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I'd love to hear some input on the following.

I'm 'lucky enough' to be blessed with a short & stocky frame (5'6" and doing my best to maintain a 33" waist). I'm no stranger to short and stocky humor and find I do best to not engage and let it pass. People generally pick up on my lack of engagement and seem a bit embarrassed to being such a jack-ass. For the first time I have to face a bit of this at work. Today I received two semi-secret gifts. Miniature Garden gnomes...

Ok... good one guys. I already knew that the shop floor guys have given me that nick name. All the management types have nick names and garden gnome isn't too bad considering the others.

I called these semi-secret gifts because at the afternoon holiday function I came into my office/cube space and effectively caught two of santa's little helpers dropping off the gift(s). I didn't realize what exactly they were doing and they promptly left (giggling). These two are not from the shop floor. They are from a department I expect a bit more from. Their deparment happens to be the same department that I've been pointing a microscope at.

My initial inclination is to put the gifts away, take a personal note, and other wise ignore the incident. What would you do?

Mark's picture

Ignore them. One does not answer inappropriateness with inappropriateness. That is a common etiquette error.

Being the OBJECT of another's humor makes them the butt of their own joke. If they're not smart enough to see that, they're either not smart enough to change or too ugly to hear your response with any grace.

Smile and shake it off. It never happened.

Merry Christmas!

Mark

jcnick's picture

Thanks Mark.

Merry Christmas!

stephenbooth_uk's picture

Ignore it, but don't forget it.

If you raise it at all then you'll just look like a killjoy who can't take a bit of good natured humour (no matter how evil and corrosive their intention was the perpetrators will say it was good natured). It could also harm your credibility if you ever have to take any action in relation to that department (you mentioned you had it under a microscope), it could be framed as revenge. If someone else raises it then shrug and maybe comment about how it didn't take much imagination but other than that stay silent.

Stephen

ramiska's picture

Ignore it. Remember, along with the flashing light on your head, you also have a target on your back. Be the adult. :)

asteriskrntt1's picture

Joe,

I have the same frame as you, except I am no where close to a 33 inch waist, so congrats on your self discipline and your efforts. To the best of my knowledge as an adult, I have never been ridiculed or maligned for my physicality in or out of the workplace. I work very hard on conducting myself in a way that gives me a presence much beyond my height, with Manager Tools playing a big part in that.

The best thing to do (ok, maybe not THE best but it is up there) is to take the advice of the previous posters along with working on your self esteem to ensure that your height is not an issue to YOU. Once it is not an issue to you, it won't be to anyone else.

*RNTT aka your portly garden gnome MT buddy

Mark's picture

Let me just suggest here that I don't think Joe's self esteem is anybody's business but his own. I would never encourage someone to "work on [their] self esteem."

I think that when we suggest that small minded callous jerks who poke fun at others are only taking advantage of one's own self-admitted weaknesses we lend credence to their attack. And talk about a smack at diversity!

You needn't do anything with your self esteem, Jcnick, whether you think you are Tiger Woods or borderline depressed. The other people's behaviors have NOTHING to do with YOU or HOW YOU LOOK. They have EVERYTHING to do with THEIR OWN issues.

They're wrong. You're not. Continue to be so by ignoring their stupidity.

Mark

jcnick's picture

Thanks to all who responded. I'm not worried about this from an esteem view point. The teflon installed by my parents is much too thick.

To continue the discussion a bit (if there is interest): How does the response change, if at all, if the gift givers were directs?

Mark's picture

Sorry - hypothetical.

Mark

rthibode's picture

Hey Joe,

I know Mark doesn't like hypotheticals, so I'll play.

If the whole situation were the same but the two "jokers" were my directs, I would still ignore it. Your staff will always talk behind your back, and poking fun at your physical appearance is really childish and stupid but perhaps not as bad as other things they could say.

However, if they did this to someone else, my whole response would change. Definitely I'd offer developmental (i.e., "adjusting") feedback to the individuals involved (separately).

E.g. "Hey Norm, can I give you some feedback? When you make jokes at the expense of others, I question your judgement and professionalism. What can you do differently?"

By the way, when you describe your build, it really seems quite average to me. Perhaps your colleagues wouldn't make gnome jokes if you [i]really [/i]were built like one?

stephenbooth_uk's picture

If the perpetrators are your directs then the only thing I can think of to add to my previous comment is that you now have more evidence as to their professionalism to take into account when it comes to recommending directs for development opportunities.

Stephen

asteriskrntt1's picture

I got news for you. What do you think you are doing when you use continuous positive reinforcement and all the one on ones and the DISC techniques? It is working on your and their self esteem. You don't want to say it overtly, fine.