Trail Etiquette

Yesterday, the storm that blasted across the midwest was scheduled to head to the Chicago area last night and early this morning. In preparation I decided to go to the grocery store and do my weekly shopping last night instead of this weekend. While out, and since it’s been a busy last couple of weeks, I decided I would be nice and get some Ghirardelli chocolates to share with the staff. Most of our staff loves chocolate, so it seemed appropriate. I had purchased an 18.59 ounce bag along with a smaller 4.39 ounce bag. I also decided that it might help with morale a bit. There have been many factors that have been causing the morale level to go down in recent months.

About mid-morning (around 10am or so) I started asking people if they would like any Chocolate. Many said yes and after I gave out some to each person, I would put the big bag back in my lunch bag and zip up the lunch bag. I had followed this procedure for most of the morning.

After lunch I had asked a couple people who work the afternoon shift if they wanted any and gave them some. I went off to fix something and came back to my desk. The bag of chocolate was open in my lunch bag. I was pretty sure I had put the bag of chocolate back into my lunch bag and zipped it back up. I was not 100% sure, so I made sure to close it again and zip up my lunch bag. I went back to fix something else and got back to my desk to see it open again. Now, I knew that had put the chocolate back in my lunch bag and zipped the lunch bag.

You might be thinking, “Big deal. You brought it in to share, what’s the big deal.” The big deal is that if the bag of chocolate was in a communal area, it’s fair game. If it’s locked in somebody’s personal lunch box and take something from them, that does not belong to you. The end result from this that I will not be bringing in anything else to share with everybody. I may still bring things to share with individuals, but not with the entire group. However, if I do decide to do this, it will be a long time before I even contemplate doing so.

I know that I shouldn’t let one person stop me from bringing in things to share again. But it has. It’s not that they wanted the chocolate, it’s the fact that they would go into my personal lunch box and get the chocolate that bothers me. If they’re willing to do this. What else are they willing to take from somebody’s desk or locker? Are they willing to take money, or other personal items?

The biggest issue is that I do not know who decided to go into my personal items and remove things. It would seem to be common sense, but obviously that is too much to ask from some people.

It behoves everybody to show respect for your co-workers. You may be asking, ‘Why’. It’s quite simple. Due to one person’s actions. I can no longer trust that my stuff will be safe. It may come down to me having to bring in a lock and lock everything up. I would hate to do that, but I cannot trust my coworkers anymore.

The part that bothers me even more than going into my personal items is that they have no consideration for anybody else. It’s all about them. It all comes down to not just letting themselves down, but also letting their co-workers down. Think about the next time you do something that may impinge morale at your workplace. What may seem innocuous may actually affect your co-workers more than believed.