with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
Wow. Y’all are very, very kind. When writing mylast post, I full expected folks to sympathize a bit, maybe, but agree that I’d been careless. The way everyone rushed to assure me that I was being too hard on myself warmed the cockles of my heart.
Even though I still disagree with you.
See, I happen to think it’s impossible to both rectify a mistake and guard against committing it again unless you’re able to take responsibility for your part in things. And while it’s very clear to me that the other party in this arrangement failed to fulfill her obligation, I maintain what I said at the beginning of this: I erred in assuming I could trust someone with whom I didn’t already have a tested business relationship.
Anyway, I wanted to let you know what ended up happening, because I think it’s interesting. (And by “interesting” I mean “unbelievable.”)
Before I do so, though, here’s an example to give you a contrast:
There’s another giveaway I did where the prizes never shipped, for some reason. As soon as I figured that out, I emailed my contact to find out what was going on. This was someone I’d worked with multiple times, before, and the reaction didn’t surprise me in the least—first, he apologized profusely and told me he’d investigate and get right back to me. Next, he came back (in a timely manner) with some explanation of the snafu. And lastly, after attempting to rectify the problem (which was occurring elsewhere in his organization), he purchased and shipped the prizes out himself. Problem solved, and although it would’ve been great if there weren’t any problems, that was really the best resolution for which one could ask. I got an apology, prompt attention, and ultimately, not just a solution, but a solution someone went out of his way to provide. I still work with and trust this person.
On the other hand, the situation I described in my last post involved a long time period of zero communication, which is not only one of my pet peeves, but also (I think) a very hard position from which to recover. Quite simply, if we’re having a problem with a business arrangement and you just don’t respond for weeks on end, I think it’s reasonable to expect an appropriate demeanor once contact is reestablished. And by that, I mean you need to grovel. Again, this isn’t about giving anyone a hard time—it’s about regaining my trust by behaving appropriately. In my situation, it is appropriate to be very, very sorry and also to offer up some explanation of why it’s taken so long to get back to me. And that’s on top of the expectation that the unfulfilled arrangement will also be explained in some way.
Well. When I wrote about this situation two days ago, I had just sent one last email to my contact, to say that if I didn’t hear back by noon, I would be ordering the item for my winner, myself. This actually elicited a response—one that simply said something like, “Oh, you’re right, this is terrible. Well, we had another package that didn’t show up, once, and it turned out to have been misdelivered. I’ll have someone send out another one today.”
To me, this was a highly unsatisfactory response. There was no apology. There was no ownership of the problem. There wasn’t even an acknowledgment of all the email I’d sent prior to this one, which had gone unanswered. And I was not being assured that she would make things right, but that “someone” would.
And do you want to know the very best part? The frosting on the clueless, unprofessional cake? She then said she had another exciting product coming up for giveaway, and that she didn’t think we’d have the same issue because it was a different client. Uh huh.
I wonder if my failure to jump right on that will surprise her?
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