Jul 11, 2011

Pride and Prejudice and Professionalism.

I'm not gonna lie, I love good manners.  Or perhaps it's proper etiquette that I love.  Actually, I think it's both.  I love it when people hold doors for each other, say thank you, compliment each other's shoes in the elevator.  Nothing charms and entices me like a razor sharp outfit, and nothing ruins my day more than an inappropriately dressed person (I'm talking about YOU, muffin tops at the shoe store, stop wearing lingerie to work.  I wouldn't buy shoes from you if my feet were covered in scabs and I was going for a walk on the sun).  I even love entertainment that is about behaving appropriately (I'm pathetic).  Know what my favorite movie is?  Pride and Prejudice, not because of the romance, but because of how everyone is so prim and proper.  Last summer I read Portrait of a Lady loved that too.  I'm sure some people find that stuff boring, or pompous, or superficial, but I think it makes the world nicer to look at, and nicer to live in.

It's not such a bad thing to be interested in though, because I think my mild obsession with etiquette has given me a bit of an edge in my business life, since being professional goes hand in hand with manners and etiquette.  Every client gets treated the same way, and whether I'm going to someone's office for a meeting, or going to pick up a bunch of dollar store t shirts at someone's house, I never show up in jeans and sneakers.

I've been thinking a lot about professionalism, and how some people have it, but most people just don't.  I got off the phone with my t shirt supplier on a Friday and was shocked to find that an order I placed early in the week, and had received confirmation of shipment for TWICE, was in fact, sitting on their warehouse floor, in a pile of boxes that were waiting to be picked up by customers.  It sat on the floor for 4 days, even after I called to be sure it was on its way to me.  Even after I was TOLD it was on its way to me.  When I finally became aware of this gross error (after calling again to get them to track the package) I was furious, but polite (as usual) but the guy on the phone was all "oh, shit happens.  i feel bad.  it must have been the guy who packed the box".  I have not received any further correspondence from the rep I usually deal with, though he is probably aware of the problem.

The point of my long winded story is:  it was crazy unprofessional.  To shag up a client's order and then act like it was some random thing that happens all the time is ridiculous in my opinion.  Needless to say, I'm taking my business else where.  I can't stand working with unprofessional businesses, and thank goodness, I do have a choice in suppliers. I can drop a shitty supplier as fast as I'd pop C.Cassie in the mouth if I ever met her/him.

The really unfortunate thing is when your own clients are crazy unprofessional.  Things like being really late with a payment, or not giving me an order in on time so it either holds me up or ends up making me have to rush like a madwoman to finish a job, not being there when you say you will be  (and I end up carting my 10 month old around town in the 40 degree heat of the summer for nothing).   It bothers me when I can't get hold of a client for days at a time, so I can't confirm proofs with them, and have my printing press held hostage until someone remembers to email me back "yup.  that works.  go for it".  Not cool, not very businesslike.

Sucks to your assmar though, you can't send an angry letter to a client, or even act irritated with them at all.  Unless, of course, you really like bridge burning, shooting yourself in the foot, biting the hand that feeds you, etc. etc.  I'm not into any of those things!  luckily I have those nice manners to fall back on, and I try to keep a disposition that enables me to brush off all that crap that drives me insane about people.  Unless I'm being mistreated, or a client is doing something that is really wrecking my life, I tend to just suck it up and try my best to be more clear in the future about timing, payment, things of that nature.

Now, if you'll excuse me, someone on my street is riding a mini bike.  It is loud, irritating, and risks waking my baby (then I'll have to *eugh* take care of her...) I find this to be extremely rude, so I gotta go bust up some kneecaps and make this neighbourhood a nicer place to live in.