Unless you are my older relative, a sarcastic friend, or the person I’m dating, you are not allowed to call me petnames. It’s weird and creepy. It’s also harassment.
My name is not “Sweetheart.” My name is not “Honey,” or is this a horribly made movie from 2003 (see the imbd page here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0322589/). I like to be called by my name when people know my name.
If you don’t know someone’s name, there are still plenty of very appropriate ways to address them. For example, if you see a young woman in your office and she drops a paper, you can call after her by saying, “Miss!” or “Excuse me, ma’am!” or just say, “Wait!” All of these are still respectful, appropriate and will get her attention most likely.
If you do know someone’s name, use it. Do not nickname a co-worker unless you have solid rapport or they nickname you first. If you are not equals on the corporate ladder or in similar positions in your organization, respect that. You wouldn’t call your boss a petname, and giving one to an employee below you in rank is highly inappropriate. In fact, it’s harassment.
If a man at work calls me, “Sweetheart” he is sexually harassing me.
If a woman at works calls me, “Sweetheart” is that also harassment?
I know it’s well-meaning, and comes from an odd maternal place, but that’s not okay. There shouldn’t be a double-standard when it comes to harassment. Continual, repeated instances of disrespectful language, even between women, amount to harassment. Women can be perpetrators of harassment, of assault, of abuse, and of sexual violence. Women are not always victims, either.
In my case, these are women who are notably older than me, who are asserting themselves into a maternal or mentoring role without my permission and without reason are unwelcome. I have a boss. I have a mentor. I have a mother. I don’t need your weird petnames. I don’t need to be cooed.
My name is not Sweetie and I will not tolerate being talked to like a dog or a baby in the workplace.
In conclusion, my name is Patty.