It’s neither nice nor fair but today we live in a world where once a week or so the All Seeing Eye of the Internet plucks someone from obscurity and social media commentators publicly castigate them for some poor behavior or socially unacceptable gaffe.
It’s not quite the Two Minute Hate from Orwell’s 1984, but it fits a similar social mold, with Jezebel, Gawker, et al filling in for Big Brother, telling the proles who they should despise.
This past week’s locus of the Internet’s ire was a woman running a job bank and networking page in Cleveland who didn’t just brush off young job seeker, but wrote an especially spiteful rejection email:
It’s often the case that when somebody has an outburst like that they have other matters stressing them out, and it has little to do with the person that they are directing their ire at.
What I see, reading that email is someone who was having a bad day, and she vented bile at someone who didn’t deserve it.
Which brings me to my point: How to communicate effectively.
In both personal and business correspondence I make a conscious effort to respond rather than react. To think, before I speak or write something I might regret.
That’s especially important after receiving an email or voicemail with a confrontational tone.
Instead of shooting from the lip and dashing off a sarcastic response (and anybody who knows me knows that sarcasm is my native language), I take the time to cool off and think about what an appropriate response is.
And I’ll tell you why:
20 or so years ago I blew my stack over the phone at a co-worker at another store.
Six months later he was my boss.
I’ve never forgotten that lesson.