in a way that is making your life harder. The first way, you probably already know it, is to remind yourself that they might be having a really hard day, maybe they have just received terrible news about a loved one and their mind is not on the job.
That works pretty well and is definitely the ideal. But it can be harder when the person is a) in some sort of ongoing situation with you, so it's definitely not just one bad day, and b) in a job that makes a lot more money than your job, so it's hard to have as much sympathy.
Like if a waitress forgets your order, it's pretty easy not to get mad about it. But if you're the waitress, and a real estate agent loses every letter you send them and doesn't organise repairs for three months, and sends the repair person to the wrong house when they finally do organise it, when you took work off (unpaid) to make sure you'd be home to let them in... yeah. Not so easy.
So what I do in these situations is think to myself: well, a certain percentage of the population is always going to be bad at their jobs. How high a percentage might depend on how cynical you're feeling. But clearly it's not going to be 0%, that would be absurd to expect. So if it has to be someone... at least they're just a real estate agent . At least this person isn't a surgeon, or an air traffic controller, or a firefighter, or a hazardous materials remover. If a certain % of the population has to be bad at their jobs, I should feel lucky it's just this guy, and not someone with actual lives in their hands.
I don't know if that will help you, but it helps me calm down and adopt a more c'est la vie attitude.
("But what if it WAS a surgeon or firefighter who was terrible at their job?" I dunno, I think you're probably just allowed to be real mad about it.)
This piece was originally published in The Whippet #78 – subscribe to get the next one in your inbox!
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