Dear 90’s Baby #14
Dear 90’s Baby,
What do you think about first-name policies?
Many companies operate a first-name policy so every staff goes by their first name. It’s very helpful for open communication and free flow of ideas. It also prevents office-bullying, which is good news because age does not entitle you to put another person down. The only problem is we’ve carried first-name policy and turned it into a forget-yourself policy.
Calling someone by name does not make them your mate. Age may be just a number, but experience is not. With age, comes experience and the only way to tap into the wisdom of experience is to acknowledge it.
So, don’t forget yourself:
Calling your 45 year old colleague by name, does not entitle you to call every other 45 year old by name. Sitting at the same desk with a 40-year old does not mean you can refer to other 40-year olds as ‘Dear’.
And no, I’m not deluded to think that respect is about age. It is not. The combination of experience and capacity is an important consideration. It doesn’t matter if my Pastor is 2 years older than me, in capacity, he is far ahead and I must respect that. Your CEO maybe your fiance’s age mate, but as far as capacity is concerned, you should respect him.
I’m also not deluded to think that respect is about what you do. You can kneel to greet someone you have no iota of respect for and you can bow to hail someone while doing yimu in your mind. It happens all the time. All I’m saying is that you should consider honor very critically in this journey of life because friend, the journey is still far.
I have a few suggestions to help you not forget yourself.
– Even if you call first name, make effort to show honor by speaking politely
– Switch things up by saying ‘sir’ or ‘ma’ sometimes
– Outside office hours, use a prefix like Mr. or Ms.
– Ask questions respectfully in an attitude that clearly shows you acknowledge that you are not as experienced as them
– Please note that someone who is more than 8 years older than you is jot your ‘Dear’ except it is a family member or close friend.
– Treat people in public as you’ll like to be treated.
– Realize that your parents’ money does not make you more important than you really are.
– Always consider your cultural context. If you’re African, you already know that respect is important. Your Mother-in-law may be chatty and yuppy, but girrrl, she’s still Mummy. Your boss may be downright annoying, but it is not your job to inform him because his ego is on the line, and perhaps your job too.
I have personally found that people are more likely to help you/give you favours when you are humble enough to show some respect. It’s not weakness, it’s admirable. If you’re ever in doubt, remember that *nobody hates respect*.
What do you think? Please help me add to this list of how we can show honor in spite of first-name policy
Your favourite 90’s Baby,
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