Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

Push Back

An e-mail arrives in my Inbox.

I have to teach.  Can you cover for me at the meeting?

I am convinced that my presence at this meeting would be a complete waste of time. I am pretty sure the sender realizes this, too, but just wants a body there for political reasons. Unfortunately, I do not have another engagement at that time.

Are there any strategies for the Push Back? One option is the White Lie: say I can’t make that time. The White Lie, while effective and politically correct, makes me uncomfortable. Another option is Total Honesty: say I’d rather not. Honesty may be the best policy, but Total Honesty is just naive.

I search for advice. White Lie and Total Honesty are suggested again, but I explain why neither solution is feasible. At this point, someone gives me a referral to the Expert on Such Matters. I call ESM, who contemplates the problem.

“Yes, that’s a difficult situation,” ESM replies. I concur. Is there no hope? ESM then starts to speak, and my eyes widen upon hearing the approach. I thank her and hang up.

Within minutes, an e-mail makes its way across the Internet:

Tomorrow’s a busy day for me, so covering might be hard. If you’re still in a bind tomorrow, let me know, and I’ll see what I can do.


2 responses

  1. Rich

    I love this. I will have to place it in my bag-o-tricks. Thanks.

    January 26, 2009 at 1:28 pm

  2. your sister

    look out that the e-mailer doesn’t find this blog.

    January 28, 2009 at 9:15 am

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