Most of us understand that “no means no” when it comes to our bodies. We’re taught to speak up. However, too many of us do not have the same respect for our time. You’d say no if someone was trying to molest you, right? Or steal your purse? So, why is your time or self respect any different? Just because it’s an intangible doesn’t make it any less valuable. You life is counted in minutes. When someone takes your time and wastes it, they are literally taking portions of your life!
Many of us simply don’t say no to these violations that waste our time. They come in all shapes and sizes. The worst of them usually get offered up with a smile and that horrible phrase, “You understand, right?” That’s what I have been told so many times. “Oh, so-and-so is so busy. We very sorry for the miscommunication”, or, “It’s just so confusing these days, getting everything together.” And of course, you’re supposed to smile back and say yes, of course you understand. But why? Why should you just lie down for the muck that’s about to be tracked over you? As soon as you smile back and agree, be prepared to be someone’s well used doormat. And doormats do not get respect or good return on their investments.
Let me illustrate. I responded to a want ad for a job in another city a few years ago. A man from the company called me, and from his conversation, I thought that I was possibly dealing with an intern. They represented themselves as an establish international school online. I knew I was quite qualified. He didn’t have his information ready, so he said he would email me. I let him know that I was several hours away but still happy to accommodate. He told me to arrive on a particular afternoon. That morning, as I left for the interview, I messaged and called the front desk, his personal number and his desk number to let them know I was coming.
He did not see me, though he did see someone else who arrived. A woman who appeared to be acting as an assistant pulled the decision out of thin air. Then, after leaving me waiting for 45 minutes, she sat down and talked to me for five minutes. I realized as I said goodbye that she considered that my interview. I drove home, trying to be generous, but in many ways, simply regretting that I had given the guy the benefit of the doubt and shown up. Especially now that I had learned a few things, such as the job was a 24/7 position, that the company was incredibly unorganized and that no one I met had been giving me straight answers.
When the assistant called back two days later, asking if I couldn’t just stop by for another interview. I let her know it was not possible for me to drive all the way over again. “I can understand if it is easier for you to work with someone locally,” I told her. I did not apologize. “I also have a few questions about what the position actually entails and the posted salary.” She became flustered and got off the phone.
I keep tabs on the industry, since I still have ties to it and funny enough, that school has to advertise regularly for new instructors.
Hopefully, I’m a little smarter next time someone asks for an interview. I’ll expect them to be as on top of their game as I am. And hopefully, someone learns a little from my lesson. The pay, when I crunched the numbers, was going to work out to be around 2.78 an hour, since I would be on call 24/7, on site and on duty. How they treat you at the start, is likely the best they’ll ever treat you.
No thank you. I’d be better off in my local library learning a new skill than working for that wage. There’s definitely no respect there. I wanted to be ‘nice’ and give the the ‘benefit of the doubt’ but there is a price tag to ‘nice’, especially when others are assuming you’re going to be ‘nice’.
I’d rather be ‘professional’, ‘dependable’, ‘forward thinking’, and ‘efficient’ than ‘nice’. It will take me farther and ultimately, take the people I partner with farther. I’ll be helpful, open to opportunity, willing to mentor, and ‘passing it on’ but I’m done with being ‘nice’.