In a different take on yesterday’s post about age, a reader writes:
I’m a young female employee who began working in September for a large manufacturing company at their corporate headquarters. My boss came to the company about a month after me from our number one competitor. He has been in the industry for his entire career and is very well respected and knowledgeable. He is also my father’s age and I am his daughter’s age. Coincidentally, I graduated from the London School of Economics in 2009 and his daughter finished there just this last year. So we have many similar traits.
I believe it is for this reason that he calls me “kiddo” often enough that I am more than slightly bothered by it. My position of sales analyst is part of a graduate training program that the company implemented last year so it would seem that I have kind of an “intern” position to him (although that is certainly not the case). But I am not really sure how to tell him politely that I do not wish to be referred to as “kiddo” and that, although I am his daughter’s age, I am actually a professional working for the company and would prefer to be treated as such.
I don’t want to take a harsh stance whatsoever but can you please suggest a kind yet effective way of getting my point across?
Personally, I’d be more interested in the substance of how he treats you than whether he calls you “kiddo” or not. Does he take you seriously, take your work seriously, and give real credence to your input? If so, I’d be inclined to think you’re being too sensitive because he’s not, in fact, treating you like a kid, and he’s showing he respects your work. In that case, I’d assume he’s simply using a gender-neutral, friendly nickname.
Of course, it’s still your prerogative to say, “Hey, could you not call me kiddo because I’d like to be taken seriously around here,” but if you already are being taken seriously, then I’m just not sure it’s worth caring about.
However, if he doesn’t seem to take you seriously, and condescends to you in other ways, then I’d address that head-on. In that case, the nickname is more a symptom of a larger problem, and it’s the larger problem that you should address.