What I Would Rather Have Said
I just had to apologize to someone because I dared to ask when a project that affects my job (in a significant way) was going to be done. The reply to my initial request carried the polite but annoyed tone that indicated answering my request was a pain because I had no business asking about the project in the first place. Mind you, I had to make the request twice before I got any reply at all. So I played nice-nice and apologized to smooth things over. The last thing I need is people more annoyed with me. But that is not what I wanted to say.
What did I want to say? So glad you asked. What I would rather have said would have gone something a-like this:
I can see you are annoyed with me for asking about this project. Thank you for telling me other people are working hard and have many other things to do as well. Guess what, Xxx? I know that already. When I said I was not asking for an exact date, I did so because I already know this is something that is going to take a long time to get done. But I also know that this particular project is something that should have been done, oh, about five years ago. No, seriously, this should have been done five years ago. So the whiny insistence that you are doing the best you can is really pathetic.
And yes, Xxx, I know there are other projects that currently take priority. I understand that almost no one at XXXXX thinks of anything I do as a priority. And when you say to me that the Xxxxxxx Xxxxx, which is actually a major priority and a considerable amount of time and effort for XXXXX, is “something simple” that takes priority, I can only guess that either you think I am stupid or you are uninformed. Having worked several times on previous Xxxxxxx Xxxxxes, I can tell you that it is not simple. And I already know it is a priority.
Yet, even if I did not know that, it would not be an excuse for you to talk to me the way you did. I confess I do not know why you were offended that I bothered to ask about this project. But I do not care. Something you apparently do not realize, or maybe just do not care about, is the importance of this project to what I do at XXXXX. I know you are higher up, have more authority than I do, and you have a lot of other things to do. Here is a clue, Xxx: communicate with me anyway. Is it really such a pain to say, “Hey, we are working on this, and we hope to have it done in a few months.” Took me less than a minute to type that sentence. Would it really have hurt you to have said something that simple the first time I asked about this?
I am not asking for weekly updates, Xxx. I am not asking for anyone to hurry up. I just asked for a rough time frame for when this project might be completed. You tell me this and that has already been done. Great. Why could you not just say that? Why act like my asking about this project is offensive to you? Is the project a secret? Why is there a problem with keeping me informed about something that has direct bearing on what I do? Were you going to wait until you had it all done before you told me? Was it supposed to be a surprise?
A simple bit of communication is all I asked for. I was not mean. I was not derogatory. I was not critical of anyone. If you took offence at my attempt to get the project moving when you had already gotten work done on it, I submit I would not have had to bother if instead you had already told me that something had been done and that there was to be an attempt to have the project done in a few months. In other words, if you had been thoughtful enough to communicate with me in the first place, all of this could have been avoided. Maybe, just maybe, you should take that into consideration in your future decisions about communicating with people.
Because this is not about me, Xxx. This is about you. As you can see by my two attempts to request information, I was not failing to communicate with you. You failed to communicate with me. This situation arose because you failed to let me know anything about the progress of this project. You know, the one which directly affects my job. You dropped the ball. If you did it with me, with whom else are you failing to communicate, Xxx?
Yes, this is your fault, Xxx. You caused this. The solution? Communication. Take a minute, type out a sentence or two, click send. There is no reason for the information I asked to have to be a secret from me. We are not in the military or the government. No one is going to be harmed by me having this information. You ought to be keeping me informed without me having to ask. No, not because I am anyone special. Rather, merely because it is information that the person doing my job should have because the project is directly related to that job. Anyone and everyone should be afforded that basic level of courtesy, Xxx. You are not a fool. You should know this without me having to tell you.
Yours most sincerely,
That is what I wish I could have gotten away with saying. But that would just have made things worse. I dislike politics so very much. I really, really do.