Talking Cultural Diversity

a discussion board for cultural and diversity issues by Thomas Kochman and Jean Mavrelis

Social Etiquette at Work, Part II

By Jean Mavrelis and Thomas Kochman - 11.17.2009

The following email is the basis for this new blog,

\”Okay, now I\’m really confused. My coworker and I were talking at his desk on a work related matter. An Anglo-co worker and someone else (another Anglo-male) came up to us and just interrupted us. There was eye contact and a conversation going on and then its like they just stuck their foot in the elevator, opened it up and stepped right in. I wanted to say something because its JUST RUDE… but i just went back to my work station and decided to write the two of you this email.

I AM (Irritated Asian-Male)!\”

Dear Confused and Irritated Asian Male,

We have diagnosed the problem. The intruders  are self-initiating, self-determining, socially entitled, brash, U.S. white guys who \”create their space\” wherever they step. You are East Asian and expect people to patiently wait their turn and be considerate of others and acknowledge that what you’re working on is at least as important as what they’re working on.  You could say,  \”Excuse me\” in a tone that lets people know they have over-stepped. But my hunch is that it would not have much of an effect other than they would see you as being too sensitive.

Any aha\’s to share?

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