Personal Battles

Have you ever come across someone who is rude or has an attitude towards you for no apparent reason.  Seems like they’re having a rough day, but it doesn’t justify the way they treat you or communicate with you?

Before I was definitely quick to give attitude right back or request to speak with the manager in charge.  But now it seems I’m a bit more patient with others and make more of an effort to be more understanding.  However, some days it’s definitely harder than others.

Sometimes I just want to grab people by the shoulders and shake them till all their nonsense leaves them.  But we all know it doesn’t work like that. (and we all know I would need to be shaken too then)

I had this issue at work, were a fellow co-worker had started acting differently, and none of us could figure out why.  He seemed more stressed out, less calm then before, and a lot more annoying.  It was definitely a bit frustrating.  Especially with so many projects and deadlines right around the corner.

There was a particular project that was supposed to be finished and handed off and I was in the final states of QA’ing it before sign off before I realized there were some major discrepancies.  This close to getting this project off our plate I become very frustrated and was trying to figure out how to bypass these issues.  I spoke to him and asked him how he would like to move forward (as it was his account) – long story short he wanted it done yesterday and it just could be done.  I stepped away knowing that I would soon have to sit down and have a talk with him.

However, before speaking to him I went around to other team members and asked them what they believed the direction was on this particular project, how instructions were relayed to them, and what their assumptions were and if they had known about any of the other variables that were now coming up.  I find it very crucial to gather all the information before you attempt to lay into someone.

I was ready to go downstairs and tell him he’s being absurd and absolutely ridiculous and possibly even go as far to tell him how to his job better but during the elevator ride down to the 10th floor I had an revelation —  I remembered what Joey (my previous employer) would do when I seemed to be having an “off” day and just wasn’t getting things right.

All of a sudden it dawned on me, that he has been acting different and that I had no idea why that was, what the driving force was behind his actions.  By the time I got to his desk I was in a completely different state of mind.  Instead of ripping into him and trying to prove I was right.  I asked him how he was doing, I asked him how his family was, and if he enjoyed his Summer Friday last week.  We talked about what he was going through at work and all the pressure he’s getting from clients.  After discussing “him” for a while it easier to understand where he was coming from and it was an easy segway for me to discuss with him how the team was percieving his recent behavior and what he should keep in mind going forward to avoid issues arising in his upcoming projects.

We came up with the best plan to move forward and moved on.  No one walked away with hard feelings, no one was insulted, no one left unheard.  Instead we walked away with a better understanding of each others roles and responsibilities and perhaps even a little more respect for the other person.

It’s amazing how the lessons I learned from Design Symphony just seem to keep creeping up on me.  It’s also amazing to see how living and working in New York is beginning to change me.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle - Plato
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