I know I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. I guess part of me still expects people to behave and know better.
I found it surprising and discouraging at how much gossip floated around among the professionals gathered at this conference. I realize that all of us are considered experts in our fields and that we all have our own ideas about the best ways of accomplishing things. But I still expect professionals to extend courtesy to one another at all times. Yet, I often heard various people criticizing their colleagues, both from the same office and from other institutions, about their personalities, about their leadership skills, about their ideas, and so on and so forth.
It reminded me that no matter how successful people become, people are still people, still prone to flaws and weaknesses and shortcomings. We are all still proud, arrogant people, and we all still make mistakes. I would have liked to see less of the backbiting and more of the professional courtesy (though there was certainly no shortage of that, either).
I look at it this way – I don’t like to be talked badly about by my friends and colleagues, so I don’t like to talk badly about them. It’s the application of the Golden Rule again. I just wish more adults could, and would, act in a mature manner. I was taught that it’s not polite to talk about people behind their backs. It seems that not everyone was taught that lesson.