It’s Your Choice

Sometimes, you can either be right or you can have peace. That’s the best advice I ever got from my paternal grandfather. As I go through life, I realize just how true this advice truly is.

I was in the sixth grade – I lived with my paternal grandparents in Atlanta, Georgia – while we were making the transition to Maryland. I spent a lot of time with them: many summers, while mom and dad were in grad school, and other occasions too.

One day, my grandmother (we called her Bama – sounds like BammMa) was fussing at Papa.  The thing is, she thought he had done something that he in fact hadn’t done. I only know he hadn’t done it because I was there and saw everything. When she finished fussing, she marched off to the kitchen to make dinner. Confused, I asked Papa, “Why didn’t you speak up and tell her you didn’t do it?” That’s when he told me that sage advice. “You can either be right or you can have peace. Sometimes you can’t have both.” He went on to tell me about picking your battles. Through the years, I noticed him sit silently quite often while she fussed at him. They’re gone now, and I miss them so. Their wisdom has carried me through many difficulties.

I didn’t really get it then. But, I get it now.  All things don’t require a fight. Many things don’t even require a response. Once you learn when to let things go, life becomes so much simpler.

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Done With Best Buy

I have been shopping online for years. I remember when I got hooked. There was a site, Amazon which was the first online store to catch my eye. I was among the first people to use the site. I was invited to set up an account and order things back in 1994 when the site first launched. I certainly didn’t have much discretionary income to do frivolous spending then. But I signed up, nonetheless. I’ve been a big online shopping ever since. I even blogged on this point previously in my post Shopping Fiends.

I usually have very few problems with my online purchases. I have only had two incidents worthy of attention. I blogged on it a few weeks ago in my post Penny’s Has Failed Again. I had another troubling experience with a purchase I made with Best Buy.

My Keurig, several years old, is on its last leg. I need to get a new one. I did some Google searches and found the one I wanted. I even found a page that linked to the Keurig on the Best Buy website. So, on September 16, 2019, I placed the order. It even offered to have the item delivered to me at home the next day at no extra charge. That sweetened the pot. I ordered it.

The next day, which was a Tuesday, I rushed home after work looking for my package on my welcome mat, but it wasn’t there. Shortly thereafter, I received a text from Best Buy that my Keurig was out of stock. I also couldn’t cancel, since the order was in progress. I don’t need to tell you how frustrating that was for me. My plan was to cancel the order and purchase it from another vendor, like Bed, Bath, and Beyond or Target. But since I couldn’t cancel, I decided to wait.

A month later, the order was still unfulfilled. What a horribly poor business practice. Any business worthy of patronage should do a better job of managing its inventory and improving their business process so customers can see whether something is out of stock before placing the order.

On October 17th, a month and a day after I initially placed the order, I called the customer service department for a status update. Even the rep said I was mighty patient. She tried to cancel the order, and even she wasn’t able to cancel it. I told her that was unacceptable. I wasn’t rude but I was very firm. This kind of management practice is antiquated and I cannot accept them telling me my “order isn’t cancelable” – the way she characterized it. I don’t know why I should be a future Best Buy customer. I expressed that sentiment to her. She left the line for about a minute and returned telling me the order was canceled. No offer of any discount coupon. No apology. Nothing. That taught me my value to them as a customer.

I may or may not ever shop there again. Online stores are managed differently than the brick and mortar stores. There’s different executives, different inventories, different everything. But from my optic, Best Buy is still Best Buy. It’s the same corporation. I received an email inviting me to review my experience. I’m a fair reviewer. I wanted to give Best Buy the benefit of the doubt. But that wasn’t possible. Best Buy screwed it up. The CSR I talked to was nice and tried to be accommodating, but the bottom line is, Best Buy did little to appease me beyond canceling my order.

That’s the price you pay when ordering online. Best Buy doesn’t have to worry about me buying from them again. There are plenty other vendors who make me feel like a king. I’ll give my money to them. Perhaps after I get over it, I might shop there again. But, I highly doubt it.

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Is Mental Illness Hereditary?

Ernest Hemingway

I sometimes wonder to what extent mental illness is hereditary. Is there a gene that’s passed down through generations? I only think of this because of the struggles within the Hemingway family. I’ve been reading about the life of Ernest Hemingway and the struggles in his family.

Ernest Hemingway, the world-famous author, was famous for his many written works and for winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. But like many great men and women, his personal life wan’t so great, from his vantage point. He took his own life after years of emotional struggles. Several of his family members did so as well. His brother Leicester Hemingway, his granddaughter Margaux Hemingway, his sister Ursula, and his father Clarence Edmonds Hemingway committed suicide, covering a span of 68 years, beginning with Clarence in 1928 through Margaux in 1996.

The National Institutes of Health has conducted a number of studies looking at the relationship between mental illness and family members. It was a strongest with first degree relatives (i.e., parents, siblings, and children). People with depression are most likely to have family members with depression.

The problem with depression is, some people don’t seek help. I think the reason, beyond the stigma that some people assign to therapy, is that symptoms of depression often look like other things. People may think they need to get more rest or they need to eat better or need to take iron pills or that they just have a cold or flu – so they self-medicate. For many, by the time they realize they may be depressed, they have been suffering for a long time.

I hope people with depression or other mental impairments can recognize them for what they are and get help. It must be a horrible life living with that way. You never know how things can touch a person enough for them to get help. Maybe someone seeing this post is in need of help. Here is a reliable resource for finding a therapist, either for yourself or someone you know.

Find a therapist here!

 

 

 

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The Way We Think

Sometimes, the biggest problems we face in life are the result of our thoughts. It’s easy for us to be too myopic, seeing things just one way, and that can affect us and those with whom we interact. I saw that in full effect the other day.

While out to dinner, the server came up to me and offered to bring me a beverage while I continued to look over the menu. I asked for some green tea. The server said they don’t have green tea (as I’m looking at it on the menu staring me right in my eyes), but then proceeded to tell me about their chilled, in-house, standard brewed tea that I could get either sweetened or unsweetened. I said, “Shoot. I wanted a nice hot cup of green tea.” She responded, “Oh yes, we do have a Japanese green tea, and I’ll bring you a cup.”

She wasn’t thinking of hot tea when I asked for green tea. Perhaps it’s my fault. Maybe I should have been more specific at the outset by asking for a cup of hot green tea. But then, I also cannot take responsibility for her thought process. She brought me the tea and it was delicious, had a nice flavor. If I had merely accepted her initial statement that they didn’t have green tea, I might have ended up drinking something else that I may not have enjoyed as much.

Situations like this help me to open my own mind and think more broadly. If we all did that, I think our interactions with one another would be far better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dream, Dreams, and More Dreams

Dreams can be so fascinating. Some of my dreams are about people I personally know, whether friend, relative, or acquaintance. On occasion, I dream of some celebrity. Most of my dreams, though, are about people I don’t know.

I often wonder how dreams form in our minds and hearts, particularly when they include random, strange people unfamiliar to us. How does the mind even create these people? There’s no rhyme or reason, from what I can tell. Some people are tall, others are short. They seem to come from all ethnic backgrounds and economic backgrounds and various genders as well as people who are non-binary. My dreams are almost like a melting pot, with people from all walks of life. I know dreams are supposed to have a hidden message, telling you things about yourself; however, some dreams may mean nothing. Most are probably a mixture of the two.

My personal view is, dreams have meaning if the dream is recurring. For years now, I have had four recurring dreams. When I say recurring, I’m talking about more than a dozen or so times over the past decade. I think these dreams are a little bizarre. I’ll let you be the judge.

One of my dreams centers on my keys. There are different various of it, but generally I’m either getting into or out of my car and drop my keys down a sewer drain. Every time, I see myself fumbling, trying to catch them before they fall through the little holes in the drain, but to no avail. I talked to someone who is into dream interpretation and this person tells me dropping (or losing) your keys represents either my pain of losing something or someone or my fear that I might lose something or someone in the future. I don’t know what specific things or people this could reference. I have lost several people and things of great value to me. This could be about any one of them. I don’t know.

My next recurring dream is about Bigfoot. It’s usually dawn or dusk, but sometimes its pitch black out. I’m driving along and Bigfoot jumps out of the woods and lets out a large growl, raising his arms flailing them at my car in a threatening, menacing manner. My only choices are to swerve into oncoming traffic, drive off the road, or hit Bigfoot. So, I always end up hitting Bigfoot, knocking him down. I keep driving, mad that I damaged my car. Then the next day, I see on the news that it wasn’t really Bigfoot but some dumb guy in a costume masquerading around scaring people. My dream interpreter tells me that since the Bigfoot animal wasn’t real but was in fact someone perpetrating as a Bigfoot, it represents some perceived threat I have, something that I’m afraid of doing or something I fear will happen but isn’t really worth the anxiety I’m wasting. I am not sure what that might be.

Third, I dream that I’m a superhero. Usually I’m Superman. Other times I’m a nameless superhero with multiple superpowers, encompassing those of not only Superman but also Spiderman, Aquaman, Batman, and includes a cloak of invisibility. But there’s a twist to this one. My focus is to exact street justice on people who received a lenient handling (or no handling at all) by the criminal justice system. Examples include a guy who abuses children but he only gets probation; a cop shoots an unarmed citizen and was determined to have acted justifiably; a government official abuses his or her authority and commits multiple acts of malfeasance and ethics violations but faces no sanctions. The official is only allowed to resign. In this dream as a superhero, I go around and take care of these folks. This one is the most interesting to me. My dream interpreter tells me this dream represents the helping inner-self that’s within me, the desire to want to help and protect everyone.

Lastly, the other recurring dream is about wild animals that are released into the community running amuck…much along the lines of the movie Jumanji. There are all kinds of animals, such as elephants, hippos, gorillas, lions, crocodiles and alligators, gazelles, and a few animals I have been unable to identify. This is the craziest one. Unlike in the movie, in my dream these animals let themselves out of area zoos and animal parks. The really weird part is, they help each other get out. My dream interpreter was clueless about this one. I am too.

We all have dreams, many have unusual dreams from time to time. But I have these dreams over and over and over again for many years. I sometimes dream these several times a month. Who knows what they really mean? They may mean something or they may mean nothing at all.

This talk about dreams reminds me of the Les Miserables hit song, “I Dreamed A Dream”

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The Unexpected Death of Patrick Day

I have been reflecting with great sadness on the death of the boxer Patrick Day. Last Saturday, October 12, 2019, he lost a boxing match in the 10th round. It was a knockout, losing to Charles Conwell. Day endured brain hemorrhaging. He never woke up. He died in the hospital on Wednesday, just four days later.

There’s an old saying that hindsight is 20/20, but I wonder why the referee didn’t stop the fight. Day was obviously losing. He was knocked down in the fourth round and then again in the eight. Just prior to the final blow in round 10, it was plain to see he was wobbly and wasn’t sharp and alert, barely able to stand. Anybody looking could see that. I have seen many referees stop fights, and rightly so. Of course it’s a judgment call; however, I cannot understand how anybody refereeing that fight would have allowed it to continue.

Does a referee in a boxing match have a legal duty to step in and stop the fight to avoid serious injury or death of the participants? The courts have been pretty clear about this. The Boxing Safety Act of 1996 sets the widely accepted standards of liability for referees in the field of boxing. The act held that, “As a general rule, persons have a duty to use due care to avoid injury to others, and may be held liable if their careless conduct injures another person. In the sports setting, however, the nature of a defendant’s duty depends heavily on the nature of the sport at issue, because conditions or conduct that might normally be viewed as illicit or dangerous are often an integral part of the sport itself.”

So, what does that mean? In essence, there’s an expectation of physical harm in a sport like boxing, much like there is in football, rugby, or other contact sports. Would the referee reasonably foresee a boxer’s serious injury or death? In the majority of instances, I could say unequivocally, the referee likely would not. But in this instance, at least from my vantage point, he had to foresee trouble. If a boxer doesn’t have full control of his senses and is stumbling around, the referee couldn’t help but foresee something bad would happen. When Day was knocked down in the eighth round, the expression on his face looked as if he was thinking, “No, I don’t want to concede, but it would be alright with me Mr. Referee if you stopped this fight.” Yes, I think the ref should have used his full judgment and stopped it. That’s how judgment operates. I have seen many fights in which the ref stopped it, and I thought it was premature, that he shouldn’t have been so hasty. I have seen other fights in which the ref stopped a fight and I thought it was definitely the right thing to do.

This discussion arises from time to time, and I recall a young 23 year old boxer died a few years ago when the dialogue surfaced about banning boxing. One past article, Should Boxing Be Banned? raised a number of interesting perspectives. One point of view from that article questioned whether it is the role of government to save physically and mentally healthy adults from engaging in activities that might harm them. The thing is, government does this all the time. But if government banned boxing, it would set a bad precedent. Most contact sports put people’s lives at risk. You can’t single out boxing without also impacting other sports too.

 This kind of dialogue can’t help Patrick Day now, although if I were a member of his family, I would wonder why the ref didn’t step in to stop it. But perhaps having this dialogue can raise greater awareness and motivate the Boxing Commission to tighten the guidelines and maybe referees can be better trained to possibly help future boxers from enduring serious injury or death. A referee has full control in that ring, like the captain of a ship or an airplane pilot. He’s the man. If you want to see what I saw, watch the moments of the fight just prior to the knockout. See if you think Day was fully cogent and sharp. To me, he didn’t look like he was all there. Therein lies the problem with regulating it more. It’s a judgment call, and were it my judgment, I definitely would have stopped the fight.

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Don’t Do It: Sexual Harassment ‘Aint Cute

 “It’s not consent if your victims are under the influence of drugs or alcohol — or you try to make them afraid to decline your advances due to the control they believe you have over them.” ~Author Unknown~

The sexual harassment complaint against disgraced the NBC Today Show host Matt Lauer has resurfaced in a new book, titled Catch and Kill, to be released on Tuesday, 15 October 2019. The book highlights the set of facts that led to Lauer’s termination from his position with NBC. I knew without any shadow of a doubt that there had to be a lot of meat to the story. He was NBC’s golden boy, and you know how golden boys tend to walk on water, regardless of their behaviors. But, Lauer was yanked from his job instantly after the allegations against him were made public. That fact right there says a lot.

Here’s how it got started, in case you don’t remember. In November 2017, the walls came tumbling down on Lauer’s head when a female NBC employee complained that she was sexually harassed by him in his hotel room while they were on assignment covering the 2014 Winter Olympics and continued after they returned to New York. The victim was later identified as Brooke Nevils. From reading the complaint, it is much more than a mere sexual harassment incident, in my opinion. Not sure if Lauer was or will be indicted. The statute of limitations hasn’t passed, so it is still possible for him to be charged if he hasn’t been already. Chances are, if the facts in the matter are being detailed in a tell all book rather than in a criminal charging complaint document, he may not face an indictment. But either way, I’m not sure how it would be handled, from a criminological point of view, since the rape occurred in another country. Jurisdiction is always a big factor when it comes to investigating a crime. That would complicate the criminal investigation. Additionally, you might be interested in a state-by-state guide on the statute of limitations on sex crimes.

Lauer claims things didn’t happen the way Nevils says they did. He went on to say, “It is categorically false, ignores the facts and defies common sense. I had an extramarital affair with Brooke Nevils in 2014. It began when she came to my hotel room very late one night in Sochi, Russia. We engaged in a variety of sexual acts. We performed oral sex on each other, we had vaginal sex, and we had anal sex. Each act was mutual and completely consensual.” Nevils is stating that Lauer sexually assaulted her. Due to her extreme intoxication, she was unable to give consent. She stated she declined his advances but he continued anyway.

I’ve addressed the topic of sexual harassment previously. Sexual Harassment and Personal Body Cams, and All Victims Are Not Treated Equally — and sadly, people are victimized way too often, and the worse part is, too many people on the outside looking in will espouse opinions – whey they weren’t even present. Like I said in a previous writing, sometimes people jump behind the perpetrator supporting him when they don’t even have all the facts.

Listen, there may always be disputable facts when there are only two people in a room; however, “No.” means “No.” in any language. That’s the first thing. The second thing is, when you’re on a work trip, don’t do business with your coworkers in a hotel room when it’s only you and one other person. Don’t do it. I have gone on many business trips with colleagues, with peers, superiors, and people that I supervise. I have never worked or fellowshipped in a hotel room with them. Yes, I have gone to dinner with them. We had Happy Hour drinks together. I have gone to the hotel gym and worked out with them. We have even gone out on the town socializing away from the hotel after-hours. But we never set foot in each other’s room. Not ever. Doing so is a recipe for disaster, in my opinion. Don’t do it, especially if one or both of you have been drinking. That’s the best protection against any accusations of misconduct. That way, you won’t have to defend yourself against an accusation you claim didn’t happen, and you won’t have to worry about being victimized. Don’t put yourself in that situation. You’ll thank me later.

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Trouble At 1025 F. Street, Northwest

I work in proximity of the H&M in Washington, DC on F. Street, Northwest. Several times a week, I observe a young person being carted off from the store by the police for shoplifting. I saw it again yesterday afternoon as I walked to the train to go home after work. I overheard one of the officers say something about calling the kid’s parents. This kid uttered something about his parents not caring because they’re never home.

Seeing that situation got me to thinking: I wonder if that’s the missing link between kids who stray versus those who live a trouble-free life. I never spent much time studying this, but I believe kids who have a loving, wholesome, and nurturing relationship with their parents are less likely to get into trouble. I look back at some of the kids I grew up with, and every one of them who ended up struggling in life or where in and out of jail had a strained relationship with one or both parents. That’s probably not the only reason, but it probably is a risk  factor. I know some kids lead remarkable lives, despite their pasts. But those are probably just an anomaly.

I spoke about this weeks ago with a colleague, and he blamed it all on poverty. I had to take issue with him on that point. Sure, poverty does play a role in a person’s life with or without nurturing parents. I know many poor kids do get in trouble; but I also know of dozens of kids who grew up in poverty and they never got in trouble. Furthermore, rich kids get in trouble too. I think of the criminality of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. These two just popped in my mind, but I”m sure you can think of others too.

Thinking of that kid I saw getting arrested, maybe his parents were never home because they were always working as their way of dealing with poverty. I’m obviously making an assumption here, for I don’t know that kid or what his family background is. I only know his perception is that they won’t care by his own words.

I think back to a few weeks ago when Joe Biden made comments about the problems families have with out-of-control children and proposing that outside agencies may be needed to help them. While he faced criticism for his remarks – largely due to his delivery of the message rather than the message itself – there is some reason to support what he said. Many parents struggle with their kids and chronic behavior problems. I know firsthand. I’ve seen it through some volunteer work I have done and from a job I had at a group home for troubled, adolescent boys a few years ago. I’ve seen parents (or grandparents in some cases who were surrogate parents) pulling their hair out because of these kids’ behavior, behavior that got them placed in this group home in the first place.

One lady said she often felt intimidated by her grandson and afraid to discipline him. He was a tall 16 year-old, towering about 6 feet tall and she was a tiny little woman. She admitted that her grandson responded well to discipline the few times she tried to discipline him, but she was often afraid to because he could be cantankerous. She said she had no reason to fear him, but fear him she did anyway.

If she was afraid, just imagine how strangers felt around him. I don’t know but, if parents don’t set boundaries and discipline kids appropriately, I definitely see how the child might think the parents don’t care.

This reminds me of a movie I once saw, the name of which escapes me right now. This kid was invited to go to a party with other kids at which drugs and alcohol would be present. This kid didn’t want to attend an event like that but accepted the invite anyway, pretended he’d be elated to go when talking with his friends about it. He counted on his parents telling him he couldn’t go to a party if they hadn’t met the other kids or their parents. It made me chuckle because this kid poked his lip out and stormed off to his room when his parents said he couldn’t go, but inside he was beaming. I bet many kids are like this.

Anyway, I’m really just rambling on now. The point I’m trying to make is, I think kids make better choices and lead better lives when they feel they are part of a loving family. I’d love to take time to really study this. My thoughts are based solely on anecdotal observations. If kids think their parents don’t care about them, that is when I believe they seek family from their friends – or people they think are their friends. That can help lead them to a mountain of trouble.

It’s clear to me that parenting is not all fun and games. It’s a hard job, and I applaud all the parents out there. Kudos to you all.

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I Met A Monk

 

This morning, I met a Monk. No, not the kind of monk who is a member of a religious community. But I met someone who reminded me of the character Monk from the TV show of the same name. But more on that in a moment.

Sometimes, television shows and movies can do more than merely entertain. They can educate too. I first learned about Milton Friedman, a renowned economist responsible for the economic system we use today from a television show. His name was often touted about by Alex P. Keaton on the television show, Family Ties. If you were a fan of the show, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Schoolhouse Rock is another one; it was an animated cartoon series that also taught kids about grammar, government and the constitution, and how a bill becomes a law, among other lessons. The movie Philadelphia exposed me to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which has far-reaching implications for discrimination prohibitions for qualified disabled persons in the workplace. It was a great movie, but it was an education for me as well. The Golden Girls first aired when I was 20 years old, in 1985. It was the first candid dialogue I ever heard on the topic of cross-dressing. Even though Dorothy’s cross-dressing brother never appeared in any episode, he was often a topic of many discussions through the series. It was an education for me, and the show inspired me to seek more knowledge on the subject. I knew nothing about cross-dressing prior to that. My thoughts on the topic were wrought in bias, opinions that surely would be offensive to cross-dressers and the LGBTQ community. I used it as an opportunity to learn more about it. I even used the information I gathered to write a research paper on the topic for my developmental psychology class in college. The Golden Girls’ exposure to the term, cross-dressing, created my thirst to research it further. There have been a number of shows that provided lessons along with the comedy or drama they were created to provide.

In more recent years, the television show, Monk, also had an educational component, which is the primary purpose for this post. It brought awareness in a light-hearted way to the affliction, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD. According to WebMD, OCD is a type of mental illness and it affects people (1) via obsessive thoughts and urges or (2) compulsive, repetitive behaviors. A lot of people have both obsessions and compulsions. The affliction can affect a person’s job, relationships, and overall quality of life and often will develop after a painful or traumatic experience. Another common risk factor is a family history.

Adrian Monk, the lead character in the Monk television show suffered from OCD, and it manifested itself in Monk after his wife died in an explosion. It wasn’t stated explicitly, but I think he blamed himself because he believed because of his work as a San Francisco Police Department detective, the explosion was meant to kill him and not her. It affected him in a variety of ways. The writers did a great job of outlining how OCD can impair a person’s day-to-day living without demeaning or disparaging the disorder. There are ranges to the affliction. Some people may only be marginally affected while others are affected chronically. The latter would be Monk.

This morning, I met someone I believe may have been a real life Monk. I didn’t realize it initially. My first thought was she was being a busy body. But after a time, I thought I had faced Monk., for sure. As I walked south up 11th Street Northwest toward E. Street in Washington, DC on my way to work, a woman who was traveling in the same direction said to me, “Excuse me, but your shoe is untied.” I glanced down to see my loose shoelace and thanked her. I decided I would tie my shoe when I reached my destination or when I came upon a bench or chair – whichever happened first. About 15 seconds later, the woman asked, “Aren’t you going to tie it?”

It was at that moment when I remembered situations such as that from Monk’s experiences that made him uncomfortable (Monk obsessed over someone’s Venetian blinds that were crooked; Monk focused on a man who had food on his cheek; Monk became fixated on someone with a button missing from a shirt). If you were a fan of the show, you’ll recognize the photo of him up above. One of those umbrellas was facing the opposite direction from the others. Monk turned it so they all faced the same direction.  Just like Monk, that woman looking at my loose shoelace was likely very uncomfortable. That moment when she asked me whether I was going to tie it, I was approaching a Starbucks. So, I ducked inside, sat down to tie my shoe, ordered a coffee, and trotted off to my office. Monk helped me to appreciate how little things to us may be huge to someone else, so I am learning to stop taking things for granted. A little empathy for someone else’s life can mean more to them than most people might realize.

We can certainly learn from television and film. Life imitates fiction imitates life imitates fiction. Not sure which one trumps the other, like the chicken versus the egg debate. But both definitely feed into the other. As I am sitting here writing this, the Monk theme song, It’s A Jungle Out There, makes a lot of sense, now….something I hadn’t thought of until now.  Check out the minute-long intro if you aren’t familiar with it.

 

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Say What You Really Mean Up Front

I got a call this morning from a stakeholder in another agency about setting up a meeting with his team and mine. He offered to bring his team to my office. We work together often in collaboration on projects, but our interactions are essentially via phone and e-mail. From time to time it’s nice to connect with one another in person to discuss our business processes and better understand how we can do things better. Partners in other agencies have met with in the past, and it has been a huge benefit for our mutual process improvement.

So, I asked this gentleman what days he would be free. He tells me he’s wide open the next couple of weeks. “Any day and time is fine, except Fridays,” he tells me.  I go talk to my team, pick a day – Tuesday –  reserve a conference room, and called the man back with the particulars. He then asks if it can be Wednesday rather than Tuesday. Listen, I don’t know how it is where you are, but where I work, finding a conference room for a meeting is always a challenge. We typically find conference room availability first before we tie down a meeting date and time. I’m usually quite flexible, but I was steadfast in this meeting date and time.

All he had to say in the beginning that he was open but Wednesday is a better day, or that Tuesday isn’t the best day, or something similar. Telling me that any day is fine except Friday left things fairly open for me. He acquiesced and confirmed the meeting on Tuesday. Then he later called to cancel and asked me to propose several possible dates.

Maybe he’ll learn from this for the future, and maybe he’ll be more specific. I also can learn from this – I’ll ask about any possible bad days or times. Being clear up front can save a lot of angst in the end. Really, if you know me well, you know I need structure. That’s what keeps me sane. Structure.

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