Renee is on holiday this week, so you’ve got me (Richard Lambert) writing the HR blog – what an opportunity to rant!)
Camping is a wonderful thing but doesn’t offer much by way of discretion, especially of the verbal kind.
By that, I mean fellow campers can hear every word (and sound) you make and you can hear them.
Not too much of an issue unless you are experiencing the great outdoors with a ten year old boy who would make the lawyers on ‘Have I got News For You’ shake their heads and mutter ‘You can’t say that!’
Let me give you an example. When we arrived at the campsite the tent went up a treat and we were able to get on to the serious business of blowing up the airbeds pretty quickly. I was getting something from the boot of the car when I heard the immortal words float from the tent: ‘Dad, how hard do you like it?’
Heads turned and I made my way in shame back to our erection… no, I didn’t mean that! I meant our tent. Now he’s got me at it… no, I didn’t mean that, either!
Oh, please help me. What can I say and not get lambasted by the Language Police for being a totally inappropriate father?
But there’s a serious point here. A couple of years back I was working in a business that was growing fast. So fast that some departments were in Portacabins in the car park and had to fill up jugs in the main building with water for coffee.
One, rather, well, ermmm, endowed (am I allowed to say that?) lady took two jugs to fill up. A builder from the next door site saw her and before he could say ‘politically correct’ had shouted ‘Nice Jugs’ across fence.
Our lady took offence at this and reported him to the site manager and, as the company had a policy of zero tolerance on this type of thing, the guy was fired on the spot.
I’m not saying we should tolerate the sort of thing he said. I’m not even saying he shouldn’t have got fired (although I don’t think he should have been and, actually, neither did the lady who reported him. She’d done it in a fit of pique, just as he’d shouted at her without thinking). I just think we need to get a sense of proportion about what’s appropriate and what isn’t… and then spell it out.
David Cameron has promised to get rid of this ridiculous era of political correctness and litigation culture we find ourselves in.
Let’s hope he does it quickly.