Just this Monday, my millennial daughter showed up to her office– her first full-time job - at the regular time, only to find the lights off and the front door locked. She texted a co-worker, who said, “Oh, it’s a four-day weekend for July 4th. We don’t work today.” My daughter texted back, “How was I supposed to know about this? I only started a few months ago.” The co-worker responded, “It was in the online calendar.” To which my daughter replied, “What online calendar?” The co-worker texted back, “Yea, I didn’t get access to it for 6 months. Your boss should have told you.” My daughter called me later that morning in tears and told me the story. She felt disrespected and left out, saying, “Mom, I’m trying to think if I missed a clue on Thursday last week, but I’ve replayed the whole day and nobody mentioned that we were off on Monday.” This incident played out against a backdrop of a boss who ignores her, rarely keeps his promises to her and doesn’t respond to her emails.
This, my friends, is workplace incivility: rude behavior that demeans and disrespects workers. I counseled her to start looking for another job.
Perhaps the reason this incident angered me was because I recently read a New York Times article entitled “No Time to Be Nice at Work” by incivility expert Christine Porath. Sadly, many people can relate to this subject: over 95% of surveyed employees report having been subjected personally to a rude co-worker or a disrespectful boss. Incivility at work wreaks havoc with employee’s health and well-being and costs employers in the US over $300 billion a year (according to Porath & Pearson), mostly in reduced productivity and increased attrition.
From the desk of