Sunday, May 10, 2009

The threat of accountability

We’ve all been on both sides of this: the offender and the offended.  You’re at work; someone comes in or calls and asks you to do something.  Before they leave/hang up, they throw out a seemingly harmless question: “And your name please?”  Depending on your means of conversation there is only one correct way to respond.  If on the phone, hang up.  If you are talking in person, punch them in the face.  

It is always stated as a casual closing comment, one that precedes “Goodbye” or “Have a nice day.”   However it is anything but casual and far from indifferent.  When that question is asked, you are being called out.  Even if you’ve only know the person you are talking to for a few seconds your character is impugned and the, assume-you’re-dealing-with-a-douchebag-until-proven-otherwise mentality is put in full effect.  

Nobody likes being called out, by definition it is confrontational, let alone how good does it make you feel to be called out before you supposedly don’t so something?  I understand getting someone’s name in a business situation is very helpful when it comes to following up and staying in contact, but what I am referencing is a different matter entirely

What are people really saying when they ask you name in this context?  They are saying, "If you don't follow through, I'm on your ass.'  Surely there are exceptions but by and large this is the rule.   

How did we get to point where this is not only acceptable but expected practice?  Do we really have that many apathetic degenerates in the work force?  Because if it is these same apathetic degenerates getting laid off all the time, I’m not sure I mind.  I don’t know what I find more offensive: when someone I’ve never met expects me to slack in my efforts due to a precedent I didn’t set nor uphold or that it may be necessary to do so in todays work environment.

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