Created: Friday, 22 April 2016 13:26
I’ve heard many strange things in business but this week has been particularly peculiar and then outright shocking when I have had chance to digest things.
Whilst I may have my faults and weaknesses in business and in life, and success can be judged on many different relative levels, one thing that I do pride myself in is that I never want to act like a **** to anyone. (insert any appropriate four letter word you would like to use) I aim to act fair and ethically whilst maintaining a friendly and diverse work environment.
This week we had a supplier on site, someone we are paying for the service if not necessarily the pleasure of doing work for us. This was the second time they have been here, and it is actually an individual I am taking to task here rather than the whole company. During the first time, we thought this person’s interpersonal skills were a bit odd and slightly inappropriate at times, but we were heavily focussed on the task at hand. Time passed by when that piece of work finished, but it wasn’t forgotten.
So, come the second visit, the behaviour was much more noticeable and much more uncomfortable for a member of staff, and uncomfortable for me to see.
During his time here his interaction with women in general seemed to be different than towards men, an in particular with a member of staff from Eastern Europe, making quite pointed remarks along the way beyond what could be considered social niceties and chit-chat.
The final straw for me was during our closing meeting he mentioned Brexit and how that would affect the business as this person would need to leave the country. My member of staff calmly pointed out that it would be unlikely to affect people that are already here and working in any case. This is person had the gall to mention not if Nigel Farage got his way.
Having been caught slightly off guard and a little shocked, as is my nature I tried to make light of the situation. However, afterwards we did bring this to the full attention of the supplier and the matter is being dealt with.
For me, as a British Born Chinese person, to have someone in my office directing comments about people having to leave the country to my member of staff is very distasteful. It wasn’t like it was relevant or part of a wider socio-economic discussion, this was IT and business processes. Previous directed comments had included how well they spoke English and how we do things differently in this country. I am very lucky to have been able to taken on someone highly educated, having done a Masters at Bournemouth University, hardworking and fitted so easily into the team, where other “home-grown” applicants have fallen short on even the basics. Thank to the EU, this attitude and approach can help all small businesses and has been a positive impact on us.
The talk of people needing to leave the country was the mantra of the National Front and its thugs whilst I was growing up during the 70s and 80s, in a parochial English town. Being on the receiving end of that vile rhetoric is not a pleasant experience as a child but to have it invoked whilst giving the name of Nigel Farage any credence or validity, in my office is one step too far.
That individual will certainly never be back at our offices nor will that attitude ever be accepted here.
The incident made me recall the time when I was being interviewed in Birmingham by one of the Top-4 accountancy firms during my last year at university, whether my parents were part of the Triads. I thought it might have been one of those interview techniques where they through you a curve ball to see what happens. No, they were just being a ****, insert your own word here.
Heck, it was the 80s after all….
Unlike that time, at least this time I was able to say something, be heard and have something done about it.