Thursday, June 05, 2008

The middle man

I had to laugh when I saw a spam e-mail with the header "How to Manage Emotions Under Pressure" atop my inbox. Let's just say that what should have been a relatively quiet week at work has produced escalating problems that had me furious by the time I left the office today.

I'm not going to go into specifics, but the situation can be generalized well enough to convey what's happening. Problem outside of my control arises. Do what's in my power to fix it and then pass along an explanation to the necessary parties before they inquire about it. Get criticized for problem arising. An outside party ascribes bad intentions to problem despite explanations. As a courtesy, inform inside party about perception that may exist regarding the problem and offer additional solutions for the future. Get reamed for original problem and open up a Pandora's box of other issues.

My biggest mistake was in keeping lines of communication open. Ordinarily that's what one is supposed to do but... I expect that those who know me beyond this electronic page would say that I am relatively cool and collected. Or I'll say it for them. This situation, which is part of a years-long tradition, must be wearing me down because in spite of my efforts, I manage to feel more defeated than if I'd not bothered to do address it at all.

The advice I'm getting from colleagues and superiors is to ignore it, which is wiser than it may sound, although it's kind of hard to do because I care and because I'm going to continue to be stuck in the middle and get hammered regardless.

I suppose the frustrating thing is that I can accept taking the heat when I mess up--I don't like it, but at least the criticism is rational--but struggle to deal with getting drilled for doing what is proper.

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