birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Purely Bitchy

I don't like being misunderstood and always try my best to avoid miscommunication. I am not a fan of people who are intentional in their miscommunication as if they get off on it. They like to stir the pot and deflect everything on others. that's ugly to me.

A few years back, I had an occasion to work in a different location from my office home base. I had been with my company for ten years and enjoyed the opportunity to work on a different type of project and meet new people. During this transition, a new person was brought in to help the company with the financials and provide that support to the head of the company. All good. I spent a few months traveling across the US with a really wonderful and crazy group of creatives and we shared a lot of exhausting but fruitful hours together. Home base would check in to make sure we were staying on schedule and relatively on budget, and I would check in with home base to make sure I was up to speed on new projects. We're all on the same team, so I felt it was within the scope of my job title to know the status of projects I would go back to upon my return.

As work began to slow down in the field, I asked for another status report and this was met with a borderline aggressive response that I should focus on what I was doing and not was was happening at home base. My reaction was a like a dog hearing strange sounds and thought, well, perhaps our new finance person was having a bad day and you can't always get "tone" from an email. I let it go and went back to my whacky crew. I was flying back on a Friday so I sent a final email regarding what I should jump on when I returned to the office on Monday morning and cc'd the owner of the company. The return email I received did not have the owner of the company cc'd, and this time, it wasn't borderline aggressive, but purely bitchy. As in "None of us have time to pull your requests together...nor do I think they are valid. If you'd like my job, then tell the boss. I'm not interested in having a battle here about who does what. I'm busting my butt and that's why I was hired to help this company." Oh, it went on and on. Yowza. Where did that response come from? I re-read my email numerous times and couldn't figure out what triggered this and I told myself to not respond immediately and let it digest.

Needless to say, I drank a lot of bloody Marys on the flight home. And while I tried to be rational and not seethe all weekend, yeah, that didn't happen. Monday morning came, and I got into the office and waited until the 10am company meeting was over and then went directly to the finance person, and not to the boss. This was between the two of us. And as we sat across from one another, he did the one thing I really, really do not like. He looked at his phone and computer the entire time I was in his office. Common courtesy is to engage - even if for five minutes. I explained my position and how I did not intend for my email to be "accusatory" (his interpretation) and that we obviously had a misunderstanding. I explained that you cannot read "tone" from an email and I simply wanted to be brought up to speed. Nope. He wasn't buying it. And I wasn't going to beg for "forgiveness".

Our boss came in and told us that we had to figure it out between the two of us (non confrontational much?) and that we needed to get back to work. All the dynamics changed that day. I'm not wired to keep the fight going against someone who doesn't want to take any time to hear me out. I spent five more years with that company, thankfully on a different floor so at least there was some distance between us, and I was able to surround myself with like-minded creative types. Mr. Finance stayed longer than me and ultimately did some financial dealings thats were not kosher. So much for team player, unless your team is playing behind bars.


It's the Little Things