"We" vs. "They"

I was on the phone today with a hotel, confirming my reservations. The reservations agent asked me for my name and then said "Let's see how they have your reservation set up."

"They"?

If I'm calling your hotel, isn't it "we"?

I come across this too frequently when talking to association staffers about what they need to do in the database. I'll often hear things like "…they want…" or "…they have set it up this way…". Maybe I'm overreacting, but if you work in the association, then you're part of a "we," not a "they." And if you really feel like it's us against them, then perhaps you should find another job.

Granted, you may not have power over all decisions, so in some cases "they" might refer to senior management. But more often than not, I think "they" really means the person saying it doesn't feel like they're part of the team. And that's a problem.

What about you? When you refer to the organization that employs you, do you say "we" or "they"?

About Wes Trochlil

For a quarter century, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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