Thursday, September 08, 2011

a frustration and a realization

I work for the man. Nor really, but it is a large, and more or less faceless corporation, which is to be expected when there are 100,000+ employees. Sure, there is the new CEO, but wait, this is such a publicity-shy company that even the CEO doesn't have a photo up on the public website. As this is a corporate environment, we partake in the great corporate activity of conference calls on a regular basis. And I absolutely despise anyone who does not mute their phone (except the speaker) during such calls. Yes, modern conference call systems can mute all the non-speakers' phones, but when a call is opened up for questions, there is the inevitable murmur of background noise. Then comes the moron who thinks this is now a good time to take another call and put the conference call on hold. You fool! You are using an office line that has hold music and now everyone who is still on the call has to listen to your infernal muzak. And since you aren't on our call, the desperate pleas to turn off the music fall, not onto deaf ears, but onto soft saxophone rhythms since you're that guy. If you don't know know who that guy is in your office, then there's a good chance that you are him (or her). You are the inconsiderate boob who is so oblivious that you do not even realize it which makes you a classic example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

This frustration has come with a basic realization. Every single time that I want to yell at someone (which is disappointingly often), it is actually a chance to ask a question. I have been slowly acquiring the skill of phrasing things in such a way as to get that desired outcome of an interaction with someone. Rather than yell, "You thunderous dolt, don't put the conference call on hold because then everyone has to listen to muzak" I can instead ask, "Did you know that our phone system has hold music?" Yes, I can take a more direct (and still polite) approach and say, "Placing the conference call on hold causes them to hear our phone system's hold music" but I have found that when people reach the answer more on their own, the realization is much more pronounced and memorable. It may take a few leading questions, but getting someone to proclaim a basic concept out loud is much stronger than force-feeding it down their throat. So as much as I may wish to mentally stab someone with mind-daggers for being obtuse, I know it will rarely help to browbeat them into submission. I feel like my year in Texas would have been dramatically different with a bit of this maturity that I have been acquiring overseas. So many ways it could have gone differently, but then again, there's no changing the past. Just going to ask more questions.

1 comment:

Buickguy said...

Hm-m-m. Good realization here. I think it is called a "life lesson".