This is a tough one to write about because it still makes my head hurt.
Sometimes I get called to help people who know everything.
It is rare, but we've all met them. No matter what we say, they know better.
If we say black, they say white, ...then if we say white, they say black.
This particular instance started with a phone call that include the criteria "I want to understand what you are doing...".
That's fine. I like it when my customers want to learn and pay attention.
I am all about empowering and informing customers so they can avoid problems...especially the problems I've been called to address.
Also, to solve most problems I need "you" there to answer questions i.e. diagnostic questions and which solution you'd prefer.
So, yeah, please understand what I am doing.
We made an appointment but due to a migraine I had to call and re-schedule. Totally unpredictable and out of my control. I made this call well before the original appointment was due and we rescheduled without any apparent issue.
When I arrived at the new appointment I was literally 2 minutes late.
Not a Jamie Oliver "literally" an actual, measurable, saw-it-on-my-watch 2 minutes late.
My navigation system's ETA was out a little bit. I had to travel extra slow the last kilometre or so.
Anyway, I figured there's no point in calling for 2 minutes late because that would double the delay...literally.
However, I did not expect the response I got when I knocked on the door.
Before I had a chance to say anything I was aggresively met with "What do you call this?".
I was taken aback but figured and hoped it was a joke...but it didn't really feel like a joke.
I said "Sorry?" (quizzically) and was met with an equally aggressive ...
"Well you made such a big deal of arriving on time...".
Now I do make a big deal about showing up on time and I was conflicted about showing up 2 minutes late. But I had done some thinking and chosen what I though was the less troublesome of 2 paths...for both of us.
So right away it was clear this was going to be a painful job.
If that happened to me today, with the lesson of this customer in my head, I would have said "Sorry and left". I'd know to cut my losses and leave.
But this time I didn't. My work ethic made me press on to try to help this person.
There were several issues to address and with the customer's words from the original phone call in my mind "I want to understand what you are doing...", I started.
Immediately the customer left the room.
I had questions and they wanted to know what I was doing, but they'd run off.
So I said "Excuse me, you said you wanted to know what I was doing and I have some questions. Can you stay here so we can work this out?" (or words to that effect).
It was clear the customer wasn't happy about this.
My sense of entrapment and doom grew.
Very early on I was told, in actual words from the customer's mouth, "I am very intelligent...".
I wasn't sure why I'd been told this.
Then, as I investigated things, called them back to the room repeatedly, asked questions and proposed options, all were met with contradiction and argumentativeness.
I was struggling to find evidence of the declared intelligence.
I mean, they had problems they couldn't solve, they'd invited an expert over and abused them/me from the get-go and then chosen not to listen to any advice.
What's intelligent about that?
Later in the visit I'd repeated one piece of information and turned it into different analogies, to make it comprehensible, at least 4 times. I needed a decision.
I pride myself on making IT understandable. But despite being "very intelligent" this person continued not "get it" and argued the toss.
So the tone of my voice changed and this person was told some facts.
Nothing rude. Nothing accusational. I just pointed out that I had tried every way I knew and didn't know how to commuicate this any simpler or more clearly.
Despite wanting these problems fixed, and thwarting me at every turn, the customer had set a time limit of which they'd NOT advised me.
So suddenly time was up and that was that.
I had solved a couple of problems but they hadn't been paying attention so proving that was now impossible. Other things that needed quite some time to deal with were left in limbo and/or running in the background.
I left knewing they hadn't listened and that I would not get paid.
This job had had taken 2 hours out of my life that I can't get back.
That's the problem with service businesses where you charge dollars for hours.
Once the time is gone so is the money or the opportunity to "do it again".
I got some snippy communications from them on social media and as a reply to my invoice. I was accused of certain things for which I am the polar opposite. I was accused of having fixed nothing, but the major issue had been fixed.
The messages included threats to slag me off far and wide on social media.
I was very close to telling them to go for it. I knew it would only make them look crazy.
But you can't fight crazy so I just blocked them and, once again, moved on...out-of-pocket.
It was all so weird that I wondered if it was some massive misperception on my behalf or if this person was often like that...so I Googled them...
That made me feel better. I had friends double-check for me in case I was still missing something.
But the evidence was clear, they were a repeat offender. Their Linked-In profile was particularly revealing.
Once again I was left feeling I should warn people...but how?
Every time this happens to me, and I don't feel it is especially often or more than anyone else's experiences, I do try to fix my "radar" in an attempt to prevent a recurrence.
It's hard though when incidents are often far apart...and I still need to earn a living...
Oh well, time for another coffee.
Take care folks and feel free to warn me about the weirdos who've done you wrong. I'd appreciate it.
P.S. This article also made me feel a bit better: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/01/how-actual-smart-people-talk-about-themselves/549878/
P.P.S. And this one is worth a look too: https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/5-types-people-who-can-ruin-your-life/201803/how-spot-sociopath-in-3-steps
P.P.P.S and to be 100% clear, I in no way think I am smart. I wish I was at least "smarter" in some aspects of my life. If I was I might be successful in some way...but I am not. No pity please. It is just the facts. :-)