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Friday, October 16, 2009

Inappropriate Comments

I work for an engineering/construction company. Most of my time (up until the last 6 months) has been spent in the "field" working on a job site. I don't know how many of you have worked in the construction industry or know much about it but it has the reputation of being a somewhat rough environment. The work itself is rough in nature but more than that the people who perform this work are a crotchety group. When I started I fit in pretty well with the work part of the job, but my personality was not up to par with my coworkers (I know, many of you might be surprised). Over the years I have picked up some unwanted habits and personality traits from my surrounds. One of these traits that I had before hand but was sharpened in the field was that of making inappropriate comments. I'm not proud of this skill set, but I am good at it. This whole intro leads into a story...

One of the superintendents (we'll call him "Umberto") that I started my career with is a younger married guy. His wife also started working for the company as a project controller a year or so ago. I developed a friendly relationship with both of them because they remind me a lot of my family (sense of humor, personality, even their physical appearance is somewhat similar).

A few months ago the woman (we'll call her "Sally") was getting ready to have her second child. Her first child, a boy, was a 10+ pound baby. This was not a surprise because the both of them are big people and from what I've been told come from big families. Now when I say "big" I do not mean "FAT", I mean they are both tall and are not small boned(the husband was a college football player, if that makes it easier to envision). Well, when the second child came due "Sally" looked like she was either having twins or having the worlds largest baby. I, along with others in the office joked with her about this because she had a good sense of humor and told us about the doctors visits where they would tell her the child was on his way to being a 12 lb baby at birth. They scheduled a C-section and she went on maternity leave the day before the procedure.

That same day the company put a card up front for everyone to sign that congratulated her on the birth of her new son. Me being the person that I am, I hate writing "Congratulations" or "Happy Birthday!" and then just signing my name below it in the card. I try and make every comment memorable so that people don't read it and think "Thanks jackass's for the generic card" (at least that's what I think about those cards just before they hit the bottom of the trash can). So in "Sally's" card I wrote, "You know what else weighs 12 lbs? A Thanksgiving turkey. Congratulations, Chris." Knowing "Sally" & "Umberto" I could see them laughing when they read the card and I myself laughed out loud (or LOL for you kids) as I finished the comment.

Fast forward to today: Sally walked in to my office (its more like a work area that I share (unimportant)) and said, "I just wanted to tell you I would not have though your comments were "inappropriate" and I'm sorry you were reprimanded for them." Thouroughly confused, I asked her what the heck she was talking about? She then told me the story about the card getting confiscated/destroyed and how a new one was sent around the office secretly to be signed by everyone but me and that I was supposed to of been set down with the OM to talk about my "inappropriate comments". I told her that I did not know of any of this and that I was now very embarrassed. She reassured me that when she found out about the first card she LMAO or I guess, LHerAO and when she told "Umberto" he did the same. I guess it all worked out in the end and in the best way possible. I never knew there was a problem.

On a final thought...I'm not so much embarassed of my comments but more the fact that I'm "that guy". I'm the one who makes the inappropriate comments!?... Oh well, I guess you've got to be known for something.