Respect Your Elders
A good friend – a middle aged man – recently took a job at a local Starbucks to bring in some extra cash. He’s twice the age of everyone else who works there, which doesn’t seem to bother him or them at all. But, when a young colleague – someone most would consider a “millennial” – tried to coach him on using the point of sale system, she got frustrated with his slowness and commanded him to “just move.”
Now, my friend is a pretty mellow guy and doesn’t take offense easily. But, he’s also a world traveler, a highly experienced professional actor and producer in the theater business, and a cancer survivor. And like most of us who’ve been around the block of life a few times, he expects to be treated respectfully by his colleagues, regardless of how inexperienced he is with a particular job.
So, I think we all would’ve understood if he’d gotten upset and blasted this young woman right there in front of the customers. But instead he took her aside, looked her in the eye and quietly said “I’m sure you didn’t mean to treat me disrespectfully, but you cannot and will not speak to me in that manner ever again.” He said she immediately and sincerely apologized, and now it’s as if they’ve been best friends for life.
So, the lesson here is…when someone disrespects you, although it might be tempting to disrespect them right back, the best approach is to calmly and respectfully insist to be treated with respect. Most of our colleagues – even millennial – will respond appropriately.