Archive for the ‘Power’ Category

Service of Power Misunderstood

Thursday, March 30th, 2023


Image by Gundula Vogel from Pixabay 

The way some people assume postures that they think make them seem powerful often backfires as it irritates and doesn’t impress others.

This dialog might be familiar. Phone rings. The person on the line asks to meet with you so that you can advise them [for free] about your industry, your job, company or clients –you name it. You’re a good soul and you like to help people so you agree. But at the end of the conversation the milk of human kindness sours when the caller says: “Send me a calendar invite please.” Huh? You’re busy and doing a favor and now the caller, who wants something from you, gives you a job. Faux pas.

It happened the other day to a friend.

In another instance, a friend responded to a request for clothing made on an online neighborhood group site. The writer said she had lost everything in a fire. When my friend responded that she had some blouses to give, the person told her where to drop them off. The donor who already juggles too many things daily, had expected that the person would send someone to pick them up or do so herself. I wonder if the blouses will reach the woman in need.

I’ve written before about a peeve of similar stripe. You have a scheduled call, you make it on the dot and the person says “Can you call me back in 20 minutes?” If they are cancelling or moving the time of the call, shouldn’t it be they who calls you when they’ve finished a chore or a meeting or another phone call?

Even if I’m the one in charge of a business relationship, I find that skipping the irritating, superficial power image stuff and being respectful lubricates the dynamics between me and the other person. The result? Usually the best effort. When people feel put down, taken advantage of or simply annoyed they aren’t working at their best for you nor are they feeling cooperative if you’ve asked a favor of them. Your thoughts?

Image by G.C. from Pixabay

Service of Being Ignored

Thursday, March 23rd, 2023

It’s no fun being ignored. I’m curious about the insensitivity of the people who enjoy doing it. If you’re young and handsome/beautiful, it might not happen to you. Those who do it I suspect feel a sense of power.

I delivered documents to a NYC court the other week. The halls were empty. There was a couple ahead of me in the room I needed to visit and they soon left. Nobody was behind me. Had it been a retail situation I’d have worried for the life of the place. The amount of real estate in this giant building on Chambers Street in Manhattan was breathtaking and the lack of activity–of humans in hallways–astonishing.

I waited at the window while the woman who would eventually help me stood about 12 feet behind the see-through plastic divider and chatted with a colleague to her left who was seated at a desk. Next, without moving, continuing to ignore me, she spoke with someone I couldn’t see in another room. It was as though I wasn’t there. Spooky. Not even an “I’ll be with you in a minute,” uttered from her lips. And she didn’t look busy.

Since I needed something from her, I kept silent.

I suppose this is the in-person version of the telephone customer service “I bet you can’t reach a human to help you.”

When you’re not in the driver’s seat, how do you handle being ignored? How do some have the temerity to discount the value of another person’s time?


Image by Marta Cuesta from Pixabay 

Service of What to Do With Tidbits of Time

Monday, August 10th, 2015

I listed 23 pet peeves in two posts four and five years ago and have no idea why I left out this one because it has driven me nuts since my first job out of college—if not before.

Say I have an appointment to speak with someone at 3:00 pm. I call and they say, “Can you call me in 20 minutes?” I reply “Yes,” if it works, and quickly hang up as I figure they are on the other phone, on deadline or that something’s come up that prevents them from keeping our appointment.

I’ve always wished that the person who is moving the time would say, “I’ll call you back in 20 minutes—that OK?”

But they never do. I know why: Power.

In addition to messing up my schedule, the person has pinched this 20—or whatever number of–minutes from me because I can’t lose myself in another project. I know myself. I’ll look up and an hour may have elapsed.

Am I alone at feeling irritated?

What kinds of projects do you start when you only have a tidbit of time? Under what circumstances do you tell the other person, “Could you call me in 20?” or do you always say that?

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