So, this morning, I had a conversation with someone and in a matter of seconds this person said something that made me lose all respect for that person. Let's call that person Gene. We were talking about Gene's kid's first of day of kindergarten. This kindergarten staggers the kids initially, so it isn't until the third week of school that all the kids are going full-time. I mentioned that that was probably great for the kids, as well as the teachers - give them all a chance to ease into things. Gene said, "I'm not too worried about the teachers; they get a million in-service days and have the entire summer off." I replied about how difficult it can be to have so many 5 year olds at one time, especially since they'd never been to school before. Gene didn't respond.
And boom - respect gone.
It was so obvious to me that Gene does not respect teachers, despite the fact that Gene's family has handed over the care of their children to them. I was really tempted to ask if Gene had ever taken care of 30 five year olds at one time. My guess is no or for not any extended period of time.
Gene's comment also smacked of entitlement and elitism. I know for a fact that Gene has an extremely healthy bank account - Gene could stop working today and be fine for quite some time. Gene is also on the fast track at work to head the company in a few years. I am noticing these types of attitudes more and more in the company I keep and it's bothersome. How does one combat that and actually be heard and not written off as a shrill feminist?
More importantly, though, I need to look at my own attitudes and assumptions and challenge the entitlement and elitism I find there.
I think what surprised me the most through this whole exchange with Gene was just how quick all the respect I had for Gene (which, granted, was not a whole lot) disappeared. And that it will take some time to be built back up (if ever depending on Gene's future actions).