What I have to work with…
Ed had a project that wasn’t going well; the customer started to panic and asked me to step in. Ed doesn’t work for me, in fact he’s in an entirely different department but we do work together pretty often and normally have a good relationship. With that in mind I tried to keep him aware of what I was doing to get this project done on time and I copied him on the final result. His response to the result was to criticize my methods and question the validity of the data. Buried in the critique was a very nicely worded pat on the back directed at me BUT it was buried. Normally, this wouldn’t bother me because it’s common and frankly he didn’t deliver…I did. What did bother me was that he chose to copy a bunch of executives on the email and I called him on it stating that I didn’t appreciate the derision.
9ish via IM
Ed: When you get a chance can we talk about this?
Me: Ed, I understand that you’ve been and probably are still under a lot of stress but you’ve done and said some things that were not cool the last 24hrs. You just need to give me some time.
11ish via IM
Ed: Can I take you out to lunch?
Me: No, I’m really too busy today.
Ed: Can I take you out for coffee later? Just 10 minutes, we really need to talk.
Me: Not today.
Ed: We should really sort this out.
Me: Not today Ed, really.
1ish in person
Me: Not now, I’m afraid I’d push you into moving traffic.
(I was smiling when I said it – really!)
2ish via IM
Ed: I’m just trying to understand what I did or said. I can’t correct it if I don’t know.
Me: I understand that and will be willing to talk that over, later. Not today.
Ed: I don’t like it when you’re upset with me; I’m just trying to understand.
3ish via IM
(Ed finds a small data issue and asks me what happened. It’s not uncommon for some of the smaller updates to have a successful run status when in fact they did not complete. It’s a bug err feature.)
Ed: What went wrong?
Me: I don’t know, everything ran normally – no errors.
Ed: That’s comforting…
Me: Are you trying to piss me off?
(Oh yeah I’m cranky)
Ed: Are you seriously going to leave it at you don’t know?
Me: As I said all of the jobs ran normally, no errors.
Ed: That’s really not acceptable.
Me: You can choose to deflect your own recent failures by amplifying a small system issue. If that is what you want to do go right ahead. I’d be more than happy to have someone look into the issue when we have time.
Ed: What do you mean my failures?
(D’Oh…did I say that?!)
Me: The update is complete, please check the data and let me know if you need anything else.
Ed: Its fine.
4ish via IM
Ed: I’m really hurt that you would say something like that to me: “You can choose to deflect your own recent failures”. You’re someone that I respect. That really hurts me that you think of me like that. We really need to talk this through.
Me: I’m very sorry that I hurt your feelings. I am frustrated by your words and actions the last 24 hours but I should not have taken that out on you in that way. I hope that you will give some time to catch up at work and also put this into perspective so that we can have a constructive talk.
(I get a call from my boss. “Why does Ed want to talk to me?”)
5ish via IM
Me: Is that ok?
Ed: Yep…I’m OK…I just want you to be.
Me: I mean with talking next week. I’m not trying to sweep this under the rug.
Ed: Yes…that’s OK. I apologized to your boss and he shared a different perspective than what I got from my higher ups. It was helpful.
(You apologized to MY boss?! MF’r!!)
Me: Ok then let’s plan on going to lunch next week somewhere fun.
Ed: Cool… I sincerely appreciate you and no game playing is intended. I understand how the message came across. Realize too I didn’t get the project until it had already been mishandled by another group.
Me: We’re all really stressed
Ed: Hang in there… I appreciate you and what you did. I couldn’t have done it.
Me: Thanks for saying that. Gnight.
6ish via email
I just wanted to let you know…
(Insert 645 words of poorly constructed justification here.)
…I told everyone that it was very complex data and that if anyone were capable of joining them reliably, it would be you. Either way Oden, I understand trust is a tricky thing between us. I hope that you and I can always trust each other and speak frankly to each other. While I don’t always get you, I still always dig you!
The next day…
8ish via IM
Ed: Good morning! I appreciate everything you do!
Me: Thanks, Ed. Good morning to you too.
Ed: I hope you have a great day!
(I hope you seek counseling)
Ed: I’m really looking forward to lunch next week. Talk to you later.
Note: Lunch is next Wednesday….W00t!!