Thursday, November 02, 2006

Your differentness is the best thing about you

Diversity is our greatest strength as a society but sometimes it can be a little confronting in the workplace, for people both inside and outside the mainstream. Take some tips from my new book: Difference – Deal With It: A Guide to Tolerating Other People in the Workplace.

Things you might like to say in otherwise tricky situations:

[When a woman succeeds at a long and difficult project]

I’m so happy for you! You took this project from go to woe in sixty days and I totally thought PMS would send it off the rails at some point. Your menstrual blood proved me completely wrong and I’ve learned a valuable lesson!

[When a black person scores a try at inter-office touch rugby]

Although sporting excellence is second nature to your people and to be expected, I still felt thrilled and excited for you as you scored that try. God knows your people could do with a win now and again.

[When an Asian scores a try at inter-office touch rugby]

Wow, if somebody had told me that [name] was going to triumph at footy, I would have said: ‘maybe at footy tipping, and maybe with the assistance of advanced computer modeling.’ But no way did I think your little legs were ever going to carry you across that try line. Unless the other side let you win. Which totally didn’t happen in this case.

[When a person with a mental illness pulls off a difficult task]

For a moment there, I totally forgot you have mental issues! That was great! That was better than great! It was more than most normal people could do!

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