Archive for the ‘Behavior’ Category

Service of Entitlement

Monday, February 20th, 2023

Have you noticed that the world seems to revolve around some, at least they think so. They are right even if wrong. I’ve observed such behavior by mothers especially of young children. They are exempt from rules or empathy.

Here’s what inspired me to write about this dynamic, one that I’ve noticed over many years: I saw a mother settle her three-year-old in the seat behind the bus driver on a local Third Avenue Manhattan bus last week. She parked her stroller in the aisle near the door [Photo above]. There was little room for oncoming passengers to slip by. I was amazed at her audacity when she did nothing to move it as the bus moved to the next stop. There was plenty of time to find my phone and snap the photo well before the fireworks.

When he realized she was obstructing the entrance, the driver told her she couldn’t stay where she was with the stroller and an argument ensued. Another passenger—her back is to the camera; you see a part of her plaid wool jacket in the photo —took her side, saying the driver was terrible and “you work for us!” [Actually, he works for the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA).] The driver said: “It’s not my rule, it’s the MTA’s.” Verbal attacks continued. The supporting passenger took a photo of the bus’s number–5927–as she exited.

The mother claimed that he was a bad driver as an excuse for staying up front. Hard for her to know this as he hadn’t yet moved an inch when she’d helped her child into the front seat and staked her position.

For one thing, this couldn’t have been the woman’s first time on a bus with a 36-month-old toddler. She had to know the layout.

Finally, she folded the stroller [photo right]. But she didn’t need to. None of this was necessary!

The bus has an area–the circular section with metal floor–designed for such gear. [See the photo, left.] I park my rolling shopping bag filled with groceries there and others their suitcases and large parcels. Women who entered the bus with strollers after the entitled mother got off headed to that spot. [See the photo below.]

I waited for the mother and the supporter-passenger to exit and told the driver how I interpreted the scene and explained that I didn’t enter the fray on his side for fear of starting WWIII. He agreed and said I was right to stay out of it and when I mentioned that I’d taken photos—and planned to write about the instance on my blog—he gave me his name: Jonathan Green. He was grateful for my support and thanked me many times. It happened on Thursday, February 16 around 8:45 am.

I’ve felt picked on in meetings and nobody took my side during or after. That’s why I spoke with the driver so he could forget about the incident and not let the unfairness of the verbal attack gnaw on his spirit the rest of the trip.

Adding flame to the fire with strangers in these incendiary times would have been risky for me. However, I’m sent a monthly survey by the MTA and in response to February’s I wrote about what happened last Thursday. While I doubt the MTA would connect the dots between my writeup and the woman in the plaid jacket who may have lodged a complaint about Mr. Green, you never know. Maybe we’ll balance each other out.

Do you think that there are categories of people—such as mothers or children’s caretakers—who should be given a pass to do as they please when out in public without regard for others’ safety or convenience? What about those who care for disabled people? The elderly?

Service of Changing Taste: Is it the Pandemic?

Thursday, April 16th, 2020

I have always loved to shop or at least to look, but that has changed.

One new piece of clothing for summer and winter–a new blouse, sweater, pair of slacks, handbag or skirt–would make my season and me happy. I’m very good at finding bargains. A favorite pair of slacks cost $19 at TJ Maxx a year ago. Uniqlo has fun items to spruce up a mood for little more. And an online store, stylewe.com, was once a joy to peruse. It sends frequent emails all unopened.

These days I’m not tempted to look even if a store I like promotes drastic discounts. How could a lifelong passion disappear? Is it because I don’t foresee an occasion in which to wear something new, my savings have evaporated, I don’t want to face sanitizing another package–or what? A friend wrote: “When I open a package or letter I feel like I’m preparing for surgery.”

Have you noticed a similar drastic change in behavior?

Service of What’s The Back-Story? I’ll Almost Never Know

Monday, January 6th, 2020

I love to make up back-stories. I do it when I overhear conversations, embroider about something I notice or that happens.

I received a package addressed to my apartment that wasn’t for me. The doorman looked up the name and said the man had moved out in 2016. He added, “The return address has the same last name as the one on the package. I wonder what that’s about?” It dawned on me that the sender may be the recipient’s ex wife. Perhaps she came across a bunch of his things and sent them to an apartment they’d once shared. She didn’t know he’d moved. I’ll never know the truth.

There was the remarkably silent couple in their 60s or 70s at a stunning restaurant with toothsome food in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Why didn’t they speak even to discuss the menu or react to what they’d just tasted? Did they have a fight? Did they never speak in public? Were they struggling with some bad news? Did one of them have a sore throat? I’ll never know the truth.

The couple in the pub in Georgetown was out of the 1960s. She wore a flip teased to death held in place with a can of hairspray. He barked orders to the wait staff. Because of where we were and what they looked and sounded like I guessed he was a military officer who had retired in the DC area. When the couple left the restaurant I asked our waiter to confirm my speculation. “He owns the pub!” he said, which explained how he got away with the nasty tone he used with the staff.

I see men schlumped in chairs at almost every retail store I visit. They’re either looking into space, sleeping or curved over their phones. Why don’t they tell their significant others that they don’t want to be there? It’s so easy to drop the spouse off and go for a cup of coffee or to a store that would interest them or even to stay home. I’ll never know the truth.

Do you like to imagine what the back-stories are?

Service of At Your Age

Thursday, July 25th, 2019

You hear the expression, “at your age,” at both ends of your life. When you were young, did a parent, teacher or babysitter ever say, “You should know better at your age!”

At the other end of the spectrum, “Three of the most dreaded words in the English language for those over 65 are ‘at your age,’ ” wrote Helen Rabinovitz, a recent follower of this blog. This post was her idea.

“My most recent encounter was at urgent care,” she wrote. “I’d been coughing for weeks and finally went to see a doctor. She stood in front of me—she was about 35–arms crossed and said…. ‘you realize, Helen, that AT YOUR AGE bronchitis can be dangerous.’”

She went on: “Of course I’ve also heard… ‘isn’t that too spicy to eat at your age?’ or ‘Shouldn’t you dress more conservatively at your age?’”

She added: “This makes me wonder…how old is ‘at your age?’ At what point do all of us poor, old and decrepit folks know that we’re actually ‘at your age’ old? Have you ever been frustrated when someone, who hasn’t had your life experience, says that to you? I’d like to respond, ‘at your age’ you should have better manners!!!”

Did people say those words to you when you were little? Do they in your middle years?  Do they irritate you too? We are expected to be inclusive in every other part of our lives. Will the sexagenarian and septuagenarian candidates for president and other high office help us overcome the age hurdle?

 

Service of Employee Behavior: It Reflects on a Company’s or Organization’s Image

Monday, December 17th, 2018

Most organizations diligently protect their images but it’s not always clear to members or employees how important each person can be.

I was first aware of this as a young child. We wore school uniforms. Students were asked to behave  in public to reflect well on the school. “You represent us out there.” Made sense to me. [Many of us graduated from the school bus and took NYC public transportation as early as 5th grade.]

What about corporations? Just last week a friend told me that she’d had a few good job interviews via Skype with various people at a company and never received a response when she followed up with one of the staffers to see if she was still in the running. Such thoughtlessness on the part of a company’s employees reflects poorly on it.

How difficult is it for someone to draft a simple note–approved by the appropriate entities–to send any candidate the  moment they are no longer being considered for a position? It took less than one minute to write this rough draft: “Hello________. Our job search took a different direction since we spoke. We enjoyed meeting you, thank you for your time, and have kept your resume on file. We look forward to being in touch again should the right position open up. We wish you all the best.” It’s important to keep up the spirits of anyone looking for a job and to make every candidate feel good about themselves. It costs little to do and reflects well on a company if its employees show empathy.

In my line of work following up is my middle name.  I don’t expect to hear from people I pursue in my PR and fundraising efforts unless they are interested in my client’s product or event or in participating in a fundraising project. If the answer is “NO,” I am grateful to be told and think well of the person [and by extension, their company] for taking the time because they have been mindful of mine.

Are there other subtle ways that employees and students can boost—or detract—from the image of the company or organization they work for or attend? Is caring about such details passé?

Service of the Revival of Decorum–It’s Got My Vote

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

The country has been through previous periods in which decorum went by the wayside for both irrational and worthy reasons—and it always recovered. Among obvious examples are Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy’s communist hunts combined with his vicious interviews seven decades ago and during the 1960s, citizens found a range of ways to protest, some unruly and alarming. [I didn’t mention wars and murders as the word decorum doesn’t apply.]

Today many accept—even endorse–disruptive behavior by people at the highest levels, such as the president and the applicant for a spot on the highest court in the land. Plenty of citizens and Senators dismissed, excused and supported the frenzied conduct of the prospective judge last week in a performance that lacked judgment and dignity. Did they notice or is this standard behavior.

There was no excuse for it–life isn’t fair. Deal with it especially if you want to be a judge.

Benjamin Wittes, Editor in chief of Lawfare and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution wrote in The Atlantic : “If I were a senator, I would not vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh.

“These are words I write with no pleasure, but with deep sadness.

“I would do it both because of Ford’s testimony and because of Kavanaugh’s. For reasons I will describe, I find her account more believable than his.

“I would also do it because whatever the truth of what happened in the summer of 1982, Thursday’s hearing left Kavanaugh nonviable as a justice.

“….. he delivered on Thursday, by way of defense, a howl of rage. He went on the attack not against Ford—for that we can be grateful—but against Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee and beyond. His opening statement was an unprecedentedly partisan outburst of emotion from a would-be justice……. His performance was wholly inconsistent with the conduct we should expect from a member of the judiciary.”

“Kavanaugh blew across lines that I believe a justice still needs to hold.”

There seem to be as many voices accepting disorderly, inappropriate behavior as those who disapprove. Does this mean it’s OK to act similarly at all levels of our society? Is there a green light for job applicants to be snarky during interviews or is this a benefit of being in office and becoming a Supreme Court Judge? Will ordinary candidates for jobs big and small be selected if:

  • they smash back responses that mimic the interviewer’s question?
  • they fly off the handle if asked about a sensitive subject?
  • they make up information that is easily disproved for fear of what the truth might imply?

I’m a control freak. Rowdy, disorderly conduct by our leaders frightens me. I squirm watching the yelling and screaming that routinely takes place in the British Parliament.

I have every hope that sane and respectful conduct and moderate solutions will once again prevail here. I suspect that a majority of citizens agree. We’ve seen what chaos and disrespect is like. In future we will pick a president, Congressmen and women and Supreme Court judges who conduct themselves with decorum–in public at least. Do you agree?

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