Yes, but what CAN we do?

by John on October 10, 2012

I received the call late in the afternoon and had that immediate thought of “Oh Boy” this is going to be interesting.

We’re currently in the middle of the fall recruitment season here at the University. Students are nervous, employers are trying to find the best talent and our team, well we’re trying to make sure that it all runs smoothly.

The one good thing is that things tend to run smoothly a good majority of the time, with the occasional outliers.

This phone call was to be one of those so called outliers…

The call started out with the usual pleasantries, conversations about the weather, conversations about the activity on campus and then rolled into the “How can I help you” phase. It seems my client had a series of requests that were completely normal if we had started working on them a month earlier.

Have you ever tried to get just one more project, one more email, and one more yes done for a client? Well that’s what we were trying to do and it was just not feasible. Either the calendar, our internal resources, flights into Miami, FedEx times, scheduling around other events…all of these items were seemingly conspiring against both our client and my team.

I was slowly reaching my wits end and was trying to stifle sounding frustrated. Then it hit me.
I actually said to my client “Hey, instead of only focusing on what we both can’t do, why don’t we try and figure out what we can do?”

I was met with a solid 10 seconds of silence and then you could hear the light bulb going off on the other end of the phone.

“John, you’re right” they said “Here’s what we can do. Do you think this will work for the students?”

It did.

It was one of those “Ah-Ha!” moments that we tend to not allow into our train of thought. See I was too focused on being judgmental, almost blaming everyone and everything that was conspiring against me and my client.

Trying to break the pattern of “we can’t do this, we can’t do that” was difficult. However, once I stopped, it was immediately clearer. Hanging up with the client, I felt the initial dread and frustration leave the room and my mood lighten.

Now if only I can convince myself that I can stop eating those mini ice cream sandwiches…

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