This post is in response to a humber of inquiries from friends who have asked what's it like to go through the process. The quick answer is that it's been mostly great. Mostly great, but not always a stroll through the park.
Disclaimer: This has been my experience with some, NOT ALL of the humans I have been interacting with during this process.
If you’re reading this and you think it’s about you, it’s probably not. If you are reading this and think it couldn’t possibly be you….well….
Okay, so I’m going to start this post off with a recounting of one of my least favorite situations. My response to the situation can range from annoyance to complete indignation…
You (by you I mean I) walk into a hardware store, and you ask for something like “a 4 foot length of 3/16” metric threaded rod, galvanized steel” or anything else that is stated as very specific.
Instead of having the person working there would should know where things are, they look at you, and with a straight face ask you: “What do you want to use it for?”……A) as if you might not know what you want when you ask for a very very specific thing, or B) as if you can say to them “I’m looking for an extension for a mock 100 lb dumb bell” or ‘I’m connecting together dancers for a one man dance” and they would be able to send you right to the ‘one man dance’ isle.
It’s not like I haven’t thought this out, person who works at the store…
So, there’s that.
In the case of being, dare I say it, a GC who is….not a dude, if you will, you often get this waste of human breathe and precious time in the form of doubt and suspicion, and/or indignation at the idea of you actually having something to contribute to any given situation.
Peppered into that comes the inevitable accusations of being >insert female trope here< and the resulting lack of respect that comes from that. Maybe it’s ‘emotional’, maybe it’s ‘insistent’ maybe it’s ‘impatient’. There are so many.
My response, generally in my head, so as not to invite a battle of wills, is “Listen- I didn’t fall off a turnip truck yesterday” . I HAVE thought these things out. I HAVE a very specific desire that I want to see come to fruition. My opinion/ wish/ need/ experience is not only valid, it’s what we are doing here. It’s what we are doing now. Please remember who is writing the check.
Some of the dubious lines that I have had to deal with in the past 3 months:
“Is it worth it?”
“I wouldn’t do that.”
“Are you sure that’s what you want?”
“People never have xxxx”
“Why wouldn’t you use/want xxx?”
“What does it matter if xxxx?”
Just to name a few.
There is the inevitable general lack of response to very specific, pertinent and important questions. This is a general rub for anyone who is a project coordinator of any stripe. I, as the person coordinating this project, probably has better things to do than to just send email after email or text after text, requesting the same information. I probably actually need the answer to the questions I am asking. I may, or may not explain to you WHY I need the answer to these questions, but it doesn’t matter….because I need the answer to the questions that I am asking you.
I promise that I am not asking this just to strike up a conversation, or because I have nothing better to do with my time. I’m too old and life is too short to just engage for the sake of engaging.
I understand that nothing in the above post is a revelation to most, but it does need to be said:
Know your audience.
Behave and respond with respect for the inquisitor’s intelligence.
If I want your opinion, I will ask for it.
And I do ask for it- I ask for it all the time. In my mind, the best way to get better at something is to study up. All hail, the INTERNET! And to ask questions. The idea of having a collection of humans that have real, boots-on-the-ground experience is thrilling to me- It’s like being in the company of walking encyclopedias in specific realms, without the risk of paper cuts.
Ways to know if someone wants your opinion:
“I was considering blah blah blah- what do you think?”
“I’m weighting the options between xx and xxx, do you have any experience with either?”
and the all time hit ”Do you mind if I ask your opinion?”
There is also the very valid and painfully truthful “I have no idea what I’m looking at, could you help me?”
I have used that one a lot. I think we all do, or at least we all should.
This is strictly my opinion, and I am not imparting this approach on anyone else.
(why don’t you try that one for a change, fellas?)