Not what we do…but what we say

I had a bit of a meltdown yesterday–found myself weepy and not able to deal with “stuff” very well. It was enough of a meltdown that I decided I wasn’t going to be any good to anybody at work, so I finished what I needed to do, went home at noon, slept a couple of hours…and stayed away from my work email except for finding out what time I needed to be at work to play for a service this morning.

What triggered it?

There were a couple of things. One was dealing with the unexpected death of a friend/cousin. He was 13 years younger than I am and died of a sudden heart attack. His memorial service was two nights ago, and I had played for it. It was a good experience–lots of friends there from the various groups he interacted with, and lots of sharing and fellowship afterwards.

But the immediate trigger wasn’t that. It was a situation that unfortunately happens far more often than I wish it did. A work-related situation came up that needed to be taken care of pretty quickly. In the process of the email exchanges, because of some statements that were made about expectations for me, I began to feel taken for granted. It felt as though the individuals on up the food chain didn’t think that I had a life–that I would be able (and willing!) to just drop everything in order to be where they said I should be…when they said I should be there. And I already had a commitment for that night…

I’m very willing to work with folks and to rearrange my schedule if need be…but two factors ticked me off in this situation.

  1. This is a mini-crisis that didn’t have to be one. The planning for it could have (and should have) been in process previously in time to avoid panic. Unfortunately, this happens fairly frequently.
  2. The bigger issue was that I wasn’t asked about my availability and my willingness to help solve the situation. I was told that I would be part of the solution.

If someone had just said, “We have [this issue] that we’ve let get by us and we need to get it taken care of as soon as possible. We really need your help to get the planning and scheduling done–what does your schedule look like?”…I don’t think I’d have reacted the way I did.

I know that sometimes–especially in work-related situations–it is necessary to say “This is the way it needs to be.” But I also believe that many times it is possible to say “Here’s the problem, and we need your help. Please let us know what would work best in your schedule.”

Collaboration really is valuable…