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Making a Point

Compassionate Reader,

Indulge me.

Today, let me do a bit of stream of consciousness blogging. I promise to get to a point about HR somewhere in here, eventually.

Last night I came across a video on Funny or Die.  It is of Michael Shannon of Boardwalk Empire fame reciting an e-mail from Delta Gamma sorority member Rebecca Martinson to members of her Chapter.

It is unknown exactly what culminating events occurred that inspired Rebecca’s to write that e-mail.

The content of her e-mail is not for the faint-of-heart.  Having been a sorority girl myself at one point in my life, I feel obligated to try and explain Michael, I mean Rebecca, to my Canadian readers whose only exposure to sorority life is in the movie Animal House.  In a form of prose unusual to the circumstances she composes an e-mail regarding attendance at an upcoming mixer with Sigma Nu.  Regarding social interaction, she suggests the following:

  • The point of mixers is to enable boys and girls to meet and get to know one another.
  • Don’t stand in the corner during the mixer, be social.
  • It isn’t nice to talk about going to other fraternity parties with the men of Sigma Nu.
  • Our Chapter doesn’t want a reputation of being prudish, rude or anti-social.
  • Don’t attend the mixer if you think you’re unable to meet the expectation to be social.
  • If you don’t understand what I’m saying, please let me know and I’ll try and explain it differently.

Now the video.  Please be forewarned that you will not want to watch this video if you dislike vulgarity.

We often preach that e-mails are one dimensional and that the message and tone can easily be misunderstood.  Apparently not, in this case.  This is made real for me in how Michael Shannon interpreted her message, as in watching the video I felt just like I might have if I had been the intended recipient of the actual e-mail.  I would love to give him an award because the acting is superb.

What would you do if you were in a decision-making capacity at Delta Gamma?  Applaud her methods?  Press charges?  Remove her from office?

What should Rebecca do?  Resign?  Enter rehab? Write a book?  Become a motivational speaker?  Seek employment in certain industries? Take Delta Gamma’s membership to a new level?

What would you do if Rebecca were your employee?  Would her approach be cause for celebration?  Immediate termination? Would it be a Jerry Maguire moment?  Would you perform a technical analysis of it?  Or would you make it an example of what NEVER to do?

I’m not sure why I’m so shocked that a sorority girl would use so many explicative deleteds.

If you are older, you probably will view her e-mail more harshly than if you are younger.  The profanity, the vulgarity, it is so much more the norm today.  Is there any room for it in the workplace, especially a welcoming diverse workplace?  Guess what, this pressure is coming, and I predict stormy weather.

And did vulgar behaviour ever leave?  Back in my day, we certainly didn’t use the language, but the issues at hand regarding decorum at mixers are no different than they were thirty years ago.  And, hey, I was watching Mad Men the other night.  Long before the modern era there was plenty of wild stuff going on in plain view. Only some things have been toned down.

Which brings me to social media.  What lessons are there in here about the power of social media?

I’m not sure what, but I think I am about to find out!

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