I didn’t want to have to talk about this but I can’t not. Last week, the “boss’s” boss was scheduled to come here to the Jakarta centre. This is the person who founded this organisation and whose name is associated with everything about it. You would think that I would anticipate meeting this woman – the conversations we could have! But I admit that I didn’t have high hopes for the visit, for a couple of reasons.
First, my impression of this woman based on the state of the 2 centres (Aceh and Jakarta) that I’ve been at in the last few months very clearly communicates to me her current level of interest in this organisation (zero). And second, as I previously said, the fact that she has the disrespectful “boss” in charge of the people who are labouring day and night to keep this patty shop operation going says a lot to me about her judgement.
So I cannot say that I was surprised when she cursed me out before she even got here.
Let me back up and give you the full story.
On the day she was to arrive, I was up early and had situated myself for work because I had a lot to get through that day. At about 9 am, when I was already more than an hour into my work day, the girl who lives here came and asked me if I could talk to the Big Boss on the phone, because she didn’t want to misunderstand anything that was said. I said no problem.
The Big Boss told me that she was currently stuck in an airport in Malaysia (she didn’t explain why that was), and she needed the girl to go to a travel agent and buy her a ticket to Jakarta and send her the ticket confirmation number, keeping her updated at intervals; she also had some specifications about what she did and didn’t want. I made notes, repeated her instructions back to her then told the young lady what the Big Boss had said once I hung up the phone. The young lady said that instead of going to a travel agent, she would try to find a ticket online because that should be quicker. I said that sounded reasonable and I spent almost an hour helping the girl to find the Big Boss a fairly reasonably priced direct flight – remember, this was a last minute one-way ticket for which the non-profit, shoestring-budget organisation was paying. We booked it and got a message from the website that we needed to wait a few hours to receive the ticket confirmation.
I told the young lady to email the Big Boss and let her know that we were awaiting the confirmation for the flight, which would leave Malaysia that night, and that she would get it as soon as we received it. Meanwhile, we tried to call the airline and also emailed them, trying to get the confirmation number. This was difficult since we had done the booking using a third party website that answered our email with an auto-response that they would respond in 24 hours, but we tried. We didn’t receive any useful responses no matter what we tried, but we kept trying.
About 2 hours after we started the process, the Big Boss called back and the young lady asked me to speak with her to give her an update. I tried. Believe me, I tried. In the entire 3-minute conversation, I didn’t get a chance to finish one sentence because every time I tried to say something, this woman basically told me to shut up and listen to her and follow her instructions to the letter, as I should have done in the first place. She said that if she didn’t get a ticket confirmation number soon, she was getting on a plane back to where she came from. After she finished cursing me out, she rounded up her tirade by saying, “I’m very pissed right now!” Yes, she actually said that to me. Verbatim. Like it was supposed to matter to me that she was ticked off.
Now, people, I know that travelling can be a nightmare and that it must have been frustrating sitting in that airport waiting for word on what was happening. Additionally, I understand from someone else that she’s not well. But, please, somebody help me to understand where this woman thinks she gets off talking to me like that. Remember, I didn’t have to be involved in the first place; I was trying to help the young lady, who was by now very flustered because she was scared that the Big Boss would be angry with her for taking so long in getting the confirmation information to her. I had put aside work that I needed to be doing in order to try and help resolve a situation that she had created because of her own lack of planning.
Jesus take the wheel and the devil is a liar…please, somebody tell me why these people think it’s OK to test me like this.
I have a theory. I think this woman is lacking in emotional intelligence. You must be to behave like that, sick and tired or not. I think that her arrogance over her own hype has her thinking that she’s something special, eclipsing any emotional intelligence that she may have and letting her think that people should jump through hoops to do her bidding.
I took a deep breath and told the Big Boss that the young lady would be going to a travel agent immediately. She shut me up again and told me that someone needed to go with her to ensure that the transaction was done properly. I told her that I would convey that to the young lady, but you know that person would never be me, right? I was done. D-O-N-E, done. I don’t let people I love talk to me like that, much less this rude, disrespectful stranger. Is it any wonder the “boss” thinks it’s OK to behave the way he does? I have a friend who always tells me, “The fish rots from the head” and I have found that this always, always holds true. It means that the tone of an organisation is set from the top, and this particular fish is rotten straight through.
I got off the phone and took a deep breath. I wasn’t going to go down the road I gone down with the “boss” 3 months before. I turned to the young lady, told her that the Big Boss was furious, summarised the rest of the conversation and her marching orders, and I was sorry but I wouldn’t be helping her any further with this matter because I don’t tolerate anyone being rude to me like that. Then I returned to my computer to get my work done, and ignored everything to do with the situation for the rest of the day, not even giving them a look out of the side of my eye while they ran around for the next 5 hours trying to sort out this woman’s mess.
A word of advice, people: there are no good reasons for bad behaviour, none. There are only excuses. Don’t do it. And if you do behave badly, be big enough to own it and apologise for it. This is called doing what’s right. It happens to be good for your soul.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 1 Corinthians 13:11 (ESV)