I would be a really inept private detective. In deciding to write the blog post that follows, I may have made a conclusion that is 100% wrong. But the subject weighs heavily on my heart and mind so I am going to write this post, and if the audience I am writing to reads it and scratches their heads, saying, “What on earth did she think we said?” then I’ll just hope something about the message still edifies or entertains someone.
The office grapevine came back around to me with the message last week that I had hurt people’s feelings with my YouTube videos. Specifically, with the impression that I had stated that people I work with are poorly educated. For 24 hours, I scratched my head about this, prayed about it, lost sleep over it, and (the only good thing) used the stress to fuel a great workout. Then it hit me, the acting monologue that I had recorded to be included as part of my “Faster, With More Energy” post in April 2010 talks about call center representatives who, despite being college graduates, “have the vocabularies of fourth graders.” Here it is:
If you don’t have time to watch and/or don’t want to endure a minute and 35 seconds worth of my amateur acting (trust me, I wouldn’t blame you!), here’s the monologue, word for word:
I talk to the American People on the phone every day as part of my job, and I can tell you — they’re dumb. And petulant. And worse than 5-year olds. Are they dumber than they used to be? Hell, yes! How else do you explain two terms of George Dubya? Worst president, ever! I don’t suppose you could say this is the dumbest country on the planet. There are worse, I’m sure. But the other countries have excuses: famine, war, oppression, plague. We did it to ourselves! My co-workers are college graduates. Those under the age of 30 have the vocabularies of 4th graders. If I had a dollar for every “like” “you know” “I mean” and “awesome” that comes out of their mouths, I could vacation in Reykjavik. Or in some other interesting city whose name Americans can’t spell and about whose geography and history they haven’t a clue. And let’s not even discuss their writing skills. It’s like dealing with foreigners who have learned individual English words but who can’t yet put them together into sentences. What’s the point? Everybody’s connected to their iPod, surfing porn, getting down, being cool…. Dumb’s #1!
This monologue is from Minute Mouth-Offs by G.L. Horton. When I was choosing a monologue, I liked this one because I have been involved in a lot of call centers, so the topic of a call center did not feel foreign to me. And haven’t we all been in the position of the consumer contacting a call center who had a less than stellar experience?
That video is no more directed at anyone in my real life than I am really pregnant in this scene from “An Impossible Marriage” that I did in December 2010:
When I cross the threshold at work every day, my mindset is “This is about us” — what can we do as a team to help the uninsured children of Florida?
In Lori Deschene’s “25 Reasons to Embrace Criticism,” she opens with an Aristotle quote: “Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” True.
My favorite reason of her 25 was number 21:
Learning to receive … criticism … without losing your confidence is a must if you want to do big things in life. The more attention your work receives, the more criticism you’ll have to field.
I do want to do big things in life. I want my children to grow up to be happy, decent, fair people. I want to slay the debt monster once and for all. I want to write a book that chronicles the blend of courage, patriotism, and humanity that overtook Carrabelle in the early 1940’s in the form of Camp Gordon Johnston. I would love to write a blog post or vlog that makes just one person (or 1,000) say “I am going to do something differently today because of what you wrote (or said).”
I do want to do big things.
But I will never, ever do that by intentionally making someone else feel small.