Burning Bridges

Once again I’ve been shown that burning bridges is a really bad idea. No matter how much I want to scream and rant at someone, it’s just been proven to me (again) that it’s trite, yet true, you get more flies with honey than you do with screaming and ranting.

For the last five years or so I’ve been hired to do presentations by Staff Development for Educators (SDE) many times. They have fabulous conferences for teachers where they “learn real-world strategies and practical classroom-proven techniques at SDE’s teacher workshops, teacher conferences, and online training programs.”
I was booked for two days next December through the same lovely woman I always dealt with . A new person took her place after that, and via email, we went back and forth on what she wanted me to do, first inviting me to keynote, then withdrawing that invitation, then asking me to lower my already discounted fee. I felt I had bent over backward, trying to accommodate her needs and budget. Finally, she said never mind, they wouldn’t need me for the dates I’d been booked.
Since I’d turned down a lucrative author visit at a school for those same dates, I was doubly disappointed, which quickly turned into anger. I tried to call a few times to talk to my original booker, and couldn’t get through to her, and the more I thought about it, the more steamed I got.
Then I got a phone call from a completely new person at the company and she was fabulous. She apologized for the mix-up, and assured me they valued my work, and would try to reinstate the gig I was hired for. We talked for quite some time, and I left the conversation feeling justified and understood.
This is someone who is smart, and very good at her job. She read over the email exchange I’d had with the previous person, saw what had happened and was trying to make good. The whole time we spoke, I kept thinking, “Thank God I didn’t freak out on anyone at the company!” Not that I would have, but I definitely had fantasies about blowing my lid and ranting about how really angry I had been. Instead, I spent weeks trying to figure out the best way to approach the situation.
Gee, maybe I’m finally growing up. Probably it’s as I always say – I’m just a slow learner!

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