The Day I Was Just THE WORST!
I come to work via train, then shuttle to the office. And the Blizzard of 2016 has made that more difficult for everyone. Monday I even helped a little old lady cross the street so she wouldn't fall on these snow dunes at every corner.
Hopefully that was good for some positive karma, because yesterday morning, I was just THE WORST!
My train ran late, and I was just hoping to make the last shuttle. I come up from the underground station, and I'm waiting for a light to turn to cross the street. I see the shuttle pull up, and there's a crowd waiting for it. The crowd is crossing the snow dunes slowly, so I just walk down the road itself, cutting off an SUV in the process, slip between two people coming over the dune, and hop on the shuttle ...
... and it wasn't until I was too far onto the shuttle to turn back (at 6'6", I do not "slip" through crowds so much as "barrel") that I realized it was the tiniest shuttle in service and most of those people I cut in front of, who I later learned had been waiting 20 minutes for it, were not going to make it on.
Not only did I just get there and cut in line and bump one of them off, I also had to take the last seat. (It was way in the back on a tight shuttle, and I couldn't even get out of the way to give it to someone else. If I didn't sit down, one more person wasn't getting on the shuttle.)
Normally the whole crowd fits on the shuttle no problem. I didn't even think of it as an issue. Until it was. And then ... I was absolutely THE WORST! person that day.
It occurred to me, as I was feeling terrible on the way to the office, that this had to be exactly how some of the marketing departments behind last year's biggest blunders felt.
After all, I am sure the people who came up with Bloomingdale's "Spike Her Eggnog" ad weren't thinking of the connotations the word "spike" has in the age of Rohypnol. (If they had, they certainly wouldn't have run it.) But you know what, they made the ad, and yeah, they were just THE WORST! people that day.
That happens. You're rushed, you're pushing to do something brilliant, you're laser focused on what's in front of you, additional oversight isn't in the budget or schedule ... and you miss it. You send the email with a 100% off coupon instead of 10%, you tweet a screed meant for your personal followers through the company's Twitter account, you advocate reselling puppies online. You suggest your customers "Need the D."
And after you've been just THE WORST!, what do you do?
I know what I did was say loudly that I "didn't even realize ..." That's good for something, I guess, if people listen. I still think if you'd held a vote among the people who'd been waiting for that shuttle on whether or not I should've been executed for my transgression, I'd get that big Caesar thumbs down.
You can fire the people responsible. Sometimes that makes sense, but other times you're just firing the people who learned a really important lesson. Every time Darth Vader Force chokes someone out in Star Wars, I wonder, "Do you really have THAT many competent guys for that job?" Judging from the run of those movies, clearly not.
Maybe in the end the real lesson is just to learn that, at some point, everyone is just THE WORST! and forgive yourself (after you learn the lesson). ... And maybe remember that time you were THE WORST! next time you see someone else is.