RESPECT

  • Posted on: 13 July 2014
  • By: Shawn DeWolfe

I think that respect, like shame, is an emotional prompt that doesn't do much good. It becomes a flag without a nation; or a homeland made out of smoke. The truth is: respect is the last warning marker before people try to plunge into the dominion of your self and annex who you are then take over your goals and priorities.

This has been a week of roller coaster moments. Last Sunday, we had to ID a dirtbag in a photo line-up regarding an assault. The last two times I was at the police: one was to return a wallet I found; and once was to apply for a liquor license. I maintain that if you are law abiding and not a victim, the police should be an invisible part of the world. I rail against the police when they stop you at a road side check and ask, "how much have you had to drink?" On about 300 days a year, that answer will be none. On the 65 remainder, a 'yes' doesn't come from me while I'm at the wheel. It shows a lack of respect to presume a motorist is a drinker. With the systemic degradation of respect in the police system in mind, the photo line-up was uncomfortable.

Monday, the police showed up to charge him. I didn't get to see him actually put into a police cruiser and driven off for booking. That would have been degrading for him. Somehow the degradation of others is innately satisfying. Mean spirited? Yes. But sometimes you don't need to take the high road.

The next day, I was on a 90-minute ambush call. This is in regards to sub-contracted work. The client cajoled me into taking on additional work to close off the project. I should have put a line in the sand and now I'm paying for it. On the call, he said, "I should stay up late and learn Drupal." Sure: Drupal is a 4-hour topic. Go for it. That dismissal of its complexity was really galling. The reason for the call and the panic is that he had discounted the complexity of the project a month prior. He threw an off-shorer onto the work. She so majorly mangled the website that I had to start over, but with no money, no time and lot of booby traps in places because she was a hack. The week prior, he wanted to get "the Drupal guy" for an hour to fix the site. He also wanted to pay that guy $20 to make the fix. It was all a slap in the face. The main tasks of the original project will be finished off and then I so thoroughly done with that project and that contact.

A number of years back, I worked a web design outfit in town. I got on a kick of walking there every morning. The end effect was that I lost about 40 pounds. I was on course to continue the trend. Inside of a year, I could have lost all of my excess weight. That is until they changed things up. One of the project management trolls wanted a techie available at 7am when she was in. So, that became me. I could be out the door at 7am for a 45 minute walk. Getting out the door for 6am wasn't going to fly. On the flip side of the day, she would be out the door at 3pm. People would walk up with problems at 2:55 and engage me for an hour or more. Voila: no more weight loss walks; and I magically had 5 hours of found overtime on my plate. Afternoons were taken up with childcare, so when my mornings were gone, my exercise was gone. As they were too cheap to pay for decent redundancy in their hosting, I soon became welded to their servers as the guy who stop them from failing almost daily. I found a better job and they didn't know why I would quit. Uh, gee: no BS, work-from-home, lots of perks, and I took a temporary $2k/year income hit.

This week, a friend, who read last week's blog urged me to consider resuming an exercise routine. You see: exercise goes out the window with me pretty quickly. I try to carve out the time, but that hole gets dumped into with some frequency. At the "new" job that I mentioned had the perks, it also had an insistent senior staffer who was in a different part of the org chart. Daily, within 15 minutes of starting my walks, I would get a red alert call from her and I'd have to run for home to see what's what. Interposed commas, an unpublished piece was not visible. Et cetera. It happened so often that I picked up the Pavlovian response of just saying home and prepping for the 7AM panic. When I shifted to evening workouts there would be afternoon panics that would prevent my workouts. Again: under resourced servers were to blame. They didn't know why a six year old single point of failure was a problem. Yep: I'm out.

This week, I got back into the walks. I have the opinion that something will set on fire somewhere and that's how the world is. I am no longer in a position to have to jump in with the fire extinguisher. People assume that I was available 24x7 because there was little respect. Or, maybe they would voice respect and gratitude, but they wouldn't act out of the gratitude to diminish the jeopardy out of respect to my workload and state of panic readiness.

I spent what free time I had trying to get a WordPress plugin ready for public consumption. I kept getting stopped by one of the reviewers. He would explain what was wrong and then I would fix it. I was tying up a lot of his time, but he paid me the courtesy of patience. I felt that had to be reciprocated, so I worked hard to make his time worthwhile.

My week ended on something of a high note: I submitted an article and the editorial response was "this is fantastic!" as though the work was extraordinary. (nerd moment: do you know what the base-36 value is for 59,667,863,789?) I like to hear that from someone about to pay me.

When I get a vibe that there is no respect in play, I have a problem with that. Respect is an acknowledgement that my time, my views, my word and my experience have value. Sometimes respect is the only currency available. When there's no money and no respect in the formula, it's bad math. Respect is a boundary and people have to defend that border on a routine basis.

Last updated date

Monday, July 14, 2014 - 00:35