I’m Telling on You, You Tattletale!

by Vivian Scott
January 2016

Conflicts of Interest Blog by Vivian Scott

Vivian Scott

Every day I check the internet for news.  I’m looking for real news—like the kind of stuff that steers the direction of the world or announces advances in science that will cure some awful condition I might get one day.  Instead of the hefty stories I’m looking for, I much too often see headline after headline talking about how some poor sap feels he was mistreated on a plane, in the local coffee shop, or at work.   He was asked to leave, he was overcharged, he’s being forced to follow the rules of the contract he signed when he took the job, etc., etc.  Gah!

At first I would read the articles in their entirety.  Then I started skimming them.  Then I just got irritated.  When it finally dawned on me that the media outlets reporting such things wouldn’t know about these situations unless someone brought it to their attention, I got really irritated.  Let me explain why.

First, you should know that I’m a big proponent of speaking up.  I’m not one to sit back and watch bad behavior and not say something.  I’ve never been that way so if someone is poking someone else in the eye, I’m fine to tell them to stop no matter how big and scary they look.  If someone is cheating on a test and I know about, I believe I have a responsibility to say something to the teacher.  If I encounter a troublesome situation with a company, I am the first one to reach out to customer service to get it resolved because I believe that if an organization doesn’t know about such things they can’t fix them.  Bottom line—you don’t get to behave badly around me and watch me walk the other day without a word.  So, why do I become so irked over these media stories?

To me there’s a difference between calling out bad actors for the benefit of the greater good and tattling on someone with the intention of being unfairly rewarded.   And, that’s exactly what I think is happening with the tattletale epidemic.   Something didn’t go your way?  Alert the media!  Without trying to resolve an issue professionally and privately we seem to be immediately heading to social media and then sitting back to wait for the big check to arrive.

I don’t know about you, but I’m really disappointed in this approach.  It feels one-sided and selfish and, well, just wrong.  It also feels lazy and dishonest.  So, because I mentioned earlier that I’m not one to sit back and not say anything, I guess this is my way of publically calling out the tattletales.   And, no, the irony is not lost on me.

Biography


Vivian Scott is a Professional Certified Mediator and the author of Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies.  She spent many years in the competitive and often stress-filled world of high tech marketing where she realized resolving conflict within the confines of office politics was paramount to success.  Through creative solutions to common conflicts she was able to bring various entities together, both internally and externally, for the betterment of projects and a productive working environment.     

Prior to retiring from Microsoft in 1999 she developed the “America at Work” video series, a six-part program featuring small businesses employing technology in attention-grabbing ways.  “America at Work” aired on the USA Network and received the Silver Screen Award from the International Film and Video Festival for outstanding creativity.   Using discerning negotiation, mediation, and problem-solving skills, she successfully worked with others to co-create “How-to Guides”, “Seminar in a Box”, and even one of the first on-line Guerrilla Marketing books.   

Since her retirement, Ms. Scott has gone on to earn a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences with a concentration in American Studies from the University of Washington.  She completed an extensive practicum with the Dispute Resolution Center of Snohomish & Island Counties where she has mediated numerous cases, helping parties resolve conflict in workplace, family, and other disputes.  Her private mediation practice has handled cases ranging from assisting business partners in ending their relationship to creating a new working environment within a law firm.  Ms. Scott is a member of the Washington Mediation Association and spends a majority of her time advocating embracing peace in a volatile world.   

Her book, Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies, can be found in bookstores, on www.amazon.com, www.dummies.com, or any number of on-line bookseller sites.    



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