Millennial Writer Cries at Work, Puts Mother on Speakerphone after Editor Corrects Her Spelling
How does a boss manage a worker who believes their feelings trump reality, right down to the way she "feels" about her misspelled words?
Gently. And probably badly, even though that's no fault of the boss in question.
Carol Blymire -- a "communications and public policy executive, branding consultant, professor, writer" -- took to Twitter on Friday to tell the story she overheard of a young writer, probably "in her late 20s," going over edits with her boss.
What issue caused mentor and student such agitation and aggravation? Had the boss been needlessly cruel? Had the young writer pushed some radical agenda, and was refusing to tamp it down a bit? Hardly. They were arguing over how to spell "hamster." You know, the little furry rodents some people keep in one of those winding Habitrail cages.
Can you guess what happened next? The young woman, according to Blymire, "insists she doesn’t need to look it up because it’s FINE to spell it with a P because that’s HOW SHE WANTED TO SPELL IT."
You might think at this point that the writer would have taken a cue from her boss, and engaged herself with the same calm, cool, professionalism. Actually, at this point in the story you wouldn't think that at all, would you?
And you'd be right not to:
Our young hero (in her own mind only), had apparently texted her mother for support in this Hampster Crisis, and her dutiful mother called her right up. If one of my kids had called me or my wife in a similar situation, I know exactly what either one of us would have said.
"It's spelled 'hamster.' Now go apologize to your boss for causing a scene."
I imagine if you'd read this far, you'd have given similar advice. I also imagine that you're already certain that's not what happened here.
The young woman put her mom on speakerphone, "IN THE WORKPLACE," as Blymire caps-locked for emphasis, and what happened next would be funny if it weren't so sad.
Feelings trump reality. Misspelling words is "creative."
The call ended, Blymire wrote, with the writer asked her mom if she should take the matter over her boss's head: "I mean, I always spell hamster with a P, she has no right to criticize me."
Blymire added that "her boss seemed as dumbfounded through the conversation as I was in overhearing it." But being dumbfounded was limited to the person who overheard the whole silly scene.
Apparently what Blymire overheard is no isolated case.
This is Generation Participation Trophy, has been set loose on the private sector where, to quote Dr. Raymond Stantz, "they expect results." They even -- as outrageous as this sounds -- expect their writers to use proper spelling. And to listen to their editors when they do a little editing.
One can only hope this sort of muddle-headed nonsense is limited to the liberal arts vocations. Nobody wants to drive across a bridge built to some Millennial engineer's feelings about what won't collapse.
When you meet a dog who flinches from being petted, you can be pretty sure they're abused at home. When you run across an adult-aged human who can't take constructive criticism, you can be pretty sure they never got any from their parents, or maybe even not from their teachers. But the saddest part of this tale is that no one ever loved this young woman enough to provide her the guidance and discipline everyone needs to cope in the real world.
UPDATE: Fausta Wertz commented at Facebook, "Fire her sorry butt."
And you know what? That might just be the tough love she needs.