I am currently a trainer for the state and as such I am well aware of the adage of knowing your audience so you get the best results. Unfortunately, I am the ONLY trainer in my section, oh heck there is only one of me in the whole organization. No I am not bragging but I do forget as a result not everyone knows this little adage. Enter the events of today.
We are sitting in on a webinar, now I am a tech guru so I am there in case it goes down as it is being broadcast in two rooms simultaneously. The first participant comes in and while she is in our office area she does not usually talk to me directly. Well we are sitting there and she keeps checking her phone. I say nothing, not my place I am here in case something crashes. She looks up at me and says “Oh I am waiting for my doctor’s office to call.” I nod again not my business.
She then proceeds to tell me all about the fact she is undergoing IVF and the intimate details of all of it. I don’t say a lot but nope this is not appropriate, she doesn’t know me we are just in the same section on this floor. But anyway she continues about how hard it has been, the couple of fails along the way and how she is not trying to get too excited this time BUT two are fertilized so maybe she can have twins. I smile and nod but inside I am fuming.
The webinar is over and I go back to my cubicle. My cubicle mate looks at me and says “OK so I know it crashed and you brought it back up quickly but you looked pissed and so what else happened?” I proceed to tell her what the first participant told me and my cubicle mate’s mouth dropped open. She stared at me and said “OMG how could she be so cruel?”
Well she did not know of course and meant no harm.She did not know that of all the parents in the office I am the sole parent of adopted children because of all the medical interventions possible, nothing would make it possible for me to actually HAVE children of my own. I am angry and yet I am not. It is not her fault but still why blurt out all your personal business to someone who you really only know by name. What if I was younger? What if I was back 20 years and it was still so raw?
My cubicle mate sarcastically said “You should educate her” but no that won’t happen after all my personal business is just that personal. But really I feel for all the younger people, who are not where I am and still feeling this pain raw. I remember only two years ago comforting someone at work because we had a baby shower for a coworker and she just lost it after so many years of trying. I thought of her and felt badly.
Before you talk…know your audience for everyone’s sake.