Have you ever heard of Julie Andrews? She’s the talented singer and actress from The Sound of Music. You may not know her. I found this out recently when I went to Wal-Mart to buy a Julie Andrews CD for my father’s 90th year old birthday present. The clerk was stumped when I asked where Julie Andrews CDs were. “Who is she?” he said. Shocked, I wanted to tell the store clerk that she’s a new rapper. I held my tongue. My dad just loves Julie Andrews. When she was famous it was a different time. The rules for business were different, too. Some of those rules are worth bringing back.
I was at the nursing home this weekend where my father is getting physical therapy after a bout of pneumonia. The home has a bunch of DVDs to entertain the residents. One was The Lawrence Welk Show. If you haven’t heard of Julie Andrews, you probably have no clue who Lawrence Welk is either. He’s the bandleader with the famous television show in the 50s that my grandmother loved to watch. I watched him as a kid along with her.
How times have changed. What seemed so normal then now looked so odd. The lady singers had helmet hair. Most had this weird bouffant up do that was asymmetrically hair sprayed in place. The women looked larger and their arms hadn’t seen a day of Pilates. My sister commented that it was like watching a Mad Men show. What caught my attention was the way Welk introduced each singer, dancer or musician. It was respectful, cordial and polite. Just like business today. Wrong.
I was speaking with a manager recently who had a subordinate who believes her work is critical for the success of the organization. While she’s smart, she’s certainly not a key player or one who everyone respects and looks up to. Actually, she’s a brusque, opinionated woman who either likes you or hates you. She lets her manager know who is on which one of her lists and is relentless about reminding the manager of the score she’s keeping with all of those on her hate list.
This past week she attacked the work of one of her teammates. This attack was different. Instead of just voicing her opinion about the teammate she called her boss an idiot for having this other person on the project. I was astounded when I heard this story. Attacking your boss like that would have never happened in the 50s. You would never talk to Lawrence Welk like that!
I miss the good manners from the50s. Why do people waltz in late for meetings and that’s considered acceptable manners? Why do people (both men and women) come to work dressed like they’re going to be cleaning out their garage? Why do people text someone four feet away instead of talk to people face-to-face? Am I the only one who misses complete sentences where the words are spelled like you find them in the dictionary?