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  1. #21
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluebell View Post
    I'm kinda in the minority on this as well. If it was me in the situation, yes, I probably would have got a piece of cake for the other guy, regardless of how it was asked for. If he was being a dick about it, then I probably would have vented a bit later to a colleague, but I still would have smiled politely and got it.

    I'm having trouble putting into words why I'd do it but here goes. I work in a very hierarchical workplace, which I don't mind, as long as the people further up the pecking order aren't micromanaging eejits.

    Everyone is expected to know how to behave appropriately - both with internal meetings and external meetings. Deference to more senior people is definitely part of my workplace culture. There are good operational reasons for this deference - we work under extremely tight deadlines on high-stake projects, dealing with a large number of other organisations. Being able to slip automatically into team roles under pressure is part of the job, with the most junior person expected to prepare meeting rooms, look after guests etc (even if the most junior person in a particular meeting is one of the managers). Where I work, it's important to show that you know how to be courteous in difficult circumstances, otherwise it's a bit of a career limiting move.
    Yes, this is true of my workplace as well, although it varies some from division to division. My division director I actually would've gotten the cake from because she just gives off that vibe that she'd do it for you and it wouldn't be a power thing. In my friend's division, they are very much about hierarchy and who's the boss.

    CzeCze, I asked my friend for the exact tone that the other director asked her for the cake. She says she was more surprised that he even asked her and that registered on her face as her initial reaction. Then she was a offended that he asked her so that was her secondary emotion. This all took place within a matter of seconds and it seems that he responded very quickly to her body language. I'm just really sensitive to power balances and I fear for my reaction in the same situation. I think my reaction would've been stronger than my friend's and.
    Relationships have normal ebbs and flows. They do not automatically get better and better when the participants learn more and more about each other. Instead, the participants have to work through the tensions of the relationship (the dialectic) while they learn and group themselves and a parties in a relationships. At times the relationships is very open and sharing. Other time, one or both parties to the relationship need their space, or have other concerns, and the relationship is less open. The theory posits that these cycles occur throughout the life of the relationship as the persons try to balance their needs for privacy and open relationship.
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  2. #22
    Rubber Nipple Salesperson ladypinkington's Avatar
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    I am an FJ and I would have gotten the person a piece of cake. Hey- If I am not paying for it who cares. Now if he had asked me to buy him a piece of cake that's what would have pissed me off. I would be so excited to partake of something free that I would be in such a good mood I would bring some to people in the next building,lol.

    When it comes to public matters- I am actually very inclusive and hospitable.
    I try to make sure anyone who comes to my house- even people I have hired to work on my house- I will make them hot chocolate or a nice refreshing drink and make sure they feel welcome and comfortable.

    This makes me realize that I am weird and confusing. On the one hand no one is better then anyone- everyone should be treated the same-I am very inclusive when it comes to public matters- for example no one should ever be turned away from church and everyone should be able to come as they are-rudolph should always be included in the reindeeer games but on the other when it comes to sentimental things I have a very defined heirarchy and am very exclusive- for instance when I had my baby I only wanted and allowed certain people to come visit because that was something private and special to me and draining- so I could only handle being around those who don't drain me.
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  3. #23
    / booyalab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    Hmmm, this is interesting. I won't say it wouldn't work. But why would you do it? If you see the FJ wasn't trying to be mean and nasty why play her like that? For shits and giggles?
    It was a joke, I wouldnt actually do that. At least I wouldn't be able to do it without cracking a smile as I was walking away. I was just trying to point out the ethical complexity of the situation by demonstrating how easy it would have been for the guy to be the righteous one instead of the guilty one. Even if the FJ didn't have mean intentions, it's not cool to look like you're playing favorites with the higher ranks at work. It's not wise either. But lucky for her the guy forfeited any higher ground by being a dick.

    If I was in her position, I wouldn't bring anyone cake if I wasn't planning on bringing it for everyone.
    I don't wanna!

  4. #24
    Senior Member Rachelinpa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    This whole thing isn't about cake, it's about how to respond to the nuances of the inevitable pecking order. The spurned director may or may not have thought twice about what happened. It's just that this kind of unspoken stuff happens a lot at work and it's tricky to know when to react or how to react or what to do.
    Right. And, it is frustrating that something so trivial as dessert has everyone in a dither.

    As one who is also easily flustered by superiors, I would try to detach and hope they all got over it. Your friend sounds like she has a lot of anxiety about her work and should potentially consider finding a less stress-producing job (one where she could actually take off work if necessary). From one Asian-American to another, I would say she needs to recognize that people who work in admin are in many instances treated poorly and she could consider applying for new jobs where she is closer to the top of the chain.

    And as for cake, next time I hope she thinks (or says), "Psshht, get your own cake, damnit!"

  5. #25
    Mamma said knock you out Mempy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze View Post
    BTW, your scenario totally reminded me of an episode of Split Ends (the hair stylist swapping reality show on Style Network). I wish i could find a video of it to post --

    A young black female stylist working out of Inglewood, LA, CA switched places with a young white gay male from one of the most famous 'high fashion' salons in the US -- Warren Tricomi's flagship salon in NYC.

    At one point, the LA stylist gets sent to a model agent to get 'coached' on how to be high fashion and "fit in" with the high-end salon and their clientele. As soon as the two sit down, the agent's assistant brings the model agent coffee but not the stylist. I'm paraphrasing from memory but the stylist says immediately, "Oh, where's my coffee? Aren't you going to bring me some?" and the agent shoots back immediately, "No, none for you."

    It kinda went downhill from there.
    Hmmm, actually, this brings up an interesting point. When I wrote my first post, I was assuming that the guy who asked her to bring him cake could just as easily go get it himself right that minute, but I realize now that maybe he couldn't; maybe it was a more professional meeting between the two bosses, like one in which it would be inappropriate to excuse oneself to go get cake? If that were the case, I can better understand where the guy was coming from. He saw this woman bringing her boss cake, and hopefully he knew that she probably didn't realize there were two people in the room (but this is an assumption I'm making; maybe she DID know there were two people in the room, and maybe she knew that both guys were unable to get their own cake right that minute, in which case I think she was acting a bit rude to bring only one of them cake, thereby torturing the other).

    I can imagine several logical and justifiable lines of reasoning for asking someone else to grab him a piece of cake, for example, "Ah, she doesn't look too busy, and I'm all tied up here and really would like a piece of cake, but I can't leave - but she can, so maybe if I ask nicely and explain that I can't get it myself right now, she'll have sympathy on me for having to watch someone else eat cake right in front of me?" In the end, if it wasn't too far out of her way, I don't mind that he asked, but I really have no way of knowing how far out of her way he perceived this favor to be.

    I guess it's not such a big deal. Really, depending on my mood, I could probably go either way on this, but I tremendously value my own needs and wants, and I really try to honor them. So in my mind, whether she got him the cake or not could be justified in my mind a number of different ways each, but in the end I support any decision anyone makes that takes into account their own needs and interests as well as the needs and interests of others but places higher priority on the former; I think that's necessary. That's the bottom line for me.
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  6. #26
    Senior Member bluebell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ladypinkington View Post
    Now if he had asked me to buy him a piece of cake that's what would have pissed me off.
    Yep, and that would have been entirely deserving of 'the look' in the OP.
    ...so much smoke pouring out of each chromosome.

  7. #27
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    @Mempy-

    Yeah, that would qualify as a favor, to me, and I'm completely cool with favors. Favors imply that the boss sees you as a fellow human being, and not just as something he pays to run errands for him.

    I always had a problem with the idea of "I pay your salary, so you should do anything I ask that comes to mind, ie picking up my laundry, getting my Starbuck's, etc." I don't mind doing things like that if my boss and I have a good relationship, and it's clear they are in a bind. I don't like the idea of being hired to do office work, and then being ordered to pour coffee and fetch sandwiches. If you want a personal assistant, get a personal assistant. But then, I have no desire to work in a corporate setting, and my personality isn't well-suited to it, anyway. So I probably wouldn't take advice from me. ;-)

  8. #28
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    Guess my opinion falls in the minority as well. She should have gotten it.

    There are two reasons why she may have gotten the cake for her boss that I can see: A) As an act of servitude or B) as an act of kindness. By refusing to get the cake for someone else, her intentions became unmasked.

    For some reason, this reminds me of the whole "someone that is nice to you, but not nice to the waiter, is not a nice person" theory. She was only nice to the person she was obligated to be nice to.

  9. #29
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Udog View Post
    Guess my opinion falls in the minority as well. She should have gotten it.

    There are two reasons why she may have gotten the cake for her boss that I can see: A) As an act of servitude or B) as an act of kindness. By refusing to get the cake for someone else, her intentions became unmasked.

    For some reason, this reminds me of the whole "someone that is nice to you, but not nice to the waiter, is not a nice person" theory. She was only nice to the person she was obligated to be nice to.
    I don't think it's quite that simple. When you're in a corporate situation, nearly everything you do is tied to the hierarchy of power. If she'd gotten the cake for the other guy, she could have been being nice, but she also could have looked like she was sucking up. Not getting the cake doesn't necessarily prove that she has ulterior motives. It just proves how sticky these situations are.

    Also, she's the waiter in this scenario. The boss would be more like the diner who either treats everyone equally or orders someone around because they can. Though in this case, it's not clear what the boss' intentions were, because we weren't there.

  10. #30
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallulah View Post
    I don't think it's quite that simple. When you're in a corporate situation, nearly everything you do is tied to the hierarchy of power. If she'd gotten the cake for the other guy, she could have been being nice, but she also could have looked like she was sucking up. Not getting the cake doesn't necessarily prove that she has ulterior motives. It just proves how sticky these situations are.
    It's impossible for us to get into the naunces of the situation, so I choose to look at the broadest paint stroke I could see with the information I was given.

    I'm curious: if she would have given the cake to the director, what would she have had to lose? I'm honestly curious. What were the stakes?

    Also, she's the waiter in this scenario. The boss would be more like the diner who either treats everyone equally or orders someone around because they can.
    Well, the aspect of the metaphor I was interested in was more about being nice to people you do not have to be nice to.

    Though in this case, it's not clear what the boss' intentions were, because we weren't there.
    Male see cake. Male want cake. We are but simple creatures!

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