A couple of years ago I got an email from a former boss saying that all of their payments would be converted to electronic payments instead of checks and I would have to sign up for one of two payment options.
I wrote back to explain why I was uncomfortable with the options.
He wrote back to told me that it was not negotiable. If I wanted to be paid I would have to choose one. He said that the safer of the two options would take me less than an hour to set up at my bank.
I have since done that but at the time I wasn’t comfortable and I told him I would prefer to still be paid by check.
He told me it wasn’t an option.
I wrote back that I wasn’t litigious and I wouldn’t sue him, but that he owed me money and he would either pay me or he wouldn’t.
He asked me what it would take to pay me so that he never had to deal with me again.
I estimated what my royalties would come to over time.
He said I was off and offered to pay me half the amount in a check.
He wrote me an angry note about how I was a bully and how I had done horrible things to him, his partner, and one of his employees. He told me never to write to him again. He wouldn’t read it.
I was shaken.
He’d bullied me. He’d treated me badly for years after treating me so well. I’m sure he was angry and upset with me for leaving his company – but really it was the best thing for all of us. We just couldn’t agree on anything and there was no sense in continuing.
But that didn’t mean I hadn’t behaved badly as well.
I think of that this time of year because each year on the New Year I think about how I can become a better person in the new year and it almost always involves treating others better.
Be more attentive.
I know. I said that twice. It needs to be said at least twice.
I’ve learned I can’t fix what I’ve done. It’s done. I can apologize but the other person may or may not accept the apology and it doesn’t undo what I did.
Kim and I hardly ever fought these past few years but it always came down to one or the other of us saying to the other one “you’re being mean.”
We’d gotten so sensitive to this that it didn’t take much meanness to qualify.
Usually the response was, “no, you’re being mean.”
Usually the truth was, we both were. We weren’t being very mean but we needed to stop.
Usually we would.
You know how to make life better?