Being “somebody:” defined by your role in your job so much that your “method acting” becomes your new reality.
Rationale: the best way to convince a co-worker beneath you that you mean business is to adapt a persona, or method act, so that you convey a seriousness and energy is transferred when you make a directive. This is the rank structure of the military, or boss in office or restaurant type work environment. Underlings may call you an ass. But you know you do it for a higher purpose. Right?
** not actual, copyright google business models
I recently had a stare down with a woman dining at our restaurant who I imagine was used to being the boss in her work environment as she was dressed in a business suit and was very well put together. I did not respond to her calls for “Joe. Hey Joe!” because, well, I’m not Joe. I thought she was referring to someone actually called Joe. Plus my hands were full with five plates, two orders bouncing in my head, my manager had just tasked me with a priority on hot food, and this table was far away from my section. When I looked around after passing her by ten feet, looking around just to check to see if it was me she was condescending, she had a dead eye lock on me and said “yes you” out loud, filling the space for other customers to hear.
On her side of the argument, she’s right that we are servers and she has a right to ask any of us to help in her service. It is incorrect of me to refuse to help other tables outside of my own section; I believe in teamwork and would hope that other servers would help my tables that have requests if I am not available to help them.
She’s wrong on the power trip. Some people’s condescension abilities are remarkable. Though I did sign up to be a “servant” which waives my rights to equal footing with customers, nothing authorizes you to call someone Joe like a no-name bus boy just because you are queen-bee out with business colleagues at lunch. Does power corrupt? Looks that way to many.
What did I do? I slowly turned around, plates in my hands, looked at her to assess that yes she was actually talking to me, and said:
“I’m sorry ma’am. I’m very busy at the moment, perhaps I can put these plates down and…”
What I got in response was an interruption:
“At least you can ACKNOWLEDGE ME!”
Her actual server showed up on the scene right at that moment, moot point, she could get what she wanted. But T-Rex was still trying to crush the lesser dinosaur. That’s when I made eye-contact right back with her and locked on.
I know why I do this, somewhat against my better judgment. We all feel the right to defend ourselves; and that allowing others to trample on our rights makes us weak on the food chain. So I stared right back at her without saying a word, hoping my body language would be enough to convey my lack of fear. Is this strength though?
Trample my rights? There is the aching reality that as a server, I signed up to have no rights. I waive them away when I put on the apron. The same way that Jesus waived his rights as ruler of the Earth and condescended himself to become human.
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name…
How little we know about what it means to be like Jesus.