“This is awful, truly terrible.”
That was it. The whole e-mail was one line long.
As I sat at my desk, my stomach hit the floor and then churned around until it settled as a hard knot.
I spent three hours going back and forth over the piece of work and correspondence. Trying desperately to figure out where it had all gone so wrong.
I reasoned that it was similar to another project that had been met with enthusiasm.
I rationalised that there had been no specifications or expectations set.
But my brain was going around in circles. Telling me over and over again. This was serious.
“You went ahead without prior approval.”
“What a massive error.”
“You’re not going to get your contract extended. No reference = unemployable.”
I knew eventually I would need to face my manager. I practised what I would say over and over again in my head.
With one hour to go before I needed to leave. It was now or never. I stood up, adrenaline rushing through my body, legs like jelly. I walked towards the closed door.
KNOCK. KNOCK. KNOCK.
Flustered my face red with shame, “I’ve come to talk to you about the project.”
“Oh yes. I don’t know what they did with that. Can you just tweak this and add that?”
“Erm yes of course.”
I got out of there as fast as possible, slightly perplexed.
By tomorrow, it would be fully amended, accepted and never mentioned ever again.
It is important to check the language that we are using. Words have an incredible power. They can be used to build up a person’s self-esteem or they can be used to manipulate and exploit.
The e-mail I received was written without thought, care or attention. Nevertheless, those words remain etched in my memory.
Are there any words that will always stay with you?