Leonardo DiCaprio holding a glass out with the words "respect bro"

Power, Privilege, and the Professional You: Teacher Response to Homework #4/5

General Business Keeping

Grades on Blackboard.┬áThe following is a response to Homework #5. We’ll discuss Homework #4 as we start Module #3.

You don’t have to agree with other people’s life choices and experiences, but you do have to respect them

Everyone has had different experiences and have made different choices in response to those experiences. Many of those decisions are made on the relative amount of power and privilege individuals experience. It’s easy to judge someone who is homeless or in poverty as a failure, but we don’t know what experiences led them down that path. We don’t know what obstacles they faced along the way.

Don’t assume you understand someone else’s identity

Even if you share certain aspects of your identity with someone else, don’t assume you understand their experience of that identity. This is what conversation is for. When you assume you understand someone else’s identity, you risk offending them and, worse, making them feel unwelcome in a professional environment. If you have a question about identity, always ask permission to ask about it, and if permission is granted, be kind and inquisitive, not judgmental.

If you respect others’ life choices and experiences and don’t assume you understand their identity, you will be a good partner

All the tips for being a good partner boil down to this: be respectful, be inquisitive, and meet people where they’re at. Though most of us want to rule, the current economy is largely based on service: customer service, client service, inter-departmental service within organizations. What do all those things have in common? SERVICE. And being good at service means being good at being respective, inquisitive, and meeting people where they’re at.

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