May 28, 2005

I Like the Middle

I hate NEW. At least in regards to people things. Newly dating - always awkward. You feel like you have to be on your best behavior, wondering just what exactly is going to bug the person most about your personality. "Puttin' on the Ritz" as it were. I like the middle. Where you know the rules, you are comfortable with the personalities. You know, the middle.

Then there is the whole Starting A New Job thing. Like a dating relationship, you're on your best behavior, trying your damnedest not to be too aggrivating. You don't really speak your mind or give your opinion because you don't want to be seen as pushy or a know-it-all. And trying to remember everything - names, titles, responsibilities. Whew - not my strong point. At All.

BUT.....I LOVE LOVE LOVE getting to know my customers. I love the first few phone calls. Especially when you've talked enough that you know if they have a sense of humor or not.....and then playing on it. I'll often drop a comment then say "Oh, can I say that out loud?" 99.9% they laugh and then relax even more. Same with emails. I find it very easy to write comfortable, casual emails showing just a glimpse of myself and pulling out their humor. And it works. I've already got a couple of buyers that can't seem to start out the day without a "Good Morning Sunshine" email. WooHoo!! SCORE!

I have a formula. It may seem weird to some, but I think most bloggers feel the same way I do. My non-blogging, people loving, talker friends don't get it.

I start out with an email. I've always liked email, and since blogging have gained confidence in my ability to write. The first is always formal (business ya know) but I quickly start thowing out stuff.

Then there is the first phone call. Doesn't matter who dials, it always seems to go well. I usually get the "you talk just like you write" comment which makes me laugh. After a bit you don't know if I'm on a business call or a personal one. THAT's when I know I have them.

I am really good on the phone. It's comfortable for me. I can hear the voice and judge whether I'm hitting a nerve or making a point. I get to hear them laugh. Yeah - I like the phone.

And it makes it so much easier when you finally meet face to face. There is already a bond formed. There is already a history. And it's personal. You've spoken.

But I digress. What is causing all this thought process about forming relationships? Well, it's the main reason I got my new job. They needed someone who was not afraid to jump in a do that very thing. Well, that and buffer the bad news of late deliveries and price increases. But that's why you need the relationships. It's one of the advantages of being one of the few females in this industry. Many of the men are old school shop guys and don't find it so easy flyin' off the handle at a woman. Especially a woman they like that makes them laugh. Enter Tammi.

So.......I'm getting ready to head over to one of my plants yesterday. Spend some time getting to know those folks over there. I pop into my bosses office to give him an update on a few things and he wants to chat. OK, you're the boss. It's whatever you want.

He wants to do a performance review - informal of course, just some feed back on how they feel I'm doing so far. It's only been 3 weeks, but what the heck.

He explains that they've talked to several people - the plants I'm supporting, the outside guys, the inside guys. Hell, even some of my customers have called in to tell them stuff.


He looks at me and pauses. "To put it in a nutshell.....We Love You. We KNOW we've made the right decision. You've already brought us to a new level and we are thrilled with the changes you are making."

Holy Cow. Do you have any idea how long it's been since I've heard that?!?!?

My first thought was THANK GOODNESS for the guys I used to work for. They are the ones that taught me how to organize, how to keep track of things, how to make my analysis work for me. I can remember thinkin' they had lost their ever lovin' minds with some of the shit they made me, it makes me look like a flippin' hero.

Whew. I think I'm past the hardest part. In fact - I'm already comfortable enough to give the guys a rash of shit when needed, joke or question without worrying that they will misunderstand me. They are also getting more and more comfortable with a woman, me, being in the office and an equal member of the team.

NOW - if I could just figure out how to do this in my personal life I'd be locked and loaded.

Posted by Tammi at May 28, 2005 06:43 AM

Its about time you receive so much deserved praise. Congrats!

Posted by: TNT at May 28, 2005 08:47 AM

Cool. *I* gotta get a job like that :-)

Posted by: Harvey at May 28, 2005 11:49 AM

Isn't it just great going into a job that actually praises you for the things you do good?!

I could have written this whole post, it's just me also.

Posted by: Machelle at May 31, 2005 06:44 AM