Had a rough work day, and what did I learn from it?

I don’t know if I did. You tell me.

I had such a rough work day today.

I got GRILLED, y’all. GRILLED like this piece of corn:

I still I have the grill marks on my back to prove it too. 😛

It isn’t all fun and games, even though I love my job and I want you all to know that.

Being a consultant means you are under far more pressure to perform because they’re paying you to dance like a monkey, and when you go through a day like I did, you sometimes have to step back and look at the big picture.

Basically, I got blamed for stuff I didn’t know even existed — they never told me!

Now before you all jump over me saying: Hey but it’s your job to know!

I would like to gently point out that consultants are people that:

  • you call on an irregular basis
  • are new to the whole company
  • are new to your procedures
  • have to learn everything you’ve known for 20+ years from scratch.
  • …….In 6 months.

Being the consultant who is taking their money, I kept my mouth shut and let them rain down on me. I also took the high road and didn’t point out the obvious that they simply didn’t provide me with the information, so really.. they’re blaming themselves indirectly.

Or that they were the ones who already agreed to everything and now are telling me I missed something from the task they gave me.

Over every single little ‘no big deal’ sort of “error”, they totally made a mountain out of a molehill.

I swear to you, I feel like I am in Switzerland right now, surrounded by these mountains built over nothing.

After the meeting, I sat back in my chair, a little shell shocked and took a deep breath.

Here’s what I learned throughout handling this rough meeting:

Pick your battles

Is this going to matter in 10 minutes, 10 hours, 10 days or 10 years?

If it is something worth fighting for, then fight.

If it isn’t then just let it slide off your back no matter how hard it hurts.

This is not worth fighting over because you have to deliver customer service with a smile.

Grit your teeth and try to smile

This one was painful. I was so hurt, angry, frustrated.. it’s hard to smile through that.

Take a deep breath. A DEEP BREATH DAMN IT.

Just remember that people who fight over nothing, don’t have anything

Generally, I’ve found that people who are very aggressive, antagonistic, hard to work with, not at all kind or pleasant, tend not to be people who know their jobs.

Sad to say, but true. When you fight over everything and anything that isn’t a big deal in the end, you don’t know what’s really important.

I don’t know the whole story

Maybe a death happened in the family recently, or he/she had a bad day. I don’t know the whole story all I know is that their aggression is making me react in like.

Don’t take it personally

99% of what I did is good. They’re nitpicking.

And you know what? It kind of worked. Not the smiling, but the remembering that they’re nitpicking.

They’re searching out, trying to find and nail you to the cross with the flaws they think are such huge freaking deals.

They may even be upset that they can’t really find anything to get angry about.

At the end of the day, what do I care? I’m doing a good job and that’s all that matters.

Really, there are ways to criticize without being rude

They weren’t all bad, but it didn’t help that the head honcho was in the room and she was the WORST OF THEM ALL.

Everyone was taking a cue from her and totally laying the stick down on me. They were ALL AGGRESSIVE. Frothing at the mouth almost.

She was really all up in my face, staring at me, totally aggressive and saying very loudly: SO YOU DIDN’T DO YOUR JOB THEN.

Well technically, no. But you didn’t do yours either.

There are ways to say something without being rude.

You can say: So just a quick question — did you think about X, Y and Z?

Then they can say: Oh no. Is that something important? Can you explain it to me?

See how easy that was?

In contrast, saying: So basically you’re telling me you didn’t do your job AT ALL? You didn’t even think about X, Y and Z!

A lot more aggressive, no?

Still, it hurts. Just less so as time wears on.

I really need to work on that grit my teeth and smile thing. I also need to learn how to stop reacting to aggression with aggression.

It’s just so hard in the heat of the moment with people interrupting you, yelling at you, getting all frothy-mouthed and up in your face to be able to go into a Ghandi pose and go to your special place.

What about you? Any horror stories about work lately?

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.