May 12, 2010
I must be a complete mug because it seems that my efforts regularly come up against people who just don’t give a toss. Of course this doesn’t mean that I’ll give up and resign myself to sitting here bitching about all those who have failed to follow through on a request, because that isn’t very nice (and in these dark days, expressing any form of disgust or unhappiness is a cardinal sin, punishable by complete social ostracization).
Instead, I thought I’d explore this little matter in a way this is as non-specific as possible. Here’s the scenario:
You arrange something, open communications, execute your intent with clear language, outline your ideas and plans. You answer questions, propose ways to overcome problems. You do all of this and you’re quick about it – the recipient will have to wait three days max for a reply.
There are things sitting neatly on a line here, like a bunch of starlings crowding together on the telephone cables.You’ve done your bit and now you wait.
Honestly. Is it really that difficult to get back to me? I spend a decent amount of time planning emails and phone calls – phone calls especially because I hate them so – and then I find that nobody gives a damn. I’ll be lenient for those who are actually quite busy and may not have time to reply, but when I hear nothing for over two weeks after telling the person that I’ll be in touch via email within 2-3 days, I kinda expect them to maybe, oh I don’t know, check their email? Or – they could pick up the phone and call if they’re having an uncomfortable day with technology.
Sometimes a quick message to say that they’ve received the communiqué and will get back to me a.s.a.p. is a nice gesture that goes a long way. It shows they’ve bothered to fulfill their employment description and that they might actually care.
Perhaps the reason why people fail to get back to you after such a long time is down to sheer embarrassment. A week has passed, they’ve been meaning to get round to it but there have been dozens of distractions. Maybe they didn’t understand the initial message or have changed their mind. That’s all OK. Really. Just write back explain the distractions, the confusion, the change of mind. Disappointment may follow but at least you’ve done the right thing. That’s right – you’ve done your job.
I want to hold up my side of the bargain most of the time. If I don’t want to do something, then I’ll say so. It’s simple. You open that mighty hole in your face and say ‘I’m not interested’ or ‘This isn’t something I want to do’.
I’m not obliged to go through with any of the things I’m trying to manage at the moment. I could very easily drop everything and declare myself inaccessible to all. Come to think of it, that sounds really appealing. However, I don’t want to do that just yet. I’d like to get the major things sorted out. And more importantly, I’d like to approach the people who have ignored me for the past month and ask them why.
Even if I get incoherent answers or a bunch of excuses, making them feel dreadfully uncomfortable as I stare them down and demand an apology for wasting my time will make up for all the agro.