Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Has the Golden Rule become tarnished?
No, not the Saturday Night Live sketch featuring Justin Timberlake, Andy Samberg, and Lady Gaga.
I'm talking about doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. (Then again, Justin and Andy may have a point.)
Or maybe you don't remember the Golden Rule.
Or maybe you're a masochist -- or work in customer service at a health insurance company or at the department of motor vehicles. Which, I guess, is pretty much the same thing.
Whatever the case, despite what scientists say about gold not tarnishing, I can't help feeling that the Golden Rule has lost its luster.
And I'm not just talking about awful customer service. Though it always amazes me how clueless or unhelpful or uncaring people who are supposedly in the business of helping customers can be. And these are often the same people you hear complaining about being kept waiting or being given the run around. (Karma much?)
No, I'm talking about basic common courtesy -- like saying please and thank you, responding to phone calls and emails within 24 hours (unless you are on vacation or on a business trip and have no access to email), offering your seat on a bus or on the subway to an elderly or disabled person, giving compliments, praising a job done well or an accomplishment, not showing up late for stuff or texting someone that you'll be late when you are already 15 minutes late.
I get that some people are busy -- and in many cases email and social media and so-called "smart" phones have made things worse not better, bombarding the organizationally challenged with too many inputs. But how long does it take to say please and thank you? How long does it take to reply via email "Hey, got your email. Will respond at length later" -- or just send a quick response? How much effort does it take to say, "That dress looks great on you" or "Great job on that presentation" -- or to make sure you show up on time?
When did we forget or stop caring about the Golden Rule?