I was talking to a friend yesterday about our recent experiences leaving jobs, where there was someone who went out of their way to kick us in the back as we walked out the door. Maybe it has something to do with believing you can force people to respect you? As another friend said, it always surprises her when people don’t behave decently.
I’m in my mid-thirties and I’m still amazed that some people haven’t yet realised that being an adult involves treating other adults like adults, regardless of their job title.
In a lovely moment of synchronicity, Acting like a grown-up by Robert Butler arrived in my inbox. Butler writes that being green is about “behaving with a degree of courtesy” towards everyone else who is living on this planet:
For this reason, going green isn’t left-wing or right-wing. It isn’t a threat. It isn’t a conspiracy by scientists or a means of introducing socialism by the back door. It isn’t even anti anything much, except boorishness. (Though boorishness has many manifestations.) Its real enemy is not-thinking. If you poison the well, people can’t drink from it. If you overfish the ocean, you end up with no fish. If you burn coal, you warm the planet.
If you take more than your share and behave as if other people didn’t exist, you piss them off. One day they will strike back.
I think this is a beautiful way of thinking about the world. Linking it back to my office example, from my non-representative sample of colleagues at various jobs over the years, the ones who are least respectful of others are the ones with the overflowing bins. My theory is that if your development as an adult has been stunted, then your bin will be filled with paper and other recyclables and you will never ever unload the office dishwasher. It’s probably drawing a long bow, but that’s been my experience. What social theories have you developed from being in the workplace?