Not many folks have asked me about my “break” for lack of a better word. What was it that got my attention? I’m assuming most think it was Netter pulling me back to reality and making me go on vacation. In truth, that was part of it. But it wasn’t what got my attention.
I’m not going to lie. Work right now is stressful. There was a levy. There is a lot of change. There are some challenging customer interactions.
In November this all came to a head for me, and there was this perfectly nice customer who I had helped earlier in the day tracking me down on my way back from the hospital coffee shop.
“Hey! Excuse me! Hey! Mr. Library Man! Hey!”
I’d like to say that I didn’t hear him, but in truth I was trying hard to ignore him. But not just him, everything. Absolutely everything. I wasn’t on the clock. I was trying to take a break and he was tracking me down on “my time,” a time when I was already feeling overwhelmed.
Finally, my conscience kicked in and I wheeled around. “Do you need something?” I asked.
He had a few questions about some local services. I knew a few of the answers, but I still was clearly coming across as “you’re bothering me.” I knew it, but I didn’t care. When we were finished, I said: “Sorry Man. I guess I didn’t hear you.” His reply: "You heard me,” he said, “You just weren’t listening.”
I walked a few steps and suddenly felt the shame wash over me. “What kind of incredibly selfish person am I? What is wrong with me?” I thought.
I ran after the man and approached him with my hand extended.
“You’re right” I said, as I shook his hand. “I’ve got a lot going on right now, and I’m kind of stressed out, but that’s no excuse. I’m sorry.”
He looked puzzled, but he shook my hand and said: “I accept your apology.”
I encouraged him to come up to the 3rd floor of the library where I knew we had material on some of the services he was asking about. He said he would, and then I left to return to work.
I was just beginning my assessment. I just didn’t know it yet.
I know it now.
Check back, and I’ll tell you about it.
6 hours ago