A: Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Write about a time when you taught someone a lesson you didn’t want to teach.
B: Talk about a time when you were driving and you sang in the car, all alone. Why do you remember this song and that stretch of road?
I’ll take on prompt A.
There are times, education degree or not, when you have to take someone aside for some schoolin’. You don’t get paid extra for it, but they will remember you like a favorite (or hated) teacher.
I got a call from the head of another department. Apparently he was upset that a condition was not being waived for him, and it was based on someone in my area’s decision.
“Well it’s his personal preference. No exceptions. My dept. head feels it is a reasonable one, and many others feel that way.”
“I’ve been here 25 years. He’s…what?” Ah yes, the ol’ seniority rule.
“Like I said, it’s an individual decision; you have probably been in this situation as well.“
“Well then I am going speak with someone in the (even higher up office).“
And then the click. You know – *click*
That’s the sound of a phone hanging up on me.
Wait, what? Oh no he didn’t! Apparently, he did!
It comes out before I can stop it. I scramble at the buttons and put the phone on the cradle. (I think I was trying to reach through to the phone to strangle him) “You mofo (yes, yes, you know I said the whole thing)! Hanging up on me?!” I am enraged but also mad with glee at this point. I settled myself down for a moment, calmly told my assistant to leave the office, and picked up the phone.
Oh yes, my phone has caller ID on it, and a keyboard. Seeing as he proudly announced his name and department (and quarter century of schmuckery, it was no issue to call him back. “Hello?” He sounded a little wary, unsure as to who was calling. Obviously he’s not a detective.
“Hello this is Peter, we just spoke?! I don’t know how you speak with the people in your department, but where we are, we don’t tolerate hangups. It’s rude, it’s unprofessional and I do not tolerate it. And it’s not something we would expect it from someone who has been here 25 years.” Yes, in one uninterrupted breath.
I could tell his flustering and attempting to interrupt, but when you are dealing with an undiluted arrogance, it bounces back quickly. “Oh! Well I didn’t realize I hung up without saying goodbye.”
“Well that’s what you did.”
“Well, I’m sorry if you were offended by that.” Ah the official half-apology of The Asshole.
“Ok well I trust this will not happen again. If you have anything else to say on the situation, speak with my supervisor. Goodbye.”
I had my finger on the cradle for my own hang-up, we tied.
Like Socrates said, “You can’t fix stupid.”