I can’t begin to tell you the many times I have been forced into emergency situations because of the lack of planning of others. This sign is funny because it doesn’t matter how many times people are reminded of it that there are still repeat offenders. It’s pretty irritating.
I can’t really divulge any specific details but let me say I am a planner and I really don’t like working with people who don’t. It drives me crazy yet I am still expected to bail people out. It’s just like the times I have taken classes when the instructor waits a few extra minutes for people who can’t get there on time. Seriously? Why punish the people who do what they are supposed to do and are on time? When I teach a class I don’t do that. If you are late, you are late. I’m not going to make people suffer who are there on time.
So back to this emergency thing. There have been many days I thought I had my day planned out when someone calls, emails or walks into my office with their urgency which suddenly becomes my emergency.
Once I debated with a supervisor that the only way to teach the repeat offenders a lesson would be to not bail them out and stop enabling them. I was overruled on the that debate and reminded about “customer service”. Okay, I get the customer service thing but I do not agree with enabling those who are repeat offenders. Somehow these folks need to learn a lesson right? If you always bail them out then they will know they can always repeat their behavior and no one will tell them no.
I’m saying “no” a lot more these days. Not for the sake of being mean but to simply keep order and balance in the work life.
Yes, we can quote that cute saying all we want but that doesn’t stop it from happening. Co-workers want what they want when they want it and you become the necessary means to their end. Sad, but true. Go ahead and see how far it gets you quoting that saying. You could wear the sign around your neck and it still wouldn’t do any good. They would ask if you can put the sign down and get something out in FEDEX today.
So how can we deal with these people?
- Set Boundaries. When I say this, you have to make it a boundary for everyone. Don’t make allowance for your co-worker buddies. Treat everyone the same. You must also endure the fire of when someone challenges your boundaries.
- Talk to your supervisor. Yeah, this one might not give you much success either but you need to let your supervisor know where you stand. It’s best to give them a heads up than to have them dealing with the fallout.
- Negotiate with the person who necessitates the emergency. Instead of talking to the person (which never works in my experience) offer options for them. They will take it a lot better than saying no. “No, I can’t do that for you but I can show you how to do it.”
- Ignore them. Don’t answer their email or phone calls especially if you have other projects you are working on. You know what I have found? They will usually figure it out.
- Don’t apologize. If you are enforcing your boundaries, do not apologize or be made to feel guilty.
I’m not saying to be mean and not to do your job but when it is ridiculous or totally off base, you need to stand up for yourself. Don’t be the person that will cave in and agree to work the weekend simply because someone else was a slacker or didn’t plan. They will never learn until they have to face it.
To me, it is a sign of disrespect to create an emergency on my part because of someone else’s lack of planning. Everyone has a job they are doing and we should respect that. Yes, legitimate emergencies come up but something has to be done with the repeat offenders who are always putting us in that situation.
If people need something done and you can’t do it, they will usually figure it out.