Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When Anger Bubbles Up...

... I turn to my blog.
What a morning!
Part of my job is to process paperwork for capital expense projects. This responsibility was previously handled by a different position in our department- but that person left and the responsibilities are just spread out amongst the rest of us now.
Last week, I received one of these projects to review, complete some paperwork, and forward along to the next approver. I thought I would get it done Friday morning but things from my actual job came up that were more pressing so it got pushed to the side. I was working on it this morning and needed clarification on part of it. I sent an e-mail to the engineer who wrote up the project.
Now let me first explain something about this employee. I've never met him but he already has 3 strikes against him when it comes to dealing with the typical Midwesterner.
1. He's an engineer.
2. He lives in New England.
3. He's French.
I'm really not trying to be mean. I've just generally found that a lot of engineers don't come across with the best social skills. They are more logical and to the point and often skip the niceties. I love the people I work with in our New England office... most of them, anyway. But New Englanders typically have a different approach. A more to the point and skip the niceties. Ah ha! A commonality. And then you add in the French thing... 'nuff said, right?
So he e-mails me back with the answer to my question. And ends his one sentence e-mail with...
"what a waste of time..."
So I start debating. Do I e-mail him back? "Yes, you are." Do I call and confront his rudeness directly? Do I ignore it?
Couldn't ignore it. Couldn't just let it go. It was rude and uncalled for and it was under my skin and wasn't going to go away. I needed to understand.
So I called him. No written record, in case it got ugly.
Yep, he meant it towards me. He then apologizes for being "rough."
Stop. Now. Do not even try to imply... and yes, this might be a stretch but this is how it felt... that I can't take it because I'm female.
So I interrupt him. "You weren't rough. You were rude."
I go on to explain to him that given he has never met me, seen me, worked with me, or even talked to me and given that he was wanting me to process this as expediently as possible... rudeness wasn't the best choice. I suggested that in the future, when he wants special attention or favors, he try being polite as that will certainly get him farther in his request. I explained that he and I may well have to work together again someday and I would hate to hold resentment towards him because he has already set rudeness as the precedent.
He then starts explaining that someone else sat on it and blah, blah, blah.
Whatever, dude.
I ended the call and walked around and vented to a friend. I then went to my boss as a CYA. In case this dude got his knickers in a knot and complained- even though I was very polite about it. I even used my best Mommy voice. I wanted her to know the story before she potentially heard it through the grapevine. The cool thing? Totally backed me up and took my side. Totally understood where I was coming from. And as she said... it's only a waste of time if this dude was writing his own personal check, spending his own money on the project. Company money... due diligence... not a waste of time.
And would you like to know my husband's response to my story when I called to relay it to him?
"If that's your attempt at a French accent... it sounds more Indian. I'm just sayin'..."
Thanks, darling.
So that's been my morning. How's your day shaping up?


KPCL Girl said...

Isn't it great to have a blog to pour it all out in??

I'm thinking of starting a series: "Letters I shouldn't send..." :-)

Anna Lefler said...

Good Lord! That French dude is lucky you didn't show up in your pickup truck to talk it out... Just my opinion, of course...

(BTW, if you do show up to give him a piece of your mind - use the Indian accent.)

Thanks for becoming a follower on my blog, BTW! I really appreciate that!

Happy Holidays!

:^) Anna

Boozy Tooth said...

I'm casting this as my ballot for best post ever!

And here's what I know about your opponent:

1) Engineers are brilliant, but they can't change light bulbs or conduct the rudimentary of normal conversations. I know. I once dated a Chemical Engineer from Purdue.
2) The French are useless fucking cowards (but in the bedroom, that accent... Va va voom!)

Liz, I love you. More please.

Lisa said...

Ahhh, what would we do without our trusty blogs? Thank you, yet again, Liz, for a most entertaining and enlightening post :)

Joanie said...

Way to give it to the Frenchie! Curious to know how he'll be the next time you have any contact with him.

Jackie E. said...

I'm glad you said something to him and that you didn't let him get away with it! It's also good that you called him and didn't email him. My mother always says in these types of situations it's better to not put anything in writing and have a paper trail less things "get ugly". I know I wrote about being nice on my blog, but there are definitely times when you have to stand up for yourself and let it be known what will and will not be tolerated! I'm all for that...