Sometimes, it’s ok to be a Dick. Not only is it ok, it’s required. This skill goes right in the face of how women are raised…to be people pleasers. Most men have this skill naturally…women don’t, they certainly don’t. You have to teach her that by not doing it, she is making the other person more important than she.
I have stepped up to be a witness and committee chair on a very contentious lawsuit. It takes up a considerable amount of my time, without pay, and I’m glad to do it because I believe justice needs to be served. That being said, my charity has its limits. Usually, I can plan my day around an event or participation, and I’m fine. Such was not the case last night.
I get a text, after 6pm, and he was lucky to even get me at this hour as I was working on my book deadline. The text came not from the main attorney, but from the newbie attorney that they were revising my Declaration from earlier in the year. As it was, this was absolutely not the right time to ask me to review and participate in this document. The reason was I had a deadline to get the final text of my book out to be published and had but hours to get everything done. As it was, I was very crunched for time, this added document would make certain I could be late on my own deadline.
I opened his document, it was 22 pages long and required my complete focus and concentration as it was a very important instrument for the court. I went through and responded up to page 5. I stopped at that point as it was clear that I could not continue at a detriment to myself and very possibly missing my own deadline. The attorney told me his document needed to be filed tonight by midnight and he would work around my schedule to get this done. I told him to go through the whole thing would take about 1-2 hours. I said had this been 2pm, I could have squeezed him in, but at this hour couple with my own deadline, I could not accommodate him. I asked why he hadn’t come to me earlier in the day. He said the document wasn’t finished until the moment he texted me.
Of course he had to lay it on thick to say the importance of this document, if not met, the attorneys would lose the ability to file this particular motion for the rest of the trial, and it’s a crucial document to help their case. As he is talking, I’m thinking, “Whoa…why is this made my fault that I can’t participate?” It’s not my fault that I wasn’t given ample time to review it. I thought why didn’t he give me a head’s up when the deadline was established? I said (not really knowing, but an educated guess), “Bob, this deadline was created three weeks ago.” Dead silence. There was so much silence that I thought the line went dead. At that moment, he knew I was right. I said “Look, I appreciate you’re in a very delicate position. This is not your fault, either. You’re just the messenger, but the lead attorney is wrong and he is making you and me pay for it.” He agreed.
At that point, I said “Lemme think about it. I will call you back in 5 minutes.”
Dads…teach your daughters that it is perfectly OK to take a break when evaluating such a hard decision. Just because the other person is forcing you to be on their timetable doesn’t mean you have to comply.
So, now I had to evaluate all the issues on the table.
- Would I stop what I’m doing (my book) to help him out? Probably yes. I’m a girl. I probably still would have made the other person more important than me…even at my peril.
- I would be in a real jam on my deadline. Even though my deadline was a bit longer than midnight, I really didn’t wanna work that late into the night on something this important (my book).
- I had already helped the lead attorney several months ago on a similar document, late into Sunday night when I was driving home from a trip. I wasn’t at my desk, so I had to “store” the 22 pages in my head as he read the document to me. I had to really focus as the issues were pretty complicated. It’s a miracle I even made it home in one piece as I really was not focusing on driving at all. I was tired and exhausted from the trip. I was allowing him to put my safety in jeopardy (by distracting me). He had already gotten my “get out of jail free” card before.
- Do I not participate because the lead attorney is wrong? No. I’m not like that.
I called Bob back with my decision. I put all the above bullet points aside when giving my decision. I am a just person and I base my answer on what is fair. Telling me that the lead attorney didn’t contact me until now because the document wasn’t ready is flimsy.
Here is what I said “The real issue is the lead attorney didn’t value my signature (on the document tonight). If HE didn’t think my signature was all that important, then why should I put importance on it?”
The world just stopped for a moment. I felt like the biggest dick ever. Dads, you gotta tell your daughters that sometimes, it’s perfectly ok to be a dick. Heck, sometimes, it’s required.
When I write the women’s book, it is for reasons like this that women don’t get equal pay for “equal” work. Women don’t take a stand…as they are too consumed with people pleasing. That doesn’t work well in business. The women of Women’s Lib got it all wrong. You can’t demand equal pay just because of your gender (or race, or ethnicity, or sexual orientation…or anything else). You have to command respect in the workplace. That’s what gets you the extra bucks.
I then told Bob “If my signature (input) were that important, he would have called 4 days ago to say, “We are filing a Motion, it’s coming your way, and here’s why it’s so important.” That would have taken 10 seconds. Instead, his lack of action inferred that this document isn’t that big of a deal.
Bob replied, “I understand and I respect your position” and hung up the phone. There was nothing more to say.
Aside from him, I learned a lot about myself on this conversation, too…I matter.
I felt powerful, confident, respected…and yet, fair. It doesn’t get any better than that.
If you like my blog, my book comes out on Monday, 12/17/12. www.amazon.com/author/dt4m You don’t have to have a reading device to read it. If you don’t like to read, certain reading device models have a built-in ‘Text to Speech’ feature, listen in the car or at the gym.