Work ended on a sour note the other day. I learned, only after several emails and phone calls, that a supplier was going to be late making a delivery—four or five days late. The supplier feigned an apology in the same backhanded way Shia LeBeouf apologizes to his fans. “I’m sorry if you misunderstood my intentions.” In essence: maybe you should lighten up.
I would love to lighten up. Believe me. But I couldn’t. I had several internal departments breathing down my neck to find out about this delivery and, then, to find out why I hadn’t done something about this sooner. Why did I let this become a problem, they wanted to know. What they’re really asking is why I’d let this become their problem. Because, really, no one cares until it becomes an issue on their desk.
I ranted and raved at the supplier via email. I felt my blood pressure rising. “Why should my company have to pay extra for this expedited delivery? This is your fault.”
Ah, the blame game. I suppose every office has a version of this. But here was the rub: I had no one to hand this off to, no one to pass the buck to. It was my responsibility to figure out a solution and fast.
I took my barely contained anger to the phone. The supplier’s customer service person answered in a sing-song tone. In the first ten minutes, he treated me to a rundown of every sales cliche in the book. “Jackie, I’m sure if we put our heads together, Jackie, we can come up with a win-win solution” and “Jackie, let’s get granular here” and “Okay, Jackie, let me take this offline and run the idea up the flagpole.”
I am not ashamed (well, a little) to tell you that I said, “Say something that means anything! And if you don’t stop using my name every five seconds, I will get granular on your ass.”
I have no idea why I was this annoyed. I hadn’t made any egregious mistakes. No one’s life was on the line. No one was about to lose their livelihood over this delivery. Regardless, I was going to write to this person’s supervisor and the owner of the company if I had to. I thought at the very least he should be reprimanded and removed from our account.
I commuted home still seething. It’s a good thing that I ride the subway rather than drive, with road rage being what it is these days, but the subway has its own form of irritations. I was standing in the middle of the car when a woman with purple hair squeezed in next to me. A seat opened up and she gestured that I could take it. I did and I opened my book, but I just read the same sentence over and over.
As the train swayed, her bag kept hitting me on the knee. Great, I thought, I get a seat only to be thwacked repeatedly by this woman’s bag. She was in her own world, oblivious to her out-of-control bag. Then I looked closer. It was a cloth shopping bag. On it was a single word printed three times, one underneath the next:
Sometimes the universe gives you a nudge in the form of a shopping bag.
Have you received a karmic nudge?
Have a great weekend, everyone!