When I started on this post a few weeks ago, at the end of an exhausting work day, my initial thought was to title it “Why I Love Consulting”. That would have been coming from sarcastic place though, and since sarcasm does not look good on me (or so I’ve been told), I decided against it.
Often times I find myself wondering whether this place at which I spend majority of my awake time, is “it!”. I get that I need to earn an income, but Geeslike!
***Warning: this material has the potential to crush the hopes of aspiring and wet behind the ears consultants ***
Teachings on customer service provision sometimes seem to imply that part of it involves lying down and allowing any and everyone to walk all over you. Why does it have to be that way though? Why should people have to go on these rampage ego or power trips..?
Recently, I called out a colleague at a client site for having addressed me inappropriately. He pretty much shouted at me, and then had the audacity to say that that is how he speaks. Had this incident happened very early on in my consulting career, I probably would have let him get away with it, opting to go and cry it out in the nearest restroom.
But, when one has taken time to try to understand people, then you appreciate that in certain instances retreating or shying away from taking a stand is not necessarily the “best” thing to do. Operative word being certain. Calling out my colleague was me pointing out that while I understood his frustration, such disrespectful behaviour was inexcusable, in my books.
It could also be argued that my saying to him “…you don’t have to shout at me..” was not effective either since telling someone to calm down often fires them up all the more. He did back down though, however I am convinced that it was more because of the fact that he was shocked at the fact that little old me actually took him on. Some people are just privileged that way.
Being the complex beings that we are makes interpersonal relationships very challenging. Giving love denotes love for self first, since we cannot give of anything we have not. A fundamental example of this is often misunderstood and sometimes misconstrued: Our time is one of our most valuable assets, so how we choose to spend it is very telling.
In like manner what we allow in our interpersonal relationships has the potential to devalue our notion of self, whether consciously or subconsciously. Referring back to the incident described earlier, addressing what I deemed to be disrespect was effectively me drawing the line on unhealthy behaviour and mentalities that I try to refrain from. Shouting, in this instance denoted an elevated self impression of this individual in relation to me. Perhaps he is of the idea that some people are created/born more equal than others.
Ultimately, there is often no one size fits all answer for what is right or wrong when faced with a situation, particularly one that escalates real fast. However, I believe that when we take the time to learn and understand our own characters, the one thing about us that is constant, then we would have made great strides. The rest is simply figuring whether whatever is oncoming is in line with our character, and fielding off what is not. All the while exercising patience, empathy, introspection and analysing. Simple enough right!
Go on then, find that line. Then you will probably be able to answer the questions on whether the places you go to spend your time or relationships you are in, are “it!”.