Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Get shit done.

I woke up this morning to a FB post wherein someone referred to an article and erroneously concluded that because he didn't contribute to society, that was the reason he was single. (By the by, he's a government employee, providing an extremely valuable service.) The article's title piqued my interest (Six Harsh Truths That Will Make You A Better Person), but I was ready to discount it as just another random, unnecessary posting by Cracked, and a waste of my time. Still, I read on.

And damn...for a website that puts out some occasionally snarky and annoying and sometimes funny shit, this was one whopper of an article. I mean, wasn't this once a magazine that sold itself as a second-rate Mad Magazine? From such lowly dregs apparently come gems like this years later.

Here's the gist of this article: You know who gets shit done? People who get shit done. It's all nice and good if you're nice, or if you're talented, or if you're one of the beautiful people, or if you're charismatic, or if you have money, but at the end of the day, that's not what people are interested in. They want to know if you can get shit done. And if you can, awesome.

This was pretty much written from a business perspective, as far as I can tell. You could extrapolate it to many other areas in life, too. But I've learned this a number of times, the hard way, and it has stuck with me ever since.

Years ago, while working as a server at Good Earth in upper-crust Edina, MN, I occasionally interacted with another, more experienced server, who was basically a bitch. Could not stand her. Condescending, mean, brusque, and just not someone I cared to associate with. Also: a stickler for rules. She came in one morning for her shift, and she was scheduled to take over part of my section for lunch. A couple sat down in said part of my section not 45 seconds before her shift started, and despite my being slammed, she refused to help me out and take this couple. So I gritted my teeth and proceeded to do the best I could, all while beginning to nurse one poisonous grudge.
But I soon realized that despite her attitude, she always worked the busiest sections toward the front of the restaurant, never broke a sweat, and regularly pulled in two to three times the tips I did. My take-home: Diners didn't care that she was snippy. They cared that she was efficient and got shit done...and tipped her accordingly. I was much nicer, but somewhat bumbling - and never left the back of the restaurant. Nice is nice, but it won't pay the rent.

Fast forward to chiropractic school. In the mock patient visits, I was always told I had great patient rapport. But I sometimes forgot things here and there: not completing a full neurological exam, forgetting key or confirmatory orthopedic tests, not ordering the correct lab tests...the things that students often miss as they're learning and drinking out of a fire hydrant. But while I was working on those things, it was the students who had lesser bedside manner and didn't care much for niceties who did the right things and got the higher scores.

Years later, I'm still learning this lesson. People always compliment me on how nice I am, or how modest or unassuming I am, whether I'm in a professional setting or simply among friends. But again, that doesn't pay the rent. Being efficient and effective at your job does. And sometimes I fantasize about how great it would be to be an utter bitch who could really give a shit about anything other than getting shit done...and damn people's feelings in the process.

So I responded to this guy. Told him how much I thought the article was dead on. And he countered with a "woe is according to this article, I should kill myself?" I slammed my head against the wall so hard I about gave the wall an aneurysm. And perhaps this isn't a perspective that will work for him. (Apparently, self-destructive hyperbole does work for him, though.) Nor did it for a friend of his, who maintained that love and caring and friendship was enough to make this world go round. Oh well. You can't reach everyone.

I guess I've become immune to the idea that love and flowers and rainbows and glitter is all you need. I mean, I've promised Mr. Man a very belated birthday cake. It was two days ago, and he began last night to gripe about how it hadn't materialized. The fact that I love him doesn't change anything for his expectations. I gotta get this damned cake made. And I'm not gonna enjoy making it...and I may even bitch about it. But he'll have his cake, as promised, and that will mean more to him than a platitude of "I love yous." At the very least, it'll be physical evidence to support my sentiments.

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