Categories
Uncategorized

Member Guest Post, Connection Points: Resolving Cultural Obstructions in Workplace Situations

I was nervously watching the clock, expecting the crew that was going to install our new windows. I feel a little uneasy when I’m alone as a woman with workmen in my home, so I try to find a way to connect with them. An hour later, I called the supervisor when they still hadn’t arrived. He told me that the truck had picked up the windows but then got stuck in traffic.
The truck finally arrived, but only one guy got out and came to the door.  He politely shook my hand and told me his name, but I couldn’t understand what he said because he had such a strong accent.  He told me the second time and I realized that his name was Thomas. Obviously, verbal communication wasn’t going to be the easiest way to connect with him!
When I showed him where to install the windows, I started to explain some details that I thought would be helpful. As I talked, he turned his back to me, put a tarp under the window, and then went to get his tools while I was in mid-sentence. So much for hoping to connect there!
As Thomas worked outside with the sun beating down on him, I noticed that sweat was pouring down his face.  I made him some ice water and handed it to him. He glanced back at me quizzically and said that only one person out of a hundred ever offered him anything to drink or eat,  and he seemed genuinely appreciative. I had gotten my first glimpse into his world!
Later, he was working inside. After he had removed one of the windows, I noticed that a corner of the window frame was rotted out.  I was worried. Was he just going to install the window over the rotted frame?? It took me awhile to get up the courage, but I finally said (trying to sound very casual), “Looks like this whole corner is rotted out.”  He only answered, “Follow me.”  We went outside and he showed me where he had replaced all the wood below the frame with new 2×6’s.  I could see how carefully he had reconstructed the framing and I appreciated his thoroughness. A second insight!
He didn’t say another word, but went back to work. He never sat down once, never ate lunch, and he was still working at dinnertime. Several hours later, it was starting to get dark and he still had a massive clean-up job to do. I went out to help and I saw a look of relief on his face when he saw me helping to pick up. He finally broke his silence and told me that he had been sent out alone on this                                 two-man job and he was worried that he might not finish in time.
I suddenly realized why he had been so uncommunicative all day!  He got started late, he was handling three big windows by himself, and he knew that he was going to have to work nonstop to finish by dark. He wasn’t being cold or purposely distant – he was just focused on getting done.
As he left, I realized that we didn’t have to connect on some strong, personal level. I felt comfortable with him as I appreciated how he had worked so tirelessly, had paid attention to details, and had kept his composure under difficult conditions.  We didn’t end the day as best friends, but I certainly wasn’t uneasy about him being in my home like I had been in the morning.  Sometimes, even a small connection is all we need to put our mind at ease about someone’s else’s character!
 

Categories
Uncategorized

Hanging Up On Deceptive Connections

Several months ago, our phone rang and I was excited to see my neighbor’s name come up on the caller ID.  I hadn’t heard from her for several months and I wanted to know how she was doing.  But I got quite a surprise when I picked up the phone.  Instead of hearing my friend’s voice, I heard a recorded message about air-duct cleaning!
I was shocked when this happened, but as time passed, more and more calls came in with our local prefix and a caller’s name, and they turned out to all be robocalls too!  It didn’t take long to realize that these local names and numbers were being used to entice me to pick up, thinking that I was going to connect with a friend or neighbor. After a little research, I found out that it’s so commonplace that there’s even a name for it – “spoofing.”
As I began to realize, all I was connecting with was some vendor’s dishonesty and that really upset me. Why would they think that I would even consider talking with them (much less buying their product) when they had used a dishonest tactic to get me to answer the phone? If their product was anything like their sales tactics, I would automatically assume that it was shoddy and unreliable!
So what have their tactics accomplished?  Surprisingly enough, they did persuade me to make a purchase, but I don’t think that it’s the sale they were hoping for!  I went right out and bought a Call Blocker to stop all these robocalls.  We’re now at 142 calls blocked, and the number is growing every day! There’s such a sense of triumph when I push the big red “BLOCK CALLER” button and know that I’ll never have to hear from them again!
Unfortunately, all our contacts won’t always be pleasant.  But we can at least learn something from them, shake off our disappointment, and hope that the next call that comes in will be one that we want to take.