Last week I wrote in my blog about a person from a state government who had contacted me to inquire as to whether I would be able to speak to their employees. I also posted a note about this on my Facebook page, and commented on how difficult it seems to be to work in state government these days. In a surprising twist, I received a comment from someone (I don’t even know who the person is) writing something about the health laws in Arizona. Huh? I had to read the response several times to make sure I understood it, as it was a complete non sequitur to what I had written.
I received an email this week from a woman who works at a state agency. She had heard me on the radio and was intrigued by what I speak about, because in her office people do not get along and it isn’t fun for anyone to go to work anymore. As I was reading her note, I heard a news report about the tragic shooting in Arizona aimed at the Congresswoman there. An innocent 9-year-old girl was also killed. She was there to learn more about politics in our country, and she did not live to see another day.
The impact on a business or personal relationship, when individuals cannot get along, can be obvious. This week in our local paper there was a story written on the 10-year anniversary of a tragic shooting at a technology company in the state where I live. One of my closest friends worked for this company as a senior executive and she was, thankfully, not there on that day after Christmas, but it felt especially close to home because she knew all of the victims very well.
It’s a common occurrence for me, doing the work that I do, to talk to someone about a problem or difficulty they are having with someone else. And of course, because it IS life, I often have my own difficulties with other people. In a recent situation, I had someone who is very close to me send me an angry and disgusted note, saying that I hadn’t been a very good friend and hadn’t been very responsive to their needs. My first response? “What!? Of course I am a good friend and responsive…. Look at what a nice person I am!!”
At this time of year, during the holidays, one of my favorite activities is to play Christmas music. I especially love this silly song that my youngest child listens to from a cartoon about Santa. In the song, there is a “despicable” guy who is trying to change from bad to good. The little elf who is coaching him tells him that “changing from bad to good is as easy as putting one foot in front of the other,” and then he goes on to sing a great little tune where he tells the guy who is changing “don’t be the rule, be the exception!”
In the last few days I’ve done three radio interviews to help people over the holidays deal with difficult relatives, or difficult co-workers: The holiday table is set, but many people don’t want to sit at it with their relatives. The holiday work party is in a fancy location, but some don’t want to attend and deal with co-workers they don’t enjoy.