Digi Domi

Sharing my passion for technology and learning.

Respect and obey

on October 21, 2013

Okay, so I promise now that this blog is not simply a way for me to retort to my friend Nick and his various podcast co-hosts….having said that I was recently listening to the latest episode of his podcast ‘Unanswered’ which is co-hosts with his friend Steev. They were talking about the term ‘jobsworth’ and discussing how it often emphasises a lack of empathy in our society as people cannot put themselves in someone else’s shoes to see, they are just doing a job and probably don’t have the agency to make decisions. However it prompted me to reflect on an issue I have recently dealt with in my own life, the difference between respect and obedience. Outside of personal relationships this is probably better described as the different between having a voice and getting compliance. This is an issue that I feel is only compounded by technologies ability to afford most of Western society with a voice.

One of the many successes of modern technology, a thing we should celebrate, is that it allows people to have a voice. It allows them to feel like they are talking directly to a company with a compliment, concern, complaint or even just a suggestion. The first point is that it makes them feel they are talking to a company, which we will come back to later. But before we look at the responsibilities lets consider the massive misconception that seems to be plaguing much of society. There appear to me to be confusion between having a voice and getting compliance. It  might be a right in a democratic society to have our voices heard, this is not the same as people complying with those opinions. Yes they should pay more than lip service, and any opinions or concerns raised should be thoughtfully considered but that doesn’t mean they are going to be reasonable, possible or favorable. This may be a confusion of language, with demands getting confused for commands. Demands are a list or set of outcomes that someone desires and they will refuse to do something, say shopping with a particular company, unless these demands are met. The company then has a choice to comply with the demands or to ignore them and face the consequences. A command is something given out perhaps by a monarch or army commander. It implies a level of extreme authority which means there is no option other than to comply.

Having a voice is a great thing, and could be considered a human right rather than a privilege. However, just as Peter Parker had to learn, with great power comes great responsibility. The responsibility in having a voice comes from how you use it.

  • Consider what you are saying, before you say it, especially if it is on a public platform.
  • Consider who you are saying it to, and by this I am not talking about hierarchy or respect, I am talking about empathy. Is the person you are moaning at really the one responsible for your problems? Or are they just the face, the receptionist, the Twitter account manager (aka intern)?
  • Consider how you’d feel if a customer/ client acted this way to you in your job.
  • Consider that the person you are dealing with is not you! Just because you would go above and beyond, or even have the ability to do so, doesn’t mean the person you are ‘voicing your opinions’ to does.

At the end of the day this struck a cord because I have had to deal with family members not understanding that making choices opposed to their advice does not mean I lack respect for them, it simply means respecting and obeying are separate things. The respect is exemplified in the fact I do not take lightly choices to go against their wishes, and consider them fully before making my decisions. The final decision does not indicate whether your are respected or whether you have been heard, it is the process that indicates this but at the end of the day we all have to make our own choices, and this includes privately owned companies.

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