I'm So-o-o-o-o-o Glad I Didn't Say That!

How many times have we said something that, the minute it left our mouths, we wished we could take it back? I reached such a precipice twice in the past few days, but somehow I was able to step back from the brink.  Had I said what I felt like saying, reputations and friendships might well have been destroyed.

Call it luck.  Call it whatever you will, but in both instances I didn't say what I was thinking, and because of that I have a completely new perspective on just how much of a blessing patience can really be.

I've been involved in a very stressful programming project at work.  Deadlines are fast approaching, and the program is still not quite performing as desired. This has resulted in several fingers being pointed at me and the members of my engineering team.

In the past few days, this project has afforded me two opportunities to look back and say "I'm so-o-o-o-o-o glad I didn't say what I was thinking."

The first instance involved the initial rollout of our new program to the production environment.  All outstanding bugs were taken care of in a timely manner so that the weekly rollout process could pick up the new programs and move them to the production servers...or so I thought.

The next day was spent in utter frustration trying to figure out why some of the programs still weren't working.  A lot of negativity had been expressed about one of the programmers on the project by users of the program, and by the end of that day, I was beginning to believe that the complaints were true.  As I talked to my programmer on the phone, he became the target of my mental vitriol, and all sorts of angry words coursed through my mind. Luckily they didn't make it to my tongue.

Later that evening, as I helped diagnose the problems with our program in production, it became obvious to me that, for whatever reason, while the web pages of our program had been migrated to production properly, the underlying programming logic had not.  I called the engineer in charge of migration to discover that, rather than the rollout happening each Wednesday morning at 4 AM as I had once been told, the normal rollout schedule begins at 11 PM on Tuesday nights.  It turns out that, instead of the problem being chalked up to the incompetence of a programmer, our day of frustration had been largely due to mis-communication.
. . .

Last night the lead user of our new program called me in a state of great anxiety.  She said some things about the programmer that I knew were untrue, feeling that her program wasn't getting the attention it deserved, because there were still some problems that hadn't been resolved.

I could not remember having been treated so badly--and been so frustrated at being misunderstood--at work in a long time.  My first instinct was to yell back through the phone at her and ask her how she could dare to be so demanding and unreasonable when we were doing the best we could.  Instead I promised her that we would have the issues fixed by in the morning that she was concerned about.

This morning, I got a call from the lead user.  She apologized for having acted so rudely, and in addition to accepting her apology, I told her that I could understand her frustration, because I had been in similar situations before where I had been the one overly frustrated.

When I hung up the phone, I heaved a sigh of relief.
. . .
Thank heavens, in both cases, for whatever it was that caused me to hold my tongue. I also realize that I'm not nearly as patient as I ought to be, because if I were, those hateful thoughts wouldn't have entered my mind.  I've got something to work on.


  1. You should hear all the stuff that goes on in my head sometimes. The stuff that comes out is usually filtered, and I am no where near as patient around here as you seem to be...


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