I must say, I had never before had another professional scream at me until now. I was on a conference call with other human resources managers and our two directors. I was explaining an issue that I was having at my facility. I had went into a long discourse trying to thoroughly describe the problem along with its implications for the company at large.
As I was finishing one of my sentences to take a short breath before continuing on, I heard the end of a shrill scream. Not sure of what had just happened, I inquired. To which, one of the directors informed me that I had been speaking over the other director. Embarrassed, I apologized to the group and then remained silent throughout the remainder of the call.
But, seriously, who does this???
Funny thing was, I was the one whom was embarrassed over it! After the call, several of the others called me to say that they believed the problem was that because I had my speaker on, I was unable to hear my director trying to cut in. They sympathized with me and noted that I was not the first one to have a blunder on a conference call.
Have you ever been embarrassed in front of your peers? It’s no fun that’s for sure. In order to try to smooth things over, I sent out an email to my peers apologizing for my mistake and insuring them that it would never happen again since I had figured out the problem with using the speaker phone. And then I closed with a humorous remark about how I did not want any of them to dread being on future calls with me.
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22 NLT
A little humor can go a long way in soothing things over, and changing other’s minds about you after an embarrassing snafu. Addressing and resolving such embarrassing moments help us move along in life. Don’t you think?
Meanwhile, at home…
I love going to the movies, and I was glad to get out – just me and my two girls – to see the latest. My elder daughter was a freshman in high school and was starting to get a lot of attention from the boys.
As soon as we were inside, I noticed a small pack of young boys looking our way. We got our concession snacks and took our seats right smack dab in the middle of the theater, where the good seats are!
I noticed my elder daughter huffing and puffing all through the movie, but in all seriousness, that was nothing new. It had been a pretty good movie and we were nearing the end. Nothing prepared me for what was about to happen next.
All of a sudden, my feisty ninth grader stood straight up and hurled her drink across the theater. It slammed against the curtained wall and dumped all over the top of those boys I had noticed in the lobby!!! Immediately, the soaked posse hopped up and ran out.
I recall the collective gasp from the other movie goers whom had just witnessed this bizarre assault. I turned to my daughter and in a very loud whisper asked, “Why did you do that???”. Calmly, she replied, “They’ve been throwing popcorn at me all night, and I was letting them know that I was tired of it. If they want to throw food, we can throw some food!” Hence, all the huffing and puffing earlier!
If only I had inquired earlier, I may have been able to help my daughter with her conflict resolution skills. Honestly, I don’t know if I was more shocked that she had thrown her drink at them or that she had nailed it – right above their little heads. (For a dark theater, it was kinda impressive). But, no less embarrassing!
So now, we are just sitting and waiting…for the movie theater “police” to come and take us away!!! Miraculously, no one came to make us walk the walk of shame. I just sat there, stunned.
In that moment, I am thinking: We are a nice middle-class family. Her parents are educated professionals. We go to church, for heaven’s sake! How in the world could she have thought that this stunt was acceptable behavior for nice, normal people like us???
What do you do when crazy happens to you? How do you respond when your boss humiliates you in the workplace or your daughter does something so unbelievable that you just want to yank out all of her hair extensions??? Sometimes things happen that just leave you standing in total shock asking yourself What am I supposed to do with this?
When the movie was finally over, my ornery daughter tried to flee the scene. She started to crawl over my lap in order to go out the other direction. I am sure she was hoping to avoid any questions or possible retaliation. I stopped her and said, “No way, big girl! We’re not going to pull something brazen like that and then sheepishly try to sneak out. Turn around and face the music.”
There was no way I was going to let her not be held accountable to anyone who took issue with her actions. I wanted to give her every opportunity to apologize for her bad behavior.
So, did she face the music? Well, I guess the movie theater was darker than I thought because no one recognized her, or maybe they were just too afraid to approach her. And who could blame them? So, we went home and faced the music there. She received a good talking to and some other disciplinary action.
My point is that I don’t want us to shrink back from instances where embarrassment tries to make us run and hide. I will not let it lord over me. And it will try. If you have ever been embarrassed, and I am sure you have at some point, then you know how it makes you want to find the closest rock to crawl under. But let’s not! We’ve got to learn to rise above it.
We are all going to have moments where someone does something that embarrasses us, whether they intend to or not. And there will be times we will embarrass ourselves. So, let’s promise to resolve those moments quickly and not let them suppress or depress us.
Look for the Chronicles of the Corporate Mom Monthly on the first Friday of every month.
When you subscribe here to my blog, you will receive these weekly features: (Click and check out the corresponding posts!)
Award-winning author Gina Duke is a wife, mom and the principal of a human resources firm specializing in recruiting, training and strategic planning for the automotive industry. Through her book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press), she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. You may also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheGinaDuke. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.