May I speak with your Manager?

I swear, even though I am a privileged, mid-30s, white lady, I’ve never asked to speak to a manager for a negative reason.

You know why?

Feedback

I studied classical voice in college. I soon realized that I would rarely, if ever get positive feedback from my professors. Not because I was bad (though sometimes I was), but because they were using our valuable time to point out areas for improvement.

When I began teaching, I felt I understood both sides of this. Yes, we don’t have time in a one hour lesson to gush about how each thing you’re doing correctly. But it can be exhausting to only hear criticism, no matter how valuable it is. So, I often failed at this, but I did try to include positives mixed in with suggestions for improvement.

Good News

In 2009, I made a different goal for each month. I think this only lasted about four months, because I got married that year. Here’s what I remember:

  • Volunteer each week
  • Support my friends in their artistic endeavors (the way I hope they’d support me!)
  • Make a point to offer positive feedback

The last two are habits I’ve tried to keep up since then. When I have a good experience at a store or restaurant, I try to remember the employee’s name. I call, ask to speak to a manager, and tell them what a great job that person did.

I swear, I’m a Sarah!

What’s this lady’s name?

I was pondering my own Karen-ness recently. And I thought, what would happen to make me ask to speak to a manager? I think perhaps if an employee made me feel unsafe, I would talk to the manager about it.

I’ve heard someone say that calling someone a Karen is a sexist term. I suppose that’s true in the sense that it’s a label only for women. But, really, it’s more making fun of entitlement than the gender as a whole.

I don’t love name-calling, even if I agree with the name. I am not inclined to call someone a “Karen” or a “Chad” or a “pig” or a “bootlicker” or a “Nazi” (unless they are a part of the Nazi party, I guess). I’d rather describe their behavior and why it’s problematic.

And if someone calls me a Karen, that’s an opportunity for me to look at myself and see if I’m acting entitled.

Question

What do you think of the term “Karen”?

What name have you been called? Is it true?

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