Excuse me, but did you just call me “mate”?

In the past few weeks, I’ve read several articles addressing a possible ban on the word “mate” in the halls of Parliament House. According to CNEWS.com:

“It’s pomposity gone mad,” Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke said. “It’s not surprising. In a sense we’re living in an age where the concept of mateship has been damaged to a fairly large extent by a lot of the approaches of this government.”

“It is a great part of Australian culture that we do call each other mate,” said federal Labor leader Kim Beazley. “That (Parliament House) is a palace of democracy, not the palace of imperial Rome.”

Asked if he minded being called mate in Parliament House, Mr Beazley replied “I insist on it”.

“I think that one of the great things is the friendliness of the staff in this place and to even suggest to them that they can’t call you mate when you’re coming in of a morning…,” Senator Bob Brown said. “And it’s the great leveller, it keeps us – in particular us elected members of parliament – in touch with reality.

This takes me back to my days at the furniture store in Portland. I worked with a predominately Mexican employee base, and I’ll never forget my first day. The moment I stepped into the warehouse every one of the guys started calling me hommie. It was great. I felt part of the team immediately! It was their version of “mate.”

Working at the Ritz Carlton was similar, but with a Bosnian culture. Their version of “mate” was “my friend.” And everyone – even if we’d just met – called each other “my friend.”

Now that’s a friendly workplace.

(For a complete analysis of the word “mate,” check out a geat post from Darrel Rhea’s blog.)


What’s your version of “mate”?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag


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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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