In my head there is a thought, sometimes it’s something which leaves me breathless with anticipation and sometimes it is as quiet as the gentle drip from a faucet in the middle of the night. The barely audible faucet sound is often the most annoying because it is constant, until it flows from my mind to the ends of my fingers onto the keyboard.
It is amazing to me how symbols form communicated thought and how one person’s silent written communication can move, impress, stir or ire another. Without a single sound the symbols can shout, sing, laugh and whisper from first Cap to period. Being able to sooth or anger using those symbols adds responsibility to our communication.
In my field, when promoted to management, my boss told me to treat all employees like children. She didn’t mean they were children, she meant that when you peel away the grown-up actions of another adult you are really left with the simplistic behaviors of a child, therefore act accordingly. I was not to treat them as if they were ‘my’ child but ‘a’ child. The aim of a parent is to love, to teach and to guide. Dealing with adults at work involves teaching and guiding, love has nothing to do with it, respect does. I didn’t care if they liked me, I just wanted them to do their job and at the end of the day I hoped the folks could say their day at work was worth the effort. The whole ‘child’ thing was about how I was to interact. Not yell, not castigate, not in any way be abrasive or harsh because almost all of them wanted to do a good job, wanted to be rewarded, valued, wanted to be respected for their efforts, not rebuked for their errors.
In my business I have always dealt with district and regional managers. The good ones compliment first, and bring to attention corrections which must be made, later. The SOB’s lambast the first dust bunny and no matter what they say later about how beautiful the place looks or is managed, or how successful we are, that first negative sets the tone.
I do not act negatively toward people, it accomplishes nothing, it hurts feelings, dashes the positive state of mind formed from effort and most of all it stinks, is immature and hurtful. Even if the person I am dealing with is downright stupid, it is not my job to knock the stupidity out of them, it is my job, as a fellow human being, to be respectful of what they are trying to do.
When language is your business, you must be able to communicate in a way which leaves the listener or reader in a better place. If negative emotions are overwriting, you are a failure at what you are doing because your message will be lost with the dust bunny.
I have, a few times, when threatened for example, stepped outside of my self-imposed boundary and lit-in. On those occasions I usually won, I’m good at it. But other times, when threat had nothing to do with the situation and all I wanted to do was be rid of the asshole and make a point, I’d win again because I am very good at that; my mother taught me. Winning meant the asshole would never bother me again. That’s what I wanted, that’s what I got.
It never dawned on me that someday, a person I respected and looked up to would consider me the asshole they wanted to be rid of. And if that was not their intention, they failed miserably at using their language, which is holy in this business of writing. And to think they do this all the time is sad really, and I feel sorry for them. How could someone want to do this on a regular basis?
At work today I heard the gentle thud of the drip. Once in a while I became distracted but eventually the rhythm of it reached a tipping point and flowed from my mind onto the keys.
In the beginning this started as a thought, now it ends as a promise. I’m just not sure what that promise is quite yet. When I figure it out I’ll let you know. Until then:
Negative is so the reverse of the real picture.