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Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2000 11:57 am

How To Receive An Apology

Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:37 pm

Forgivage. It's an important life skill, since it's childish and selfish to go around holding grudges against people forever. But, I have nearly zero experience with forgivicusness, since on the whole I haven't received as many apologies in life as I've got coming (alcoholic abusive parents, idiot former boss who very actively sabotaged my career, idiot instructrix at night school who told me I'd "plagiarized" a paper I wrote and didn't spent two seconds even TRYING to back up the claim...)

Yet it is no longer true that I get to say, "I've never ever ever ever ever been apologized to by ANYONE ever." Just recently a girl was chatting with her friend at the BART faregates and her purse was blocking the ticket-slot so I couldn't get in. Noticing this, she very earnestly said, "Oh; I'm sorry - that was rude of me."

AND I HAD NO CLUE WHAT YOU SAY TO THAT!!! In my life experience I've only known how to keep giving the evil eye, or flip people off, but in that case it surely wasn't the right thing to do.

Now something bigger is going on. My pal "RJ" owns a construction/security-type company that my employer does a lot of business with. In fact, "RJinc" is gonna open a new branch office in Florida. Since I'm pals with RJ and some of his top henchmen, including "Mason," (and I've been pals with them since before they started the company) I emailed RJ asking about maybe opportunities in the Florida (as unhappy as I am in my current job). Mason called me one day from a job site of his in Colorado and said RJ had told him to call me about Florida; did I have to time to talk. Well I did not, so we agreed I would call him back at 7:30 Mountain time. I did this but I got his voicemail and left a msg asking for an call back. Didn't get one, so I left another msg 2 hours later (this was about 4 weeks ago). No response for days. I tried calling Mason again but this time his voicemailbox was full. I emailed RJ asking if Mason was at least OK; since he seemed to have disappeared. RJ said Mason was just really busy since he'd had so much work in Colorado. "I'll make sure he calls you," said RJ's email.

Mason didn't call.

By now, I've left four, maybe five voicemail messages for Mason over the past 4 weeks. Most recently I sent an email within the last week to RJ asking if they'd all just changed their mind about opening a Florida office. The email has not been responded to.

Obviously, at this point I've ruled out the prospect of me working for RJinc. And I truly don't expect anything else, like say the once-promised phone call from Mason, to happen along that whole vein. (It's not like this is the first time I've been dissed by an employer whom I once considered "prospective," but what has me vexed is the fact that Mason did call me FIRST...why would you call someone to set a "time to talk" about the job prospect in the first place if you actually have no plans to hire them.)

Since my employer does business with these guys, it's not unlikely that I will have contact with them again. And so I picture getting a call, or seeing them when they're in town to meet with my bosses, and being completely toxic and passive-aggressive (or, for pete's sake, active aggressive; why not).

However, I so badly WANT TO LEAVE MY CURRENT JOB that I've determined I need to be prepared for that 0.5% possibility that they will one day finally call me about it (PREPARED for this, I said, not WAGERING on it). And currently all I know how to do is bawl them out a blue streak, ask what the hell do they THINK I think about their company, how the hell do they THINK I feel after five unreturned phone calls over a month...and in general, just sabotage whatever chance might suddenly exist for a positive life change to actually happen (see, I've been trying for more than ten years to get the @#*&! out of the Bay Area; economics have prevented it).

RJ himself actually called into our control center's 800 number, with me answering, 'cause he wanted to talk to one of the project managers here. "Is Julie still there?" he asked...and while I was fetching her number to transfer him, he started to say, "You know, we're still going to open a Florida office..." but I transferred the call immediately, pretending not to hear him. Because I didn't trust myself to respond to that without being all reactive and angry as described above.

Sometimes he himself or Mason actually go out to the jobsites, even though they now have about 130 employees under them, and call in to my control center. I picture Mason calling in and me asking for the project number or job-site ID, and him saying, "Well no, I'm calling to finally talk about Florida," and I'd say, "We're not doing Florida yet; just Georgia and North Carolina, plus the RMAC projects and the EPROM upgrades in Washington and Idaho," and he'd say, "No, I'm calling about the job managing our new Florida office," and I'd say, "Well I've got Georgia and North Carolina and EPROM calls in my queue; if you're not calling about a Control Center project then I need to clear the line." CLICK.

It's not the right thing to do, both MORALLY as well as strategically. Under Jewish law, if someone has wronged you and they try to make it right, you have to forgive them (there's exceptions in cases of severe wrongage, but that surely doesn't apply here). If they attempt conciliation three times and you still haven't forgiven them after the third, the guilt of their sin against you is actually transferred to you (nice going).

Strategically, I could have a better paying job, the hell away from the Bay Area, let alone in sunny, eternal-swimsuit-season FLORIDA, finally about to fall into my lap, after a 15-year wait for such a thing, and then flush the whole thing down the crappicus just so I get off at Mason for not returning my calls. GOD HELP ME REFRAIN FROM DOING THAT!!!! (Y'know, if he ever does call, which after 5 unreturned calls in 4 weeks, I quite suspect he won't.)

What if Mason calls and says, "stuey, sorry I haven't called..."

The template for these things seems to say I'm to shrug and say, "That's OK," except it nearly violently ISN'T ok. Letting my anger out at these guys is, I'm afraid, equally as important to me as is career improvement. That's my conundrum. (I mean, a huge part of this is, even though they're super-busy with Colorado and this project and that project, WHAT ABOUT A FREAKIN' 10-SECOND CALL, saying, "Sorry I know I was supposed to call you, but it's gotten crazy busy around here and I'm afraid I don't have time now...can we set up a time to talk about it in a couple weeks?" I don't get why I'm not important enough for at least that ten-second call...)

So what do I prepare to say to either Mason or RJ in the unlikely event of them calling me?

Thanks for sitting through this epic post.

[Edited 2009-11-14 11:08:08]
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Posts: 5983
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RE: How To Receive An Apology

Sat Nov 14, 2009 7:00 pm

Quoting Airstud (Thread starter):
So what do I prepare to say to either Mason or RJ in the unlikely event of them calling me?

First of all, listen to what they have to say.

For me, the most important thing in an apology is to believe that it is meant, and that the person apologising believes what they say. In a genuine apology, I believe that someone should explain why they are sorry, and show some understanding of (or at least willing to realise) the hurt, inconvenience or upset caused to you.

In terms of how to accept an apology, that is not always straightforward. I do think it's ok to explain why you are aggrieved and what effect events have had on you, but it is important not to overdo that side of things when someone is obviously genuinely sorry. I personally hate it when I apologise, really mean it, and the person receiving the apology goes on and on sticking the knife in, taking advantage of the situation. That sort of thing can rapidly make a person far less sorry than they originally were.

I think that forgiveness is a very, very important thing. It is very often easier said than done to forgive someone, and similarly it is not always easy to face up to your wrongs and make amends for them. But, I believe both are possible, and also that it is possible to work on learning to do these things.

I wish you good luck and peace in learning to deal with this. It is good for everyone, not least yourself, to learn to forgive people and show humility in the right circumstances.
✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈

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