By Gerald Walsh ©
Honestly, I had never heard of the term “job shaming” until a few weeks ago.
That’s when photos of Geoffrey Owens went viral. Owens, in case you don’t know, is a former actor on The Cosby Show sitcom from 1985 to 1992.
Like many actors, his fortunes have risen and fallen, and he now works at the grocery store chain, Trader Joe’s, to “put food on the table.”
It was there that a shopper snapped a photo of Owens packing grocery bags at the checkout and offered to sell the photo to celebrity websites wanting to “out” him — and in essence shame the former actor for working such a “lowly” job.
Thankfully, there was a great backlash in the traditional media and on social media toward this woman’s mean-spirited actions.
It is true that some jobs require more training and experience than others. It is also true that some jobs carry more responsibility, pay more money, and have greater status.
But that doesn’t mean one job is more important than another.
You are not better than someone else simply because you have more degrees, a fancier title, or higher salary.
In your organization, every person matters and you should not look down upon someone for the work they are doing.
As a leader, you demonstrate respect for others with simple, yet powerful behaviours:
- You never forget to say ‘thank you’ when another person does something for you.
- You take the time to ask others about their families and personal lives, and truly listen to their answers.
- You act with kindness toward everyone — all the time.
- You never say to someone (even jokingly) “Why don’t you get a real job?”
- You think about your tone of voice and body language when speaking with others.
- You seek the opinions of others even if they may not really be subject-matter experts on a topic.
Remember, every job in an organization should be valued. And, every person should be treated with dignity and respect. We all need each other.
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Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and author. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career.” You can follow Gerry on Twitter @Gerald_Walsh