Saturday, November 09, 2013

Being a NYC type

Over the last few days, I have had the honor to work the same sex cases. From my perspective gays and lesbians are and always were a part of the community. They were great coworkers, the person a few apartments up the block and in a handful of cases distant relatives. I worked in the fashion industry for years and they certainly were there. I lived in lower Fifth Avenue and they were certainly my neighbors.

The notion that anyone gay or otherwise should be made to feel unwelcome because of being yourself is abhorrent to me. One of my favorite sayings is be yourself for better or worse and if by nature you are a jerk smile a lot and wave and remain silent.

The fact that I have plenty of friends who are gay does not change who I am. Plenty of times I have had lunch with a coworker who was gay or lesbian. Anyone who has a problem with that needs to grow up. In Vermont a really ignorant worker mistook me for a homosexual and called me gay. The person used plenty of gay slurs and this was seen by a friend in human resources. The friend urged me to file charges. My response was to file charges would be admitting that I had a problem with gays. Being mistaken for gay from my perspective is akin to being mistaken for being of a different ethnicity. Do I get offended when people ask if I am Hungarian or Ukrainian?  If I don't get offended when people mistake me for the wrong ethnicity why should I get offended when people mistake me for a homosexual.

That being said, gay people do face more abuse at work then anyone else. The very people who would end your career for the N word think nothing of freely using slurs for gays and lesbians. All epithets are wrong and just as the N word is wrong so is calling someone a faggot or a bull dyke. I don't believe that the N word is more heinous then any of those other epithets. There is no excuse for using that word or making abusive jokes about anyone.

One of the things that annoy me is the notion that as a professional I need special training to treat gays or anyone else with respect. This should be second nature to all decent professionals. In the instances where I have to be more assertive it is because of the behavior issues such as criminal arrests or legal matters. Even then the focus is on the behavior such as repeated drinking and driving not the ethnicity or whatever else.

The applicants still get a warm interview with a touch of wit and verve. In one instance a person thanked me and said you have no idea how many times I have been abused in this building thank you. The sad part is that I actually understand that better then he thinks. One of the things I fought for was a customer driven approach. The classic Stalanistist approach there will be no laughter or smiling is not the face of real customer service. In fact I was working in a back office far from the customers and a brute of a supervisor
started screaming at me "THERE WILL BE NO LAUGHTER". It was part of a pattern of work place abuse and my coworkers noticed. This did not stop this very same supervisor from gossiping about her personal life for hours, making scores of personal calls on the public dime. In my case her boss witnessed this behavior and moved me to a supervisor with humanity.

Laughing together is quite different from laughing at people, An actor came in and I joked with that name you sound like you should be killing Orcs. We joked about a mythical Axel Hammerman in accounting or  Nadine Slacker as a personal trainer.

On a personal level, many times at the end of an interview people thank me. There are many time I wonder if I should be thanking them for letting me share such a special moment. The attorneys grasp that my office is a special place where we provide genuine customer service with wit and warmth.


Duckys here said...

Remind me, what's "a New York City type"?

beakerkin said...

Unlike mindless Communists NYC types
tend to mind their business. No doubt Vladamir Von Wilhelm will annoy his way out of office with his incompetence. I shall address him as Cumwad Wilhelm.