The work place, the toxic sludge that takes control of our lives, mostly through being badly managed, has forced a linguistic change that is sad, but appropriate. If someone, during the course of a work-day, says “Thank you,” the universal response from most of those under 50 in today’s office environment is not the accepted, English language standard of “You’re Welcome.’

Instead, what I hear, most of the time, is the linguistic mangle (but far more honest-sadly) response of “No problem.”



What does this mean? Certainly, I was floored the first time I heard it, but some inner-First Voice, First Spirit, that thing which instinct calls upon for survival, told me to remain quiet, not to respond, and to LISTEN.

I am glad that I did, but saddened by the implication. Bad managers have all but ruined the work experience for millions of us in the Western World. I cannot speak about the rest of the world, because of my admittedly limited knowledge. But I can talk about what I have experienced in the work place in my lifetime. At this point, most of the ancien Régime is gone. Every dog has it’s day, and some dogs had way more than their fair share of days. In many ways, good riddance. But some things in the change got lost that need to be found. One of these is good manners & gracious speech.

What has come to replace managers who inspired loyalty, and who looked out for the welfare of the people who worked for them, seems to be a set of deranged people Hell-bent upon inflicting misery upon others, and of being the source of problems, rather than appreciators & mentors of the efforts of others. Most of today’s managers do not understand the concept that those who report to them, those who do the work, are their most precious asset.

This, I think, is why “You’re welcome” has become linguistically outmoded, and replaced with the jaded, but more accurate response of “No problem.” Those who respond in this manner are expressing some degree of relief that they are not being hurled by name up & down a vicious chain-of-command in an eMail exchange about some miniscule error. They are expressing relief that they are not being called into a closed-door meeting (sans reliable witnesses, to be grilled to the nth degree about the concept of insubordination, a technique commonly used by inept managers who need to bully). Yes, sadly, the change in language only reflects the reality of the work place–in what should be an enlightened 21st Century, we are confronted with/by/for “No Problem.” At least, for now….”Thank you, Marie Dubuque.”

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