Its the first day in a while I have got home from work early. I didn’t plan it that way, but at 9am today after an hour of work I left the job I was working on and packed up.
For 3 weeks I have been working with and liasing with a client who has been difficult and rude. I copped the blame for some of his poor communication and I had him berate me over issues that weren’t my concern. I copped it, but each time felt the internal pressure valve go up a notch.
My bobcat guy was there yesterday and when I dropped in to see him, he was fairly cheesed off because he had been badly treated. He almost left, but decided to press on.
This morning after spending 20 minutes re-explaining how we would do things to the client – which was pointless because he didn’t understand retic – we began to dig trenches and get set up for the day. He came back to ‘raise a concern’…
He didn’t like the sprinklers we were using and wanted different ones… even though the system wouldn’t have worked with his plans… He didn’t want my lawn supplier either so we agreed to go with his… He didn’t like my bobcat operator… Can you see a pattern?
I explained why his plans wouldn’t work but he insisted we do it his way. At this point I told him that I felt the best thing was that we pack up and go home and leave him to find someone who would do it the way he wanted. We would refund the remainder of his deposit and call it quits.
He must have thought I was bluffing because as we started to pack up his mood shifted. Actually it shifted about 5 or 6 times in the 15 minutes it took us to get out of there. From agressive, to manipulative, to pleading, to demanding… to resignation… because we weren’t going back.
The tools were going back in the truck and the day was over as far as I was concerned. Since the very first phone call I had been feeling concerned about where this was all headed, but I’d pressed on because I don’t like to leave people hanging and in $$ terms it was a good job.
Not that good though.
As a ‘business decision’ I think it was a good one to call it quits at that point, because there was clearly more rocky road ahead and I could see it getting harder rather than easier. Some people are better not to work for.
So the day ended abruptly and Phil and I headed off for a coffee.
But… one of the things we have been reflecting on as a church community is how we become more like Christ and how that permeates all of life. How it impacts not just our ‘spiritual life’, but our whole life and last night I prayed to manage this situaiton well.
I think the reason I feel a bit ill right now is not because the job didn’t work out. I can handle a day off and some lost earnings, but I think Jesus would have handled this bloke differently. I wasn’t rude to him or aggressive, but once I hit ‘snap’ point, I wasn’t going to engage with him any more. I shut down, packed up and left.
What would Jesus have done?
Perhaps he would have taken time to hear some of his story. Perhaps he would have tried to better understand why he was being demanding and difficult. Perhaps he would have disarmed him with kindness, told him a story or two, made him laugh…
I think he would have managed him just a bit better than I did.
It seems there are some people in life who have an uncanny ability to push your buttons and this bloke somehow had a master’s degree in getting me fired up. So the day is over and there is some learning.
I still have a bloody long way to go to be like Jesus.