Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I'm Sorry I'm Sorry

by Working Girl One

Do you ever feel like you're being a huge annoyance to the people you work with? Like you're stalking people via email? It's the story of my life recently and I always feel bad about it.

At work, this never used to be a problem. Maybe because I was at my last job for so long that I was very comfortable. I knew my role and the roles of the people I worked with. Sure, every now and then an email started with "apologies for..." but everyone does that. Right?!

Lately, I feel like I'm always apologizing. I've been working on a big project in an area that is new to me. There have been a lot of growing pains. A lot. I've been apologizing to the vendor who is executing the day-to-day of the project, the internal people in my company of whom I've asked dozens of questions, my co-workers, my boss.

There is no reason for me to be apologizing. Especially to the vendor working on the project. The vendor is working for me and I might be a PIA but isn't that pretty much a pre-req for being the client?

This was something that came up at my last job. Working on events, you sometimes have to be a bit stern and harsh with the vendors you're working with. It's something I've always had a problem with. Maybe it's because I like being liked or don't want to be a bitch or that I let sympathy take over.

Too often I put myself in the vendors' shoes and think "they are working really hard, if it were me I'd want the client to be nice to me." But I should be thinking "if I were in their shoes, I'd be doing x, y and z to make this perfect for my client." Over time, I think, I hope, I've gotten a bit better (and I definitely still have some room for improvement).

For last week or so I've stopped myself every time I've typed "I'm sorry" or "apologies for" because really, I'm not sorry. I'm not sorry I didn't get to your email yesterday, I was swamped and it wasn't a priority. I'm not sorry I'm following up for the third time on something that should have been completed by now.

I still have to make a conscious effort not to apologize, but hopefully, I'm on the right track.

11 comments:

Jessie said...

for a second there, I thought i was writing this post. sounds exactly like me. thanks as it helps to remind me to stop saying "sorry" all the time!

lisa said...

I don't believe in apologizing unless you really have something to apologize for, and then you should say "I'm sorry, I've done x,y and z to remedy this" or "I'm sorry, it won't happen again" or even simply "I'm sorry." Saying sorry as a way of softening the blow or being polite can come across as passive-aggressive or insincere.

Dorie said...

I actually gave up apologizing in the office recently. I realized that when the men in my office messed up, they don't apologize - they just move on.

professiongal said...

I think it says a lot about a person who can admit when he or she is wrong. But, you're right to have cut down your frequency of apologizing. When dealing with vendors, it's important not to come off as a push-over so that you receive the quality of work you deserve and are paying for.

I, too, have had difficulty with this, and I think it's common in new hires and junior staff (like myself) because we're scared to seem like we're speaking out of turn.

Loved this post! It's really made me think twice before beginning an email with "Not to bother you, but..." :)

ProfessionGal
http://professiongal.com/

MonsteRawr said...

I do tend to use apologies in e-mails quite a lot. "I'm afraid we're going to have to do x," or "Forgive me for my delay in response." Am I actually sorry? Not at all. But my first communication with these people is through e-mail, and I'm going to have work with them at some point. And even if I'm not *actually* sorry, there's no sense in coming across as a dick before I've met the guy. Some fights just aren't worth fighting.

Crosby Kenyon said...

I think that, if you can manage it, a sense of humor is one of the most important things.

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