Except for putting us on

Except for putting us on the spot about what the heck we’re doing during the work day, Joshua Sharf is fast becoming our favorite correspondent. His latest message picks up where Rocket Man left off below:
“As for Difficult Conversations, I have a copy of the book, and see where the notion could be very useful in a business environment. It’s not just about negotiation, but about how to talk about subjects that we would rather avoid, and talk about them constructively. Criticizing an employee, handling a conflict between work and social relationships, etc. Businessmen and lawyers need these skills. Incoming students are frequently unprepared to talk about real-life work examples, since they don’t know the basic ethical and legal constraints involved. So it makes sense to apply the skill to a common social problem the students have probably already encountered.
“The problem seems to be, as always, in the underlying assumptions of the cases involved. ‘How to break up with your boyfriend’ is already a little loaded. Why not girlfriend instead? But more importantly, we all know what’s coming next: ‘How to confront a racist,’ ‘How to tell your parents you’re gay,’ ‘How to tell your company you’re about to whistleblow on their enviro-racist policies.’ ‘How to defend yourself against unfair charges of workplace bias’ probably does not make the list.”

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