Did you hear what she said today at the meeting? I mean, I can't believe it! Is she for real?...Are you gonna eat that doughnut?...Oh, look who's talking about getting fat...Oh yea? Fine, I'm going back to my desk.
No, the above conversation did not take place in the local high school cafeteria. And no, teenagers are not taking over the office. My theory is that a lot of office workers react to their co-workers (management included) just like they did in high school. As pack animals we humans need to feel well, part of the pack and when we don't we become afraid and angry and then we take our revenge which, comes in many forms: gossip, 'practical jokes,' inappropriate jokes, back stabbing and more gossiping. If you were ever the odd one out you know what I'm talking about.
Whenever I mention my theory to professionals they laugh and say, "That's true, they do act like teenagers." Notice the word "they" in the previous statement. In fact, I recently completed a soft research project and when project participants were asked if they act like teenagers in the workplace they answered "No" however, when asked if their coworkers ever acted like a bratty teen they unequivocally answered, "Of course, all of them."
So, is the workplace like high school only everyone is older and has a bit more discipline and a wee bit more decorum? That depends upon who you ask. We don't need to be more serious in the office, we already have an abundance of seriousness. What's needed is self-reflection, awareness; and sensitivity and understanding of the people we work with.
Class is dismissed.