Tuesday, January 27, 2009

On being a pushover...

I like to think I'm a nice person. Sure, I have mean, terrible thoughts and I quietly hate on a lot of the world, but I don't usually act on those thoughts. I try to be kind, compassionate and if I wouldn't want you to do something to me, I try not to do it to you. I try hard - key word being try- to improve my outlook and attitude. I do it actively, every day. In fact, sometimes I spend so much time thinking about it that I cause myself heaps of anxiety.

I like avoiding controversy when possible. But, every time that somebody takes advantage of my tendency to avoid controversy, a little bit of me dies. Today, two manuscript authors called me with, um, concerns about their papers. Both of them treated me like I was a child - telling me how to do my job, treating me like I was a disinterested customer service representative. Both of them, when I explained the status of their papers and why they weren't ready, fed me the "that's not okay" line, which is really annoying, because, well, it's going to have to be okay. If you want us to publish your paper, you're going to have to be okay with the process.

I am not a complaint department. My job is not to compensate for other people's technology retardation. It is not to make excuses and grovel and apologize. My job is to make sure that your manuscript gets reviewed by other professionals and that the publisher knows what and when to publish.

Did I say this to the two angry callers? NO. And I wish I had, because now I feel like I didn't take care of myself when I was being attacked. I let someone else (2 someone elses!) walk all over me and I was polite and quiet because was afraid I'd lose my job if I wasn't. Except now I've lost a bit of my dignity.

1 comment:

Jerry D. Harris said...

Did I say this to the two angry callers? NO. And I wish I had, because now I feel like I didn't take care of myself when I was being attacked. I let someone else (2 someone elses!) walk all over me and I was polite and quiet because was afraid I'd lose my job if I wasn't. Except now I've lost a bit of my dignity.

Well, as you note, you could easily have lost your job if you had been, uh, impolitic to these callers, so you took the high ground and remained impassive. (Remember: in any argument or debate, the first person to lose their temper and objectivity automatically loses the argument/debate, and in this case, by blaming you, the callers lost.) But, I don't think you lost any dignity -- you did lose a nifty opportunity to allow a couple of morons to see what complete dimbulbs they are, but then again, you did that here on your blog (and very politely, I might add). Sure, they may never read it, and sure, it doesn't quite give the level of emotional satisfaction that telling these idiots off would have...but you still got some emotional satisfaction, relieved some stress, and kept your job all in one fell swoop. I'd call that a job very, very well done!