By Tim Denning
Your day can be spectacularly ruined.
Pain in the ass situations happen, even to Oprah. Your best bet is to be aware of the worst ones and have a backup plan for when they occur. Many of these situations will be caused by other humans you share the planet with. Humans can be ignorant.
You’re doing the best you can. Be on the lookout for these scenarios.
Being called out
Call-out culture is loud and proud. If you dare publish any form of content online, you’ll be called out for completely random stuff you have no idea about. Assumptions will be made. Conclusions will be drawn. If it happens, don’t feel bad about it.
Calling out others for tiny misdemeanors gets you nowhere in life. The world isn’t changed by complaining. The world is changed by doers. Eventually all the calling out exhausts people and they simply switch off. Getting called out has happened to me a few times over the last seven years.
On the day it happens your heart will sink. You’ll feel a little angry.
- Do nothing
- Sleep on it
- Block and delete them from your life (drastic). A little empathy normally stops you from being so harsh.
If you’re tempted to call out others, take a long, hard look at yourself first. Chances are there’s work to be done. That’s what I tell myself before succumbing to the deliciously tasty temptation of call-out culture.
Even though call-out culture for making tiny mistakes is a booming business on places like Twitter, there’s also a lot of value in it if you end up in the crosshairs of the sniper. Five words.
Negative feedback helps you grow. Read that again.
“Hate nobody; love everybody including people who offend you.” ― Israelmore Ayivor
You can be a good samaritan your entire life. No matter what, you will accidentally offend someone. Maybe it’s how you look. Maybe it’s the clothes you chose to wear to dinner.
I accidentally offended a work colleague when I wore a t-shirt and jeans to a networking event on a Friday evening. They were pissed that I didn’t wear a suit and tie. I thought Friday nights were supposed to be casual. I thought wearing what you feel comfortable in helps you build better business relationships. But no. They never invited me to another function again. They told my boss. “He should really wear a tie.”
I stopped wearing a tie because it felt like a noose around my throat.
Even with good intentions you’ll offend people. Stop feeling bad about it.
Those who are easily offended should be offended more often — Mae West
The expectation to be charitable
People will ask you to donate to a good cause. But you can’t back every good cause. Most of us don’t have bottomless wallets. I’ve created a few disasters in my life by not donating to certain causes.
I decided a long time ago to funnel my charitable donations towards homelessness. It’s a cause that is close to my heart because a good friend of mine, to this day, still suffers from it. It’s a form of mental illness. For most of us, if we knew we’d be evicted from our home in the next 48 hours, our fight or flight mode would turn on. He’s lost his. He’s immune to eviction. He feels numb when really bad things happen. He can gamble a million dollars, lose the lot, and feel nothing.
Homelessness is a deep problem. It can’t easily be solved. It takes more than just money to fix it. Often, giving your time to the cause is the best thing you can do.
So when someone blows up at me for not supporting every cause I encounter, I don’t apologize. You don’t need to either. You’re doing the best you can to help others. Pick one cause and go deep.
Charity shouldn’t be an expectation that makes us feel guilty.
Having to say no to a person who has done a lot for you
There are times you have to say no to a friend who needs your help. They may have done a lot for you but that still doesn’t obligate you to say yes.
The worst part is when it turns into a scorekeeping exercise. Favors don’t carry obligations — that’s what contracts are for. So unless you signed a contract for receiving a favor, do what you got to do.
To avoid saying no we often say nothing. That silence can be misinterpreted for a lack of care. The truth is we have to say no more often than we’d like. Don’t feel guilty for saying no to a request of your time.
Time is a currency that’s worth more than money. Having time makes you a real billionaire. Don’t get drunk on other people’s request. You’re doing the best you can. You can’t always be available to help with every little drama that occurs in a friend’s life. If a friend makes you feel bad about that then they’re not a true friend.
Friends don’t expect unlimited help 24/7.
Getting banned from a marketplace dictatorship
Marketplaces can be dictatorships.
One story sticks out. Jackson Cunningham got banned from Airbnb for life. After going to great lengths to get an answer, all he got was cryptic emails from his travel captors. He even emailed the founders trying to get his account back. One event before the ban likely was the cause.
While staying at a property the host walked in unannounced. There seemed to be a mixup about what time he had to leave. Jackson decided not to leave a review on Airbnb. The host did. The facts of the incident were easily provable.
Jackson later decided to leave a google review of the host. Posting an offsite review is the equivalent of stepping on a landmine. Jackson had no idea.
The incident inspired Jackson to write a blog post about his experience. That post went viral. It raised an important question: should big tech be able to ban you from their platform without any regulatory oversight or court-style trial?
Getting banned from an app is a pain in the butt. It happened to me a few times on LinkedIn. Thankfully, LinkedIn took the human approach. But not all tech companies do. Some will ruin your day by unleashing the guillotine for a crime you didn’t know you committed. When you challenge them, they will simply refer to their terms and conditions and assume you subscribe to all the updates and read them before making love to your partner.
Getting blocked or restricted from an app is a pain in the ass. The solution I’ve found is to contact them and try and get a team leader on the phone. LinkedIn is the best telephone directory in history. You can find the right employee at a tech giant to talk with and work it out.
I’ve found if you shut up and listen to the violation, there are paths to solve the issue. But the moment your ego takes over, game over. The ban will feel like Jackson’s “Digital Exile” experience with Airbnb.
Your ego is the enemy when it comes to tech bans.
Maybe you can relate to one of these pain in the ass things. Don’t let one of them knock you out. You’re doing the best you can. Managing time, friends, family, causes you care about, and your online footprint with tech giants is hard work. You’re bound to make mistakes. It’s okay.
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