‘They want you to take down your decoration.’
Who are ‘they?’ was my wife’s reaction. She remembers the event well. One of her coworkers had popped up over the cube wall to tell her this. She gets a little teary recalling it. In her email to her team that she was made to write addressing the situation, she courageously wrote, ‘If you have feedback for me, I’d appreciate it if you’d bring it to me directly.’
This is about linguistics, again. Sorry.
Like the conjunction ‘but,’ using the word ‘they’ can become a habit. Mostly because it’s easy. It can be innocent enough. ‘Where’s the apple park?’ Sefton asks us as we drive by where the playground used to be. ‘They tore it down and are going to build a new park,’ we tell him. We don’t really know who ‘they’ are. The fine men and women of the PUD, likely. No worries.
Using ‘they’ to hide behind, to be vague, isn’t as innocent. The key? Being aware when you're using it and when you hear it. Like K’s reaction, call out when you hear it. Ask who ‘they’ actually are, put a name to ‘they’. When you’re about to use ‘they’ because it’s easy, be upfront and just use an actual name, or names. If it takes some guts, props.