So much of life is perspective.
I have had some…exciting…and challenging clients this year. Challenging because either they or people adjacent to them are in crisis, create crisis or, for whatever reason, thrive on crisis.
I find it exhausting.
I had the comment yesterday that I keep finding trouble. I think it’s the opposite. I am a problem solver. People call me when they have problems they need solved. So really, trouble finds me. Which is a challenge for someone who would really rather avoid crisis and the stress that goes along with it. I occasionally threaten to get a job in a back corner as a data analyst. No one of my acquaintance takes that seriously. My friends think my job is cool. They don’t think it’s a big deal that I get calls after 8 when I have already spent 4 hours on the phone and written 2 documents on the issue that I got the late call about. They wonder why I have a 16 hour day that takes me across the state and back.
From a certain perspective, I do find trouble. I show up to solve most of the problems I’m asked to solve. They don’t come to me, I go to them. I sit in meetings, I study documents, I listen to volume and tone, I watch expressions, I notice who is whispering to who and I get invested so that I can earn trust. If you can’t be trusted, you become part of the problem, not the solution. I provide solutions, and I work hard for the trust to be heard when I present those solutions.
I still think that trouble finds me.
I make myself available, I promote my expertise, I talk about my work (it’s very entertaining when I reenact public meetings and the things people are prone to say in them on the microphone) and because I am in the business of handling trouble and solving problems, trouble finds me.
I was recently introduced to legal counsel who is taking a different approach to problem solving than I take. We have different perspectives on client service and the group organization processes. I was called in because of concern that the legal counsel was not providing what the client needed, they didn’t feel that their questions were being answered and they didn’t feel sufficiently informed to make the decisions they were being asked to make. I showed up with documents that illustrated the answers to a lot of the questions and spent the next day fielding persistent requests from the legal counsel and co-counsel to meet with them to explain my knowledge.
I know law because I can read. Surely you can know what I know because…you can read? I get a call when things aren’t working, when problems don’t have a clear resolution or when people need good information to make good decisions. I provide exactly those things to them. If you don’t know how to fix that problem, why are you asking me to explain it to you? I just did your job for you, just say thanks , learn a lesson and move on.
You’re actually going to come to me to find out what I know – when I just talked about it in an open meeting in front of everyone? When I provided you with the same document I provided to everyone else?
Trouble finds me. And sometimes I want to kick it in the teeth.