I suffer daily indignities at work. You’d think that, with this statement, I was being dramatic. No, not dramatic so much as I work for the United States Congress. And each and every day I have to sit down with a lobbyist who seems to be trying to “read” me, but who only misses the boat entirely, causing me to want to rip my hair out of my head or finally figure out how to open our window so I can jump.
Case in point.
Today, I had a follow up meeting with a lobbyist and his client. They were coming in to meet with my boss. Now, in the original meeting, all the lobbyist could tell me was, “Do A. We need you to do A. And if you don’t do A, you’re stupid.” Okay, it wasn’t that crazy, but it was crazy. Like CRAZY. He hushed and hurried his client, he pushed me off questions I had in the way that a gentleman of a certain age does to a woman who he thinks is a certain younger age, and he offered me nothing that his Plan A.
Well, folks, let me tell it to you straight – this is the U.S. Congress. You had better have a Plan B. Because chances are, you’re not going to get Plan A. Plan A is a pipe dream. Plan A is the Holy Grail. Plan A doesn’t exist. So that means you had better have thought out a reasonable and plausible Plan B.
At the time of our first meeting, this lobbyist and his client were all doe-eyed and strident about what they wanted and when they would get it. Three weeks later, they are back, now on Plan D. At least there’s been progress.
So, initially, a meeting I was dreading – DREADING – was going pretty darn well. Instead of coming to me with an unworkable and unreasonable plan, they came with a little humility and the desire to talk – to actually talk about their problem, what they know isn’t politically feasible, how they’d like to fix this moving forward. Gone was his sense of entitlement. Gone was his condescending tone and bully-ish attitude.
Or so I thought.
We’re sitting there with my boss, whom I’ve already brought up to date on this company, their problems, and the problems with their Plan A. So now we were just listening to what they’ve learned and what next steps we can take. Great. Then it happens. The meeting is winding down. I’m trying to get my boss out of the meeting so he can vote and I can go to my next meeting (which was even more of a fucking awkward nightmare, but I can’t go into it on the blog), and we’re doing those goodbye pleasentries. That’s when the lobbyist says the following to me in front of my boss and his client, “I have to say, I’m really impressed with you. The last time I saw you, you were brand new to the office. And I have to say, I was a little worried that you didn’t get it. But you have come a long way. You’ve really impressed me.”
I controlled myself and said nothing. Just kept looking ahead and smiling, hoping beyond hope that it would end soon. I mean, it had to, right? Votes were being called.
Nope. Not done yet.
Then he turns to my boss and says, “She’s a smart one. I’m serious, I was worried. But she really gets it.” My boss said something awkward like, “Oh, yeah. She’s a smart one.” Then the client chimed in. “Oh, she’s a very smart lawyer.”
Wow. I mean, what the fuck? Seriously. What the fuck was that? I may never know. But I do know this – I know that this is why I drink…Well, one of the reasons, at least.