I don’t like many Adam Sandler films. In fact, I only like one: Anger Management. It is actually one of my favorite films of all time. Why? Because I am THAT guy.
Most of my life has been spent trying my best to not piss anyone off. I always seem to be yielding to others. By the time I have had enough, it ends up being all-out nuclear war of epic proportions when I only meant to be assertive.
Here’s an example.
I really don’t like being called “Dan”. My good friends and close colleagues know this and it is a little amusing when they think they are being cute… very little. What wasn’t amusing was that I was actually fired by one of my clients once because I was tired of them calling me “Dan”.
I had been correcting people there for months. However, because it was in the company’s Email program, it was a constant re-enforcement for people to call me “Dan”.
I took the time to point out that it isn’t even my legal name and that I had never indicated “Dan” on any document that I turned in to them. I further pointed out that all of my Emails were signed with “Daniel”.
I also pointed out that it is disrespectful regardless of whether I am a consultant or employee and that this type of neglect and disrespect was part of why I wasn’t a customer of theirs anymore. I didn’t mince with words because I thought it would be a teaching/coaching moment.
And, it was.
I learned a very, VERY expensive lesson. I had been making a lot of money there and suddenly, that was cut off.
In retrospect, Could I have told one person via live conversation instead of sending an impassioned Email to the support alias? Could I have been more gracious, more polite, more neutral and so forth? Probably.
At the moment, I thought I was being logical, calm, fair, respectful. I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought they would welcome this guidance and correction. It’s very easy to say “Be calm. Be nice.” Until someone hits a nerve. How are you with your “hot button”?
But, it’s my name. What is your name worth to you? Some would say “They could call me ‘stupid’ or ‘moron’ or other worse names for the kind of money YOU were making there.” To a degree, yes. There is a certain amount of ignorance and abuse that we are all capable of tolerating.
From my perspective, if people can’t even get something as simple as my first name right, what about my pay checks? What about those vital details of requirements they are working on? Did they get confused when they were working on the financial statements or my tax return? What about the dividends to my stock? Worse, what about my chart that shows I need my appendix removed, not my spleen? In short, aside from the fact that I just don’t like being called “Dan” it’s also like a little test of trust.
I can laugh about this situation now because some time has passed and it’s still so bizarre and incredible that it reminds me of the movie Anger Management. Some of the folks from my ex-client have apologized profusely and it’s fine now.
When I find myself getting frustrated about something, I try to think about the movie. ”Goos-fra-bah!”, singing “I feel pretty!”, Woody Harrelson in drag, etc. Kinda makes me laugh, which always throws people off in a tense situation… 😉