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A little rudeness? April 18, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

This is telling, a piece from the FT, about workplace abuse which attempts to partly minimise this as ‘bluntness’. The author counterposes the following:

Consider the public humiliation heaped on the boss of a British tech firm the other week after he interviewed a young woman for a job. She took to Twitter to say he had torn her apart in a “brutal” exchange that had left her in tears and made her feel as if she was in a room with an “abusive ex”.

With this:

…a company does not exist purely to please its employees. It will always have wider aims and it is pointless to ignore them. I have always been in favour of the “don’t ask, don’t get” approach. But there is a corollary: do not be surprised if it does not produce instant success.
Second, Wintour was making it clear that ambition does not necessarily equal ability. No matter how frustrated thrusting young workers may feel, there are likely to be times when they will be overlooked for jobs requiring a depth of experience and maturity they lack. It is best to learn early how to deal with this.


Our tendency to confuse blunt words with unacceptable behaviour has had another sad consequence beyond the office. It robs public life of some of its most delightful moments.

But in no workplace is it acceptable to reduce someone to tears. Having interviewed people both in work and academic contexts myself it should be easy to read the room, so to speak, and engage usefully but without excessive bluntness. There’s not great mystery to it. Indeed I’m hard pressed to see how one would reduce a person to tears in any reasonable exchange or why it would be appropriate. It is possible that some people may be uniquely sensitive, but that raises another thought. There should be at least one other person in the room in such a context as part of a panel and a record of what was said should be taken. This isn’t rocket science.

I’ve had tough interviews myself – generally when I was chancing my arm. I’ve also blanked. But I’ve never come out feeling that I was being unduly pressurised and nor should I. Reading that piece though I begin to count myself lucky.


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