I was reading The Help, while eating dark chocolate, when I was reminded how much words can affect others. This book is a story of some of the terrible things that were said and done to “the help.” Some of the things that they say are downright mean, and I can’t imagine saying them. While times are different now, I know there is still hatred and animosity where there shouldn’t be, and not just racial issues either… I know no one is perfect, and I have a sassy mouth more often than not, but I do know that there is a time and place for certain jokes and some times you just shouldn’t sass about things.
One perfect example is The Dixie Chicks. I was a fan. I played their songs in my banana yellow, sony CD player. I have their first 3 CDs and I can sing every word of “Wide Open Spaces” to you, but the day that Natalie Maines said that she was ashamed that former president Bush was from Texas, was the day she signed the death sentence on her career. Don’t remember the incident? Watch a recap, here. Sure we are guaranteed freedom of speech by the first amendment, but that doesn’t guarantee your business success if you openly bash someone of high standing, and say it in a foreign country. It’s called American pride. To make matters worse, they didn’t apologize, and wrote a song to prove that they weren’t sorry; it is titled Not Ready To Make Nice. Had she not mouthed off, I think they still would have a quite prosperous career in country music…
A more recent example of this is through the mouth of John Galliano. He was the creative director for Dior and was fired for saying anti-Semitic slurs and pronouncing his love for Hitler. Here is the news clip and here is where he blames it on stress…If being mean bothers me, not being able to “man up” and take responsibility for your own actions, bothers me more. John Galliano not only put himself on the line, but Dior’s reputation at stake as well. As reported on Jezebel.com, the first show without Galliano was terrible and the critics hated it.
I work at a retailer chain called Delia*s (aimed mostly for teens, but we do see all kinds.) It is a fun place to work, and I like the people I work with. Anyway, I can tell you story after story of how customers are rude. They say rude things, completely ignore you when you try to help them, and they leave the fitting room a disaster. Here is one of the worst times I’ve ever seen it. That’s one of my managers, Kathy. I love working with her. She was just as terrified as I at the mess these [insert rude adjective here] girls made.
A couple of weeks ago a lady griped me out about a corporate issue- one that I have no control over, and she called me snippy. I can be sassy, but I’m never that way with a customer. Maybe she was having a bad day, I don’t know, all I know is that people in the store noticed how rude she was being, so it not only affected me, but everyone around her, including herself. Most recently, I had a lady tell me that I was possessed, but that in itself is a whole ‘nother story. (Just a tidbit of how interesting retail can be…) Anyway, you just have to remember that the things you say can be used against you and you will never take them back or reduce the effect that they had. It’s like the toothpaste analogy…Once it is out, you can’t put it back in the tube, and if you try, it gets really messy.
One of my favorite quotes is listed below. I tore it out of a magazine and it has been on my wall ever since, to serve as a daily reminder to me of how important my words are. Not only is it about being nice, but having a good work ethic- two things that are very important to me; I feel like both are a dying art in today’s society. There is a fine line between being respectful and sucking up. Some people think that being polite is brown nosing, but I’m here to tell you that it isn’t, and knowing the difference and how to implicate it, will get you far in life. Kindness is never overlooked.
“A good work ethic-and being kind and respectful-is just as important as talent” -Rachel Roy