Friday, April 16, 2010

Intimidation ... a sign of weakness

They always look at me and say that it doesn't have to be complicated, and then they tell me exactly how I'm going to handle it. I say I agree it's not complicated, all we need is this or that  document from the court and we can proceed. They lose patience, you can tell from their body language, then the cliche comes immediately (it takes about 2 to 3 minutes from the time they introduce themselves) "Listen, I'm a lawyer and I know and I can ... " Yawn.

I politely apologize for the inconvenience they have to go through, however we run everything by our  own legal department. They start the bully technique. It gets really ugly and loud. Then after showing me how angry they are since their threats didn't work, they say that "it's not personal, it's business".

They always leave  dragging behind them their empty threats, walking out of those large corporations with their red faces, cursing and cussing every employee who works there, not realizing that just because they have a degree in law, it doesn't mean that the world has to run its course according to what they have learned. they also don't realize that "intimidation is a sign of weakness". But what's pathetic about all that, is them not realizing that their real battle is not against us, the little victims who put up with all the unnecessary hostility, but that they're actually fighting with each other, because the guy on the help line from our "Legal" Department is also a………… Lawyer.

She lowered her glasses and gave me that really evil look and with a voice full of anger she said  "DOCTOR Hickey". I was taken aback, not because of the title, which was irrelevant to what we were handling, but because of her demeanor. She threw her coupon book at me and screamed her heart out that she didn't want people from India calling her at 9 AM on a Saturday morning. I handed back her coupon book and said to her "Ms Hickey, I am trying to handle your request to the best of my ability, but you're not exactly making it easy" And oh boy, she heard me saying "Ms" for the second time. She threatened to get me fired. I gave her my manager's name and his manager's name. I just wanted her out of my sight.

She came back and told my manager that her problem was not with the people in India or with the mis-posted mortgage payment. Her real problem was with me not calling her "Dr. Hickey" And here's how she felt entitled to that title; her logic, and that is being quoted from her complaint to my manager, was "I have worked so hard to get this title, to be where I am today, I was ahead of my whole class, I teach in a very respectful university, and I work in a very important hospital. So if I'm being addressed, I should be addressed by 'Doctor'".

Now here's what I'm confused about, so when I'm dealing with an engineer, should I call him/her engineer so and so, and when I'm dealing with a pharmacist, should I call them pharmacist so and so? Since when do we have to call each other by our titles? I wasn't aware of that mandatory protocol. But that justification has another problem Dr. Hickey. Even though you have worked so hard to earn your degree, do you know how hard everyone who comes your way has worked to get to where they are whatever that is. You don't know how hard I have worked to be an Assistant Vice President? Yet I never asked you to call me by my title. You don't know how hard the waiter who served you dinner has worked to be promoted from a bus-boy to a waiter. You don't know how hard that nurse has worked to earn her degree and get accepted at that particular hospital. You don't know how hard that cleaning lady is still working to provide for her sick son whom your degree didn't heal. So is that your justification why you wanted to be called a doctor? Do you really think that just because you are one, you can feel superior and disrespect people left and right!!!

Bottom line whether you have a PHD in medicine or law, you don't demand respect, you earn it with the way you carry yourself and treat people, and please............ don't leave me a hickey without at least making love to me first ;)