Choosing Peace

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Today I had an annoying phone conversation. I was told that, for purely administrative reasons which were incomprehensible to me, I needed to fill in yet another form to clear costs from the conference I attended in March. Apparently something was an advance, and something something else, something bla bla bla, use this code and form.

I have had good interactions to date with the person I was speaking with. I was also really annoyed and inconvenienced by this technical requirement. Don’t I fill in enough forms? For someone in my position, it’s ridiculous how many times I have to deal with Finance! I don’t have time for this!

Yes, that’s right. Ego, pride, inflated sense of self-worth. Lack of respect, too. Fun!

I took a breath and remembered that this person was just doing her job. I, too, have had to tell people things that were annoying and pointless, and hope that they would take them in good spirits. I remembered that I want to maintain a good relationship with this good person. I also want to be fair, not to take out my annoyance on her.

So I swallowed my pride, listened and took notes, and assured her I would get on it. And I did. And in our follow-up phone call, I was so grateful. I learned from her that they get hassled from the other campus about having these very forms completed. I got that it wasn’t her, it’s beyond her and me, and I can be a good player and colleague.

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