Friday, August 08, 2008

That Damn Bike

Someone I know told me about an exchange between a manager and one of her direct reports. It was about another co-worker that I will call Ludwig, who does a combo bike/bus commute to his job. One day earlier this week, Ludwig had to leave work unexpectedly to deal with a situation at home. Ludwig's bus doesn't run very often outside of commute hours, so Ludwig's spouse had to pick him and his bike up and give him a ride in the car. The salient part of the discussion went something like this:

Manager: I can't believe that Ludwig pedals that damn bike to work. Now this situation happens and his wife has to pick him up.

Manager's Direct Report: Yeah, and he even got hit by a car twice pedaling that damn bike to work.

Of course, my friend who overhears all of this also commutes to work by bicycle. At this time, his bicycle is next to his desk in plain view. This whole exchange is wrong on so many levels:

- 1: Talking about a co-worker behind his back.

- 2: Marginalizing Ludwig's choice to pedal to work.

- 3: Implying that Ludwig was responsible for being hit because he pedals to work. My friend knows the circumstances of both collisions, Ludwig was not at fault in either case.

- 4: Taking a passive-aggressive jab at my friend, who was not part of the conversation. (This did happen in Minnesota and the people involved are card carrying native Minnesotans, compete with cabins).


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