Scenario Overview

Respect – a word known by many people, understood by some, and rarely used in its proper capacity by others.   In part, the Collins Gem English Dictionary (Fourteenth Edition 2006), defines the word “respect” as “v treat with esteem; show consideration for”.   In my opinion, respect is not given the recognition and value that it deserves, and more often than not, is completely disregarded.   Respect is the main theme that inadvertently arose from the following scenario which occurred at my workplace.   The scenario is a discussion that took place between work colleagues, and how in our community of practice we are expected to show respect to individuals in status of power, yet fail to show respect in normal day-to-day interaction with other work colleagues.

A common practice in my workplace, is for my work colleagues to congregate together at morning tea time, and participate in the daily Five Minute Quiz printed in the local newspaper.   The quiz is often followed by informal open forum discussions on various topics.   The topic of discussion this particular morning was initiated by one of the senior managers, concerning the younger members of our unit and their displays of maturity, or more specifically, the lack of.   Participants in the discussion involved male work colleagues of different military ranks, ethnicities and ages.   Although I was seated with the group, I was initially an observer in this scenario.

As the discussion evolved within the group, the theme of the discussion changed and took on a sexual connotation.   Assumptions and lewd remarks were being made of an individual’s sexual behaviour, and this made me feel uncomfortable.   I felt that I had to make a decision as to whether I should get up and leave the group, or confront my work colleagues about their comments.

I chose the latter option.   I asked the group to cease their current topic of conversation as I believed it was inappropriate.   I was somewhat offended and...