Friday, February 09, 2018

the unexpected let down

blood grapefruit, 2017

Oh how quickly things can change. Unfortunately my cool cat attitude didn't even last a week until I was treated in a very unprofessional and careless way, by someone I still thought was part of The Team.

Even if things changed a lot in the beginning of January. And then the project abruptly came to a halt at the end of the month, I still thought our little team were on the same page. That we would, given the currently very special circumstances, continue to treat eachother with respect and in the loop as much as possible.

And the fact that just being who I am, the way I am, my experiences, my special USP skill set, has been of a unique fit all through this, well, surely my hard work - naturally alongside everyone else's hard work, one of the nicest thing about this project and our fine team has been that our respective strengths and weaknesses have complimented eachother oh so well - and presence will be as valued as it has seemed to be, when we get through the currently bumpier ride than ever?

Turned out I was wrong.

I've tried to keep an open mind, accepted behaviours, the lack of clear communication, for some time now, that there's more than meet the eye, personal issues, stress, we all have bad days and so forth. But my cup runneth over this past week. I can't be expected to be a mind reader, knowing what's going on behind the scenes, in someone else's mind. How they see or not see the future, if they've changed their mind, path, loyalty. And here I am, no longer a cool cat, in this aspect, I'm just a sad, hurt cat. An angry, frustrated cat.

When I began writing about this, it ended up being a very long, cronological post. However I don't think that's very interesting, for anyone but myself. But if you're interested in how the marketing project journey began this September post is a good start.

This week most of the hard work I've put in to set a consistent on brand, high quality and attention to details standard for copy, photos, TOV and strategy in communication and social channels were basically reduced to meaninglessness.

When I pointed that out, in less strong words but nevertheless clearly that enough is enough for me now, I didn't get the least bit of professional courtesy, civil explanation or something like sorry, it wasn't the intention but... You now, how it works in a decent team. Instead I was told that

a) "We can talk, that's what grown-ups do." 

- Don't, just don't, say that to the one and only person who has all along been grown-up and insisted on straight talk, better communication, regular team updates all through the project. Don't say that to the person who has worked with communication all her life. The one who knows the importance of communication, communication, communication.

b) "No need to be upset just because someone does things differently." 

- Words that spring to mind are patronising, and shudder, mansplaining even. And obviously the situation is not that simple. I'm not that childish.

To be honest I can't believe it's the same decent person that seemed to value and appreciate my work, company and input so much. Whom I had such fun with. Now simply acting like a careless bull in a china shop. In a totally unprofessional way. (Although I'm not sure a bull in a china shop can ever be professional.)

These six months have, needless to say, been very intense. We've had such incredible fun, meaningful discussions, banters on fire, cool, quirky plans, silly nicknames, shared goals and a lot of energy, been frustrated and angry together, worked and played together so well.

With our refreshing mix of differences and similarities it was an unexpected friendship I had come to value. I got the impression of a caring, kindred oddball spirit. I mean, the offer to fly over "because Pia needs the support" and we are a team, that was one of the nicest thing someone has ever done for me. But now suddenly, that is simply a not so distant memory. Trust broken.

I also want to mention that trust is created, and earned, by what you say and most of all by what you do. Not by what you think, and don't share. I thought we suffered through this project turned lopsided together, and that we had other grand plans to be realized on the other side of it all.

Everything we do communicates. And to not communicate, that is communication in itself. Patronising and mansplaining speak even louder. I seem to have lost my team, as I've come to value so much, this week. I also seem to have lost a person I appreciated and thought I would work and play with in many more projects to come. And that hurts. A lot.

Perhaps it just wasn't my time to be a cool cat. My tribe is still out there somewhere, that much I know. And I've grown, learnt, changed and become a better person through all of this. I'm forever deeply, deeply grateful for that.

I still believe what's meant to be will be. I will now continue to lick my wounds from this experience for a while. But who knows what fantastic things, opportunities and people who are out there waiting to cross paths with me?

February, can you please, pretty please, show your kind and benevolent side now?

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