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Was I wrong to 'act out'?

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by Mathloom, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. Mathloom

    Mathloom Shameless Optimist
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    So I just had a meeting with a few people. As part of my job, a lot of people try to kiss ass and when they do, it annoys me very much. I seriously go out of my way to either make sure they know there is no benefit in doing so, or I tell them outright if they persist.

    The meeting I just had started with a conversation about the circumstances in the Middle East right now. The dude had just come back from Bahrain and I asked how things were over there.

    Now in case you're not following, thousands of people have died and it's generally a very bitter (deaths) and sweet (more freedom) situation.

    This guy starts talking about how he loves the conflict in the region as it's doing wonders for Dubai economically speaking. Bahrain is the other financial centre in the region, and Bahrain/Egypt are top tourist destinations for Saudis/Qataris, Iran is under strict sanctions, oil is shooting up, Libya isn't able to produce as much oil, etc. Purely economically speaking, it's a very good situation for the UAE right now. I can also tell he's blowing this out of proportion because I'm from the UAE and there's this unfortunate culture of expats wanting to befriend Emiratis even if it's by saying the most racist, idiotic, inappropriate thing. It's things like "we all hate the British, hahaha", and "the government should be stricter on expats (himself an expat)" etc. I don't know how to explain it, if you've visited, you know what I mean and it's just very irritating. So anyways, he brings up the whole "this is great for business thing" with an elbow nudge as if to say I must be loving this.

    I got very annoyed because he kept going on and on about how he loves it, how he hopes more of this happens and brings business to Dubai, bla bla bla just generally not a thread of sadness/emotion for the resulting deaths. The guy has lived here for a long time as well, and he has family in the region.

    So I snapped for a second. Just with a very irritated voice I said I hope any profit we make from this we send back to the families of those who died for the cause. At this point, he understands I'm annoyed as there's an awkward pause. I say "anyway, moving on" and we carry on with the meeting and I was able to compeltely block it out.

    Obviously I should have been more professional and just ignored it, but just kind of lost it for a split second.

    If you were in my place, how would you react? (Not asking how you SHOULD react)

    Should I apologize?
     
  2. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    Why should you apologize? If everything happened as you describe it, your reaction was the right one.

    I find it interesting, though, that he expected to befriend you by saying the most racist, idiotic, inappropriate thing. Must have worked for him in the past, with other Emiratis, I guess?
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. CrazyDave

    CrazyDave Contributing Member

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    Is he your boss, a big client, or someone who can affect the decisions of either?

    I don't think you were out of line. Maybe it was unnecessary, and if it could adversely affect something perhaps short sighted, but I don't blame you, and I don't think an apology would help much.
     
  4. RV6

    RV6 Contributing Member

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    i think that's hardly "acting out". Doesn't sound like you did anything that requires an apology. Was he embarassed or angry? It sounds like you both brushed it off after the pause and it was forgotten.
     
  5. Mathloom

    Mathloom Shameless Optimist
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    None. Don't want to say exactly what I do, but basically I am the regulator and he is the regulated.

    I wouldn't apologize out of fear for my job or profit (he's fully aware of complaints procedures if he found that necessary), I'm just considering apologizing because it may have been rude.
     
  6. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    Why do you think it could have been rude? Because of the tone? From what you describe, what he said is so offensive that it warrants a harsh tone.
     
  7. CrazyDave

    CrazyDave Contributing Member

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    Don't care what you do, just wondering if that was the motivation, because otherwise it doesn't sound like you were out of line or rude. He may think you're a bit sensitive, but you may think he's a jackass, so no biggie. I wouldn't draw any more attention to it. It's only as big a deal as you make it.
     
  8. Mathloom

    Mathloom Shameless Optimist
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    I feel it may have been a bit disrespectful.

    They do that because on average every Emirati is exponentially more influential than an expat. That's largely because we're more integrated into the business network (by virtue of being here longer) and historically more inclined to pursue networking opportunities. Given that we're a small local population, and expats generally last roughly 5 years in the country, makes us valuable in the country. There's lots of stuff that comes into play (local ownership requirements for example), but generally I don't think the ass-kissing success rate is proportionally different to anywhere else lol
     
  9. Mathloom

    Mathloom Shameless Optimist
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    Yeah, I guess it's the fact that it's at work (Rather than a social setting) and he's significantly older than me that's making me think twice about it.
     
  10. Mathloom

    Mathloom Shameless Optimist
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    Yeah he was embarassed for a second, but then I moved on quickly. Don't think he was angry.
     
  11. Mr. Brightside

    Mr. Brightside Contributing Member

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    Don't understand why you got emotional over something that doesn't affect you.
     
  12. dharocks

    dharocks Contributing Member

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    If he got emotional, by definition doesn't that kind of mean he's affected by the situation?

    Edited to add: It's pretty common for people to feel emotional responses to things that don't directly impact their lives. If you sincerely have difficulty understanding that, I'm sorry but you're kind of obtuse. If you're just trying to stir ***** up for some reason, carry on.
     
    #12 dharocks, Feb 23, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011
  13. Mathloom

    Mathloom Shameless Optimist
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    How are you defining 'affect'?
     
  14. Mr. Brightside

    Mr. Brightside Contributing Member

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    Meaning does it personally affect you, your family, your friends or the company you work for? Like has anyone you know been physically hurt in the violence?
     
  15. Mr. Brightside

    Mr. Brightside Contributing Member

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    Sure, everyone feels some sort of emotion to any event, but most people don't act on that emotion. Meaning if someone doesn't share my same viewpoint on say something like the war on terror or gay marriage, I'm not going to raise my voice or lash out at them for having their own opinion. I'll just shake my head, smile and change the subject.
     
  16. Dubious

    Dubious Contributing Member

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    When you affect a situation, you have an effect on it.

    But this from the BBC:


    Have you been affected? Do you have relatives in Libya? Send us your comments.
     
    #16 Dubious, Feb 23, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011
  17. dmc89

    dmc89 Member

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    I've also found myself in similar situations at times, but I never lash out simply because the person making the insensitive comment was considerably more influential than me, and my job or business for my firm would be at stake.

    Two examples:

    1) Partner makes a joke about how American soldiers shouldn't have signed up for the military if they didn't want to get shot at. He said this after a meeting with a major defense contractor and vehicle manufacturer regarding armoring - they went with the cheaper/basic option as per govt contract.

    2) Senior associate wanted to have free lunch, dinner, and drinks at a posh restaurant paid by a pharmaceutical company, but one of my colleagues voiced his hesitations. A large antimalarial drug contract was at stake, and the company wanted a third world country's health care system to pay exorbitant fees in spite of how many lives were at stake.

    Our boss said that's capitalism and not eating free food would be a waste. Still, we didn't go but that colleague's career took a hit. Ironically he now uses antidepressants made by the same company.
     
  18. Mathloom

    Mathloom Shameless Optimist
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    I think we are probably just different people with different ways of thinking. It does affect family and friends (wrt to Bahrain), but not in Egypt/Libya but I am/was equally perplexed about Egypt/Libya. I'm not sure why I would care if it hurt the company I work for unless it was my company - losing my job/money isn't the thing that makes me care about it. Should I not care if someone rapes children in Indonesia just because it doesn't affect me according to your definition?

    I understand what you're saying, but we're not talking about a difference of opinion here. I completely agree with him that economically speaking what's happening is great for Dubai, and it would continue to benefit Dubai if it continued. My issue is with his obliviousness to lives lost as a result of these conflicts, while he laughs it up about the money he expects to make. Only Egypt and Tunisia have succeeded in overthrowing the government, Bahrainis and Libyans are waiting like clay pigeons for their fate right now. Is there anyone of the opinion that it's ok to be happy about that situation due to its profitability?
     
  19. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
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    Depends. I would have been hard pressed not to react the same way, but if it's a professional setting, part of your job, and you aren't expected to make strong personal comments during a business meeting (and generally you're supposed to leave the emotional reactions/comments/responses outside of a professional setting, depending on the job, of course), then you were probably out of line. Not knowing more about the circumstance and being forced to view the situation as a typical business meeting, yeah, it was unprofessional, based on what you related in your OP. If it's bugging you a lot, you could catch the person where you aren't being overheard and tell him/her that you intended no personal disrespect, that it just came out, and that it was a comment better left for a social situation.

    Knowing myself, I'd just blow it off. Only you can determine if that's the wrong tact to take. By the way, thousands of dead? My impression was that the numbers, while horrific, of course, were considerably less than that.
     
  20. Air Langhi

    Air Langhi Contributing Member

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    Don't worry Saudi and uae won't be far behind. One of my Saudi friends was telling me how it would be better to apply as an American than a Saudi.
     

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