The benefits of being sick before friends…

This post will soujnd a little bitter, but if I am honest with myself that is probably how I feel 🙂

My friend B’s son is in the hospital with a potential fatal tumor, and while I don’t know his son (and feel awful for his son!) my first instinct was to visit Friend B for moral support.  To be honest, I didn’t want to visit since I battle fatigue and my own health issues, but he did not visit me when I was in the hospital for a week with a potential fatal lung disease; but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to be the better person and to go, except I spent he a busy week with family commitments and frankly I am exhausted.  So I texted him I wouldn’t make it.  Out of curiousity I went back and checked my texts/emails from when I was miserable and battling lung disease, and not one of my three childhood friends (including B) checked in with me the entire six months i was sick.  Not even a “How are you doing” although Friend B reached out to ask if I co uld help plan a surprise party for another friend.  What I learned then was that I truly have two great friends who visited and brought food – but my childhood friends were no help.

So, I have this to say: I will not be visiting my friends when they are sick.  I wish them all the best, but am not going to put myself out visiting. True friendship is about support, and I’d rather invest my time and energy where the support is potentially mutual. 

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The benefits of being sick before friends…

A sign of the times in USA is that it doesn’t make a difference if I mention that I am a customer when I am sales calling

10 years ago if I mentioned to a potential client that I was a customer of their company, they were much more likely to respond to my voice mail or email.  For example, I was having difficulty reaching a Director at Alaska Airlines in that she wouldn’t answer my calls or return my messages (why would she?  Her job description doesn’t include returning calls of Sales Guys); then I mentioned in an email that I was an MVP of her airline – she returned my email that day.  So I did that for awhile, and it worked, except for a regional Pharmacy (who I have not gone to since).  I went to a new role for several years where I didn’t call on places where I was a custtomer.  

The past two years I’ve returned to a role where I have the opportunity to mention people I am a customer.  I’ve mentioned I am a policy holder to Symetra (true), that my office makes field trips to donate to the local blood bank (true), and so on – only one person has returned my message when I’ve mentioned that.  To me, that is a sign of the times – people are too busy and too disposable too care, to give a courtesy return call to someone giving their business to them.  In the 2000s US, we are all out for ourselves (with some exceptions, of course) and not playing in this thing called life as a team.  It is too bad.  It is also a missed opportunity for companies…

A couple of years ago,  I reached a CTO at a rapidly growing start-up company.  He listened to my brief introduction for a moment, then asked if my company was a customer of his company.  “No,” I said.  “Listen, I’m interested, but we try only to do business with companies that do business with us.”  He was sincere and respectful, and honestly I loved it.  He told me if we became a customer of his company, to call him back.  What was the first thing I did?  I marched down the hall to my boss and asked if we could consider taking a look at this CTO’s solutions.  Brilliant.

When companies and/or managers don’t respond to a sales guy who is also a customer, it is a missed opportunity. It also has cost a few companies my business.  And, most importantly, a sign that our country has (temporarily?) lost its soul.

This didn’t happen overnight.  It started in the 80s, when offshoring and layoffs and union-busting and tax breaks that fueled income disparity began. Then post 9/11, when companies became incredibly automated and efficient with fewer workers, it continued.  We are all disposable in 2010s USA.  So of course a VP won’t care that I am a customer of their company, when they don’t know if they will have a job next month due to profit-fueled layoffs and when the bloated company alread has 10s of millions of customersf.

A sign of the times in USA is that it doesn’t make a difference if I mention that I am a customer when I am sales calling