Who's Afraid of The Big Bad Wolf?
I've had trouble dealing with "authority" my entire life.
It's not that I think I know more or that they are out to get me. When I was a teenager I didn't have trouble with (SOME) teachers because I thought I knew it all. My reason is simple.
I'm not going to treat you any differently than the guy who collects my trash and let's face it - I treat him pretty well (xmas cards, cookies, and gift certificates).
In all the jobs I've held there has been some senior member in the office, whether it's the president of the company, a board member, the CEO etc etc.
One job I had there was this guy named Lenny who was what I like to refer to as King Senior PoopyPants. Meaning that he basically ran an extremely large company from his well lit corner office with leather sofas.
Lenny really liked me and I keep in contact with him to this day - I was just a receptionist but he still remembers me now almost 4 years later. He told me one time why I was different from everyone else. He said that I treated him the same as everyone else, that I cracked the same jokes, swore the same amount, and didn't change my demeanor when he entered the room. I teased him just the same as I do everyone else and I called him on his shit when the shit needed to be called.
Fast forward to now.
I'm at this gigantic International company where there is a strict org chart and it's held to pretty firmly. The rats get the cubes, the managers get the offices with no windows, the directors get the windowed offices, and the board member gets the corner office with the view. I'm all for organization - I like knowing the exact chain of command when I need to escalate an issue.
What I don't get - and I never will - is the way some of my co-workers act around the board member who is housed in our office. Let's call him Burt. When Burt's in the office they skitter around like scared puppies whispering "Burt's here... did you see - he came in around 7 and said he'd be staying till he had to go to the airport and..." blah blah blah fill in the blanks. They also act like Burt could fire them for sneezing too loud. They turn into sniveling yes men and it's ridiculous.
The odd thing is that the people who do this at work are all most certainly over 50 years of age. I have never seen the younger crowd at work act this way.
I think it has to be a generational thing. I think that my generation and even the generation right before me don't fear authority. We just don't really give a damn who the hell you are. I think Burt wants me to fear him - and guess what - it ain't going to happen. Fire me if you want - even though it would take quite a bit of paper work and time to make that happen.
Guess what - I'll do my job and treat everybody with respect. You do the same and we're all good. No ass kissing required.