Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Doing What You're Paid to Be Doing

In my job, I get all manner of people who think that they know more than I do about how to build a building.  It is pretty common.  Painfully so.  Sometimes, they are people that I can tell to shut up and mind their own business (in a nice way), but often times, they are my client, or the Authority Having Jurisdiction, or the consultants that my client hired to help them through the construction process.  In this case, I have to do a tap dance around the issue; it is not easy to explain to your customer how they have no idea what they are talking about and are wrong, while still maintaining a good client relationship. 

As a result, I’ve become pretty adept at the diplomatic two-step, where I tell my client that they are mistaken while not making it seem like I’m telling them that. 

The thing is, if I ever feel angry, annoyed, or upset about this, I do my best to keep it in control, either biting my tongue or finding a way to “walk away” for a bit before I make a mistake and get myself in trouble (or fired) for biting back.  This is made doubly hard by the fact that there is a societal perception that when you are dealing with contracting, and contractors in general, that the best way to get yourself heard is to yell and scream.  So, everybody does.  Even when they have no idea what they’re talking about. 

I’m tempted, on occasion, to throw my hands in the air, say “I don’t have time for this” and walk off, but I don’t do that, because it is my job to “have time for this.”  It’s what my boss pays me to do – to deal with customers and consultants and AHJs, while maintaining our company’s good name. 

Therefore, I’m absolutely floored at the preliminary report here that a law enforcement officer escalated a situation that other officers had under control, then, while the other officers were dealing with the situation, allegedly exclaimed “I don’t have time for this!” and shot the 18 year old schizophrenic man to death, while the other officers were holding him down.  Officer, having "time for this" is what the good people of your jurisdiction pay you for.  You should always have "time for this."  

The preliminary report had the deceased wielding a small electronics-style screwdriver prior to his being shot, but it is unclear whether he still had it at the time of his being shot to death, since he’d been tased twice by then, and I’m lead to believe that it is generally difficult to hold onto things in your hand while being tased. 

I’m withholding judgment on this until we get the officer’s side of the story, but preliminary reports look pretty damning. 

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