Rose Garden

A few years before he died, Dad told me I apologized too much.  I think I responded with, "I'm sorry."  Not even joking, that's just how I was conditioned.

I'd love to tell you I have gotten better about that.  I have probably gotten worse.  I catch myself in the grocery story, constantly apologizing for, essentially existing in the same aisle as some other shopper.  I try to be conscientious about situational awareness, and I don't, as a rule, block other people, or text in a right-of-way, or let my children scream their fool heads off.  I am a good shopper.  But I do apologize a lot in the Kroger.

I find that recently, professionally, I am in full apology mode.  It started in Virginia, when I messed up some numbering on a test, which threw off an answer key.

I felt miserable about it, and made a self-deprecating UGA Graduate joke about it.

From there, it was little things, and big things, and big things that should have been nothing, and little things that felt huge. 

I neglected to tell my boss' boss I would be working remotely one day, even though my boss and teammates knew.  I had never been told to tell her as well.  I took a verbal approval over a written one for a print order, and had to correct it almost immediately.  I didn't ask for a tracking number in an order request, I was told to decline a meeting then got summoned to it and side-eyed for being late.  My boss did take the heat for me on that one, but the damage was done.  I turned in some notes at 8AM that were expected the previous day at 5PM.  I have tagged the wrong cost center on my timesheet two weeks in a row.  I forwarded an e mail instead of creating a new e mail chain, and although there wasn't anything on there that was damning, I was told that I should be careful to not let people see things they shouldn't. I didn't double check some information I felt certain to be true, and it wasn't, and people panicked. I put dates on the end of a document I had shared out, and even though that's the format I was told to use, in this case, because there will be revisions, the date will throw people off.  And today was the biggest one yet.

We have been writing materials for our customer, and we're under a time crunch, and the customer is being evasive, and passive, and not especially helpful.  And so, my boss and one of my colleagues went onsite with them to get some source material so we could get started.  I listened to three days of meetings on a conference call and took copious notes, when I could hear.  People talked over each other, I couldn't identify voices, and I don't know all the various acronyms - especially having just committed to memory the last customer's.  Basically, there are dozens of different names you can use for the field worker who sees patients for the purpose of assisting them.  And every role, agency and process requires you understanding IPs, OPs, ICPs and ICTs.  And so on.  So, when my colleague got back to Nashville, he gave us three binders, and I took mine and got to work.

Well, here's the problem with that.  There were other binders that got distributed at that meeting.  Did I know that?  No, because I was on the phone.  So I took the one I was told had my materials in it.  Yesterday, at the close of business, I posted my first major processes to the shared site, and this morning, all hell broke loose.

As it turns out, the binder I should have been using was sitting in my colleague's stack of materials.  I didn't know it existed, let alone that I should have used it.

So, my colleague and I both apologized profusely.  First to our manager, then to each other, and finally to our customers.  As it turns out, my contact that I've done the most work with completely understood what had happened and was not only reasonable, but a little apologetic as well.   At the very least, empathetic.

So, now, onward. 

I feel beat up.  I feel misunderstood.

But none of that matters.  Now, I move forward.

And I'm sorry if that's not good enough.*

*See what I did there?