I write about my life and life itself seen through my eyes for who can write through the experiences of others if not their own?

Friday, October 02, 2009

Simple lessons over lunch

Years ago, many years ago, the small office I worked for hired a consultant. The woman, a softer version of Nancy Grace, took on the challenge of teaching us to communicate efficiently and nicely…

Her attitude – Nancy Grace at her best, was not appealing to any of us. While the woman counseled us on improving our communication skills, she told us what we should accept and not accept from our boss…If not in my job description, I should not be asked to make coffee. That all sounded great but I could really see myself in that small office telling the CEO, sorry make it yourself, buddy.

If someone told me they did not like the letter I just typed, I could tell them “I don’t recall asking your opinion” – yeah, I could see how those tips were going to foster a friendlier environment.

Our hour in the conference room with Nancy Grace was taken as a waste of time by all. She completed her assignment, made her money and left. Over the years, however, I realized that those wasted lunch hour lectures had impacted me a great deal much to my dismay.

I still hear her voice when she told us that stating the simplicity of a task belittled the effort the person had put into accomplishing it.

I learned that giving a compliment a day was a habit well appreciated. Careful of the constraints of sexual harassment in the workplace, I since make a point of telling people, male or female, nice tie, beautiful dress, nice glasses.

But the most important lesson came in accepting mistakes. The boss, the customers, the coworkers don’t care that I had a mini earthquake in my living room or that my boiler broke, or that a hurricane hit only my county (or my block if they live close by) and that is the reason why I am late. It does.not.matter what the reason is, the fact is I.am.late and therefore my apology should not be a justification.

How often we justify our wrongdoing? If you had not said that, I would not have reacted like that. If you had eaten what I made, I wouldn’t have been mad. I did it because you told me, because you said, because you this, because you that…YOU are the reason of my reaction. YOU are the reason of my mistake. It is not my fault.

And seldom we risk saying:

I am sorry I am late; I’ll try to be on time. I screwed up, I’ll make it up. It was a mistake to say what I said. I am sorry I did that. I am sorry I hurt you.

And a lesson she did not teach us but life has, accept the apology.

Those wasted lunch hours sure had a lasting effect on me.