When Life in the Workplace Becomes Too Casual

this is one woman's story about being called by her nickname

I’m Losing It…

You Don’t Have the Right to Call Me … DEBBIE

When life in the workplace becomes too casual

-Deborah Perry Piscione

upset business womanWord Up! You don’t have the right to call me Debbie or Deb or “D.” Got it?

 I got an e-mail the other day from someone I had just met at a conference where I was presenting as CEO of our company. The e-mail began, “Hi Debbie.” I immediately got ennui, and irritated as hell thereafter. This guy is trying to sell me something … What’s up?

What part of my business card which reads “D-E-B-O-R-A-H” gave this guy authority to address me as Debbie? Debbie was the name I was called as a child, mostly when I was in trouble. Even worse, I was teased in the seventh grade, for “Debbie” always evoked that infamous porn “Debbie Does _____” you knowthat BIG city in Texas. I hated the name Debbie growing up (I was named after Debbie Reynolds, but somehow the star glamour of her name evoked images of bouncy cheerleader or porn star). Mom definitely thought I’d be a 10-year-old girl the rest of my life, negating one day that I might have a career (not as a non-porn star).

Anyway, when did the workplace become so casual – that people think that it is OK to simplify or “cute”sify your name?

I moved from professional, elegant Washington, D.C., to not-so-professional and not-so-elegant Silicon Valley – where the 20-something CEO of Facebook prides himself on fleece and flip flops no matter whether in the company of office peers or Fortune 50 executives. I miss the days when the workplace meant something – when people actually took a little pride in how they dressed, how they conducted themselves, how they didn’t gripe putting in long hours when they are paying their dues, and/or respected their elders for what they could learn from them.

I get that the younger generation is changing the way we work, but we still have to be grateful to those who pay our paychecks. Especially these days, and for the next “who knows when.”

What’s your irritant in the workplace?


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0 thoughts on “When Life in the Workplace Becomes Too Casual

  1. Manicmommy says:

    I think this depends on who’s doing the ‘name’ calling. In Toys R Us, the cashier girl who was about 18 called me HON. I said, “Did you call me hon?” She said Yes. I actually said, “That’s Cute!”

  2. sally says:

    I wouldn’t make too much of some sales person trying to engender familiarity with you. They do it all the time. However, I agree that professionalism seems be going away on vacation these days.

  3. Jane Chase says:

    Don’t take it so seriously, the “kids” these days dont’ know “Debbie” the porn star whom did the city, they don’t know Debbie Reynolds, or any other cultural history past 10 years. They haven’t a clue

  4. deborah says:

    I’m sorry but I think it is wrong to assume comfort in people calling “you” whatever “they” are comfortable. I think people have to be respectful in addressing you how you introduce yourself.

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