you have to eat in public, please find out how to properly hold and use a fork and knife – yes it does take two hands to eat. And yes, this means you can’t game, text, tweet, search or use a remote at the same time you are eating. Oh my, what to do? One suggestion? How ’bout participating in some social interaction?