The Bitch is Back
Lately my normally silent inner bitch has become a lot more assertive. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s all that time at the gym. Or perhaps it’s because people just keep pissing me off.
Mostly I’m an easy-going guy. I do, however, have standards. Leave me a phone message–I’m going to call you back first chance I get. Send me an email–I’ll respond as soon as I can. Tell me something is due Friday at four–I’ll get it to you by three on Wednesday. I don’t know any other way to be. That’s just how I roll
Increasingly I find I’m the exception rather than the rule..
When did returning phone calls and responding to email messages become optional? I’m not talking about chatty personal calls and emails. I mean work-related messages about joint projects, collaborations, and team efforts. Given the pervasive presence of smartphones, you’d think people would be more rather than less responsive. Nope. Judging from the lack of responses, apparently I’m now flying solo much more than I knew.
When did deadlines become arbitrary? Based on my experience, a significant portion of the population now believes deadlines are for everybody but them. In recent weeks I’ve been frustrated by people ignoring deadlines for reports, paper submissions, payment of conference registration fees, hotel reservations, and camera-ready papers and abstracts for proceedings and conference programs. Hey–I’m talking to you, not everybody but you.
There is a good reason for any deadline I impose, and I always provide plenty of notice. Sure, I build in an extra day or two for possible delays and laggards. But after that, failure to get stuff in causes real problems for me. If I don’t get copy to the printer in time, we won’t have the materials when we need them. Late reports mean I have to work nights and weekends to get the summary report completed on time. Ignoring deadlines is just plain rude.
For years, I accommodated slackers, laggards, and people with time management issues. Now I see that in doing so, I’ve simply rewarded undesirable behaviors and encouraged people to think ignoring messages and deadlines wasn’t a problem. No more.
Last week, I sent email messages to half a dozen professionals letting them know their papers would not be published because they’d missed the deadline–by more than three weeks. The old me would have given them a few more days. The new me knows it wouldn’t have made any difference.
If I say I’m going to do something, you can count on me to get it done. I’ll be on time, and will have done any homework or preparation the task requires. And whether it’s critiquing manuscripts, conducting a workshop, presenting at a conference, or dancing in a flash mob, you can bet your bottom dollar I’m going to do it to the best of my ability. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.
When people miss deadlines, show up unprepared, or do a half-assed job, it pisses me off. And when I get pissed, the inner bitch comes out. Lately she’s come out so much I’ve had to name her. I call her Ragna.
Ragna stays at work, where she’s needed. I guess if push came to shove, I could unloose her at home. But mostly, there’s just no need for her here in…
My Glass House