beware: setting the table can be dangerous

28 May

When saying “yes” to someone, seldom do I think about what that response is going to mean down the road…recently I did. Here are a few options that I came up with:

They will think I’m a nice guy – those of you who know me are probably chuckling right now because that has never been a priority to me. I’d like to be viewed as many things (responsible, determined, etc) but nice rarely is among them. This would never be a motive for me.

They’ll owe me – I was about to dismiss this one to, but perhaps sometimes I do things so that when I’m in a lurch someone might help me out as well. Is that the same as owe? Not sure, but it certainly isn’t why I help people out or agree to work on projects when approached.

If I say yes, what will they ask me to do next – this has increasingly been in the front of my mind as my department is being reorganized. Many people seem to be seeking their place in the new world order, because of this fact I am starting to really consider how I reply and telescoping forward to what precedent I may be setting. I’ll be honest, I don’t like this way of thinking but it seems to be a necessity nowadays. Someone I consider to be a mentor of mine would often talk about the power of thinking strategically and I think this new way of considering what I’m being asked to do, who is asking me, and what it might mean for the future is an extension of that type of thinking.

Then why do I feel like I’m doing something wrong? I don’t like the idea that I have to be deliberate about how I act but I can’t escape the feeling that how I respond to folks now may dictate their expectations upon me in the future. In teaching we talk lots about the value of consistency. Perhaps that is what I’m striving for. It’s not that I wouldn’t help someone who is in a bind, but when it’s not a real bind I think now is a good time to stick to my guns and make sure the expectations set upon me are appropriate.

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Posted by on May 28, 2010 in cube life


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