Don't Pretend to Work -- and Don't Let Them Pretend to Pay You
My first clue that conflict could be downright silly came to me in a real, old-fashioned soda fountain -- part of my boyhood in 1950s Jacksonville, Florida.
My Mom and my Aunt Agnes had been shopping with their kids: me, my sister Jennifer, and cousins Jack and Kathy. Jack and I were around 8 or 9; our sisters were a few years younger. The soda fountain in the neighborhood drug store seemed as good a place as any for a break so we all settled in at the counter.
It was a typical hot and humid North Florida day; a nice cold drink would really hit the spot.
When the waitress ("server" wouldn't become a term for several decades) brought our orders, she accidentally switched the girls' drinks: Kathy got Jennifer's Pepsi, Jennifer got Kathy's 7-up. It happens.
Kids are quick to spot an injustice, and we were no exception. Each of the girls took it as a personal outrage that not only did she receive the WRONG drink, but her cousin had gotten what SHE wanted instead! Oh, the horror!
Our culture encourages us to believe that others can and should define our value -- starting with the feeding frenzy for "good grades" and leading up to "The job pays $XXX" as you are shown to your cubicle.