Sensitivity in the Workplace

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by bobber205, May 27, 2011.

  1. bobber205 macrumors 68020

    bobber205

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    Nov 15, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    #1
    Where I work is a very laid back place. :p

    Early this morning, we were talking about Memorial Day and our plans. I said I was planning on working and most people were surprised.

    So I said "Eh, who really cares about Memorial Day".

    My PLAN was to talk about how we don't ever really celebrate the "true" meaning of the holiday etc.

    But this older guy (who I am very good friends with) got SUPER pissed. Even said "I'm not talking to you today since you said that" or something along those lines.

    Did I cross a line here?
     
  2. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #2
    since you failed to get to your point then yes. He clearly understands the "true" meaning of it so he did take offence to it.

    But I do agree most people (myself included) see it as really a 3 day weekend.
     
  3. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #3
    Not with me.

    We glorify war far too much.

    The poor saps who sacrifice their lives, limbs and mental health fighting them are just pawns of leaders who don't care how many people they sacrifice in pursuit of their usually ill-advised aims.

    I wish people would remember that.
     
  4. barkomatic macrumors 68040

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    Aug 8, 2008
    Location:
    Manhattan
    #4
    I'm not Christian, but I wouldn't go into the office and announce, "Christmas is a stupid, pointless holiday" because for some of my co-workers it holds a lot of meaning. To insult that holiday would be an insult to them.

    Work isn't a good place to bring up your personal opinions about holidays, politics etc. Someone is bound to disagree and get upset -- if not overtly then secretly -- and you have to work with them.
     
  5. appleguy123 macrumors 603

    appleguy123

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    #5
    Christmas was just hijacked by Christians anyway. Just celebrate it for what it is, the hope that some of the warmest and brightest times with family can happen on the coldest and darkest days!
    Christmas is one of my favorite holidays.
     
  6. 184550 Guest

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    #6
    Yes, as RP stated, you failed to get your point across. It was, IMO, a rather careless and insensitive remark to make.

    Do you know if the older gentleman served in the US Military? I would imagine you insulted him greatly. If he did serve, it was in Korea or Vietnam, depending on his age. If it was indeed Vietnam, you may of well as just spit in his eye as well; those guys got **** on and pissed enough by ungrateful *******s in the 1960s and 1970s.

    For me, Memorial Day really is about remembering the sacrifice others have made on my behalf and on behalf of our country.
     
  7. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    Penryn
    #7
    While Memorial Day is mostly viewed as a day for remembering Veterans, it's also a day when people remember their ancestors who've passed on. Sort of an anglo-saxon "Day of the Dead". My parents always put flowers on their parents' graves on Memorial Day, even though none of them died near that date.

    Perhaps it's a generational issue but it is a day of remembrance and should be treated as such. There are many holidays we celebrate, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, X-Mas, New Years, etc. It shouldn't be too hard to devote one day of the year to remembering those who came before us.
     
  8. bobber205 thread starter macrumors 68020

    bobber205

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    Oregon
    #8
    I can tell you with 100% certainty that he has never served in the military or any branch of the military. I was literally a second or two from making my point, it was the next sentence, but I was interrupt. :p
     
  9. 184550 Guest

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    May 8, 2008
    #9
    I would imagine his father served in World War II then. With some that is still a touchy subject even though roughly 70 years have passed.
     
  10. appleguy123 macrumors 603

    appleguy123

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    #10
    This is what we do, too. We decorate all of the graves and celebrate all of our dead family.
     
  11. bobber205 thread starter macrumors 68020

    bobber205

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    Nov 15, 2005
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    Oregon
    #11
    This guy is quite conservative. Believes the Tea Party is a legitimate organization, hasn't heard of FreedomWorks etc. :(
     
  12. leekohler, May 28, 2011
    Last edited: May 28, 2011

    leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #12
    As shocking as this may come to many of you here, I'm just as obnoxious in real life as I am on this forum. ;)

    I work in advertising and giving your opinion is crucial. Think Mad Men- yes, we can still be that brutal. But the funny thing is, my very favorite person to work with is a very devout Christian guy who won't even use swear words-ever. I use the F word constantly, and it doesn't phase him. We have similar work ethics and believe it or not, moral values (other than the fact that I am a very promiscuous homosexual and he is married with kids), and I think that's what draws us together. It's the contrasts that seem to make our working relationship good. He's horrified that become close friends with guys after one night stands, and I'm horrified that he only has one sex partner, not to mention the fact that he's religious. And yes, we giggled constantly about the recent rapture thing- "Dude, why aren't you floating toward space? " :) And believe me, he gets his digs too. "How was the bath house this weekend? Did you escape without getting crabs?" :)

    But when we work together on a project, the results are awesome. And I trust him more than anyone in the company and vice versa.

    Point is- differences of opinion are extremely valuable if one can use them to work together. Our differences AND our similarities are what make us strong.

    So stop worrying about that stuff. Make yourself heard and let others be heard. But most importantly, don't forget to listen. If you do that one simple thing and take it to heart, no one will care what you say. Actually, if you listen to others and take their opinions to heart, you'll be able to say anything you want.
     
  13. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #13
    Memorial Day opinions are somewhat like sitting down to Christmas Dinner, someone says grace, and you are an Atheist/Agnostic.

    Just put your head down, as a sign of respect to the others at the table, and keep your mouth shut.

    Let's not spin this thread off to another "War is Hell" thread.

    If you want a good review of war, start at 3:30 in this clip, for William Bradford Huie/Paddy Chayefsky's viewpoint.
     
  14. ender land macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 26, 2010
    #14
    Considering one of my grandfathers was drafted and served in WWII and the other served for 20 years in the air force, I find comments like what you said relatively insensitive and ignorant too. Not to mention I have read a lot of history (especially of World War II) and realize so much of what I have now and the freedoms we enjoy are the result of people sacrificing their lives.

    Would I react that way to you? No, probably not. Would it make me annoyed or upset though? Yeah, it probably would. Because I know what the true meaning of Memorial Day is. I would not be here today if my grandfather had died (either) in service to the USA - and trust me, the Pacific ground war in WWII was not exactly a luxury hotel. I am fortunate and lucky to be here and Memorial Day somewhat reminds me of that and how others probably gave their lives so my grandfather live.

    There are also a lot more people out there who have been more personally impacted than I. Parents/relatives who have died or are currently serving, etc.

    So did you cross a line? Inadvertently, you probably did. You can do what leekohler does and not care in the slightest what other people think about your thoughts or you can try to be sensitive to things others might REALLY care about. Memorial Day is one where some people are really going to feel strongly.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOatpR4mf_o

    This scene brings me to tears nearly every time I watch it.
     
  15. codymac macrumors 6502

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    Jun 12, 2009
    #15
    It's about communication.

    Until you're able to better express your thoughts, consider not expressing them unless you're prepared for reactions like this.
     
  16. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #16
    Communication is often rife with misunderstanding and a need to clarify one's thoughts.

    The problem wasn't in bobber205's initial statement, it was in the other man's cutting off the discussion and any opportunity for resolution.

    But people do love to feel outraged. :rolleyes:
     
  17. codymac macrumors 6502

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    Jun 12, 2009
    #17
    Disagree. bobber205 could have made his point without leading with that. His initial statement was what put the guy off.

    That's on bobber205. It's a basic life/business skill.
     
  18. ender land macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    It's kinda like trolling IRL, lol.
     
  19. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #19
    If human beings left discussions off at the initial statement, we'd be in even worse shape than we are today.

    One of the great benefits of having a conversation is that it can narrow the gap opened by the initial statement and allow both parties to see that they are not as far apart as initially perceived.

    That opportunity was lost when the other man ended the discussion, not when bobber began it.
     
  20. ender land macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 26, 2010
    #20
    Assuming bobber thought about how he (she? idk, lets go with he) would talk about memorial day in the "we miss the true meaning" sense prior to making his "no one cares about memorial day" comment I disagree completely. I think it should be obvious to anyone living in the USA that some people do in fact find memorial day highly important and that some don't. If you told my grandfather "eh, no one really cares about memorial day" I bet he'd get fairly upset.

    If I wanted to talk about gay rights to someone, I should not bring it up by more or less saying "eh, who really cares about gay rights." Depending on the person it really could upset them. And yes I know, some of you here are going to say "but that wouldn't bother me and I'm gay!" People are different.

    Some people can react well to an intentionally antagonistic statement, some don't. Acting as if people who react as expected are at fault for what amounts to trolling IRL is silly.
     
  21. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    Mar 22, 2010
    #21
    And the proper response would be, "That really upsets me. Why do you feel that way?"

    Disagreement is not the time to end a conversation, especially when dealing with someone you have to be with every day. Disagreements need to be worked through and resolved or else they can poison the work environment.

    I will agree that bobber could have phrased his statement in a more engaging manner, one that would help drive a substantive discussion. But it was the other person's decision to end the talk and forego any opportunity to understand bobber's point or help shape it. As is usually the case in disagreements, both parties could have handled it better.
     
  22. ender land macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 26, 2010
    #22
    There is a lot missing from what actually happened to really draw out these sorts of conclusions.

    • What was the tone in what bobber said?
    • Did bobber apologize after realizing he greatly upset the person?
    • What was the guys background to get him upset?
    • Did the older guy say what he said because he was so upset with bobber he didn't feel comfortable talking to him without acting emotionally?

    etc.

    Either way, even if the older guy has fault, bobber still has some responsibility for saying something he knew would not convey his point clearly initially.


    As an aside, there has been a few (very few) times in my past someone made me angry enough to basically tell them that too - I more or less said "I'm really not in a mindset we can talk about this now." I normally do not get angry at all but certain things can in fact anger me, and I would much rather resolve disagreement when I am not having an immediate reaction to something and instead after I had a chance to think it over. We of course have no idea if the older guy said what he said for that reason or just because he's hyper-sensitive and overreacted to a small thing?
     
  23. Andeavor macrumors 6502

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    Aug 19, 2010
    #23
    Taking a special day to honor the dead is like waiting for Valentine's Day to do something romantic with your spouse.

    I have a friend who lost her daughter about seven years ago. Every weekend she visits her grave and brings a fresh bundle of flowers. She doesn't need a special one day to remember her.
     
  24. InsanelyApple macrumors 6502

    InsanelyApple

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    Oct 26, 2010
    #24
    I don't think so. It's just a day of school and work! :p

    I'm kind of blunt however. I will tell people what I think of them/something. Surprised, I haven't gotten in trouble, yet because of that.
     
  25. bobber205 thread starter macrumors 68020

    bobber205

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    Location:
    Oregon
    #25
    I think the abrupt cutting off that happened may have been less the content of my statement and a foul mood caused by something else.

    You never know though, I've said stupider stuff before without negative reactions.
     

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