I try not to stereotype. Maybe I’m wrong, please feel free to tell me if I am, but I feel as though writers on the whole are tolerant because we look at people and see individuals. We have to or our writing becomes hackneyed.
For a little tangent, I just realized how nosy I’ve become out of sheer curiosity. What makes a person tick? Why do they do that? How do high-schoolers really party? (There’s one going on up the street tonight–graduation, I presume. I’ll let you know tomorrow if there is debauchery. 😉 )
I don’t group people as baby boomers or generation x (come on, was there no better description, folks?!) or millennials. However (you knew that was coming, am I right?), recently I have worked with a few millennials and continue to be mystified by their lack of professionalism in the workplace. Here is just one example. And I do apologize in advance because I DO know many polite, hard-working millennials. (I promise I can see the forest for the trees.)
I love email. I would rather email than speak to you on the phone. I am not alone. This is now a thing. And I am happy about that. Not that I don’t love to hear your voice. I do. In person. When I can also see your eyes. Your body language. And whether you are sprinting through channels on your tv out of boredom.
So I email. A lot. I exchange a lot of emails, enough to know that there is etiquette, especially in business.
In the professional world, it’s de rigueur to respond when you’ve received an email. I have sent you a document. I need to know that you have received it. Not once since I have been working with this young woman has she acknowledged receipt of a document or email. Forget about answering any question actually in the body of the email. It’s as if the email has been lost in the vast ether. Yet, if it were, I would know about it. Ain’t it funny how that happens?!
This drives me nuts. As I’ve mentioned time and time again, this is not a far drive. I don’t need to dialogue with you. I don’t care if you don’t answer the question I’ve placed in the email. I just want to freaking know that it has been received, with maybe a “thank you” attached because I have spent hours of my valuable time working on this document for which I am not being paid. This is a courtesy. Your courtesy is an acknowledgement, because I know that you are being paid.
Is a “thank you” archaic? Are we on our way to becoming a society that cares little about professional protocol or polite niceties? If this young woman is an example, I’m afraid so.
I have considered that perhaps she is too busy (in her mind) to say “thank you.” Perhaps she doesn’t understand professionalism. Perhaps she undervalues the people she works with. Ick.
Ah, so maybe it’s time to pull out my cane and say: you know, back in my day, we said “thank you.” Never heard of it? I bet we can find it here in this old internet dictionary. Yup. Here it is: a polite expression used when acknowledging a gift, service, or compliment, or accepting or refusing an offer.
The power of a single “thank you.” Pass it on.