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Monday, June 14, 2010

Don't you know I got a plastic soul?

Something is making it possible for me to be firm with clients who share their sob stories in hope of an exchange of some sort. They want me to bend the rules for them, but I don't.

A client recently called and was already bawling by the time I picked up the phone. She begged me to bear with her while she tried to get out what she needed to say. Her explanation for non-payment included medical bills, medication bills, and an inability for others in her community to continue offering financial assistance to her.

Do you know what I did? I told that crying woman that I can't do anything for her. I told her I could only approach another individual for the final decision to be made. I advised her that she may need to consider vacating the property.

Just like that I practically told the woman to pay up or move out. And I didn't feel badly about it one bit.

I'm hopeful that I'm callous because it's my job, not my nature.

I wonder what the clients would do if I tried out my sob stories on them. What if I told them that the reason I couldn't help them on a particular day is because I'm too pregnant? What if I explained that I'm too hormonal to fill out forms on their behalf? What if I told them I couldn't forward their request for an abeyance because my husband is out of work and I'm too anxiety-ridden to do anything productive?

It just doesn't work that way. We all have responsibilities we simply cannot shirk. We can't let ourselves become victims of circumstance. Yes, we can feel vulnerable and overwhelmed and make mistakes. I do all the time. But I don't use any of that as an excuse to just NOT do something like pay a bill or follow through on a task. I often forget to complete a task, but that's just because I'm disorganized lately; something I'm desperately working on as I get ready to train my replacement.

My boss always says we have a right to choose our own charities. I repeat that phrase every day when someone asks me to allow them to live rent-free in a property we manage. It's good advice, don't you think?

I wish more people would apply it to their lives.


  1. you have the most unplastic soul i know! What a wonderful opportunity to work at a place that teaches you how to say no :) it is a skill i need much practice in and i admire people who can just cut to the chase and say it how it is! Your boss is right about the charities and you can only do so much, Hang in there... soon you will have the best little sunshine to brighten your everyday!

  2. Funny - lately, I've been thinking about this very subject, in my own life. I've had to tell a lot of people "no," or say things like, "That was a good attempt, but let me do it the right way." Not because I'm a jerk (hopefully), but because sometimes, in life, you need a firm spine in order to get through the day. You can't help all the people all of the time, right?

    Does this make us jerks?! :P


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