Red Flag Diary ~ Entry 1

She phoned a couple of months ago to make an appointment for assistance to file an application for her son; the deadline past.  “If you can get the needed information together, we can still assist you.  However, you should know that the application is already late.”

Two weeks later, she called again.  “I have to get this done and I just don’t have the time to do it.”  “Do you have the information gathered up that is needed to prepare the application?”  “Well, what kind of information do you need?”  List of information is relayed (again) and appointment is set to meet and complete the application.

Appointment day:  She telephones to say something important came up with her son and she is unable to make the appointment.  I wait to hear from her again.

Another week passes and she pushes to get a new appointment.  Excuses why she hasn’t been in touch may be legitimate but I am swamped with other work and appointments.  I tell her when I am available.  Not good enough for her when you hear her say she’s feeling ‘stiffed.’  Hello?

Because the next available slot doesn’t work with her own schedule (which she obviously isn’t flexible with), she rants about how she knows nothing about filling out the application; doesn’t understand it; doesn’t want to understand it; doesn’t want to do it; she works long hours; her husband passed and use to do everything; she asks when she’s suppose to have time for this application (which means a lot of money for her son); and on and on.

What I want to say but cannot is, “Your husband has been gone for how long???!  And you cannot make time for your child, AND his financial well being??!  Just because your husband use to do everything doesn’t mean you can’t pick up where he left off.  No matter how long and hard you work, you can find time for your child if you really want to and want this for him.”

Needless to say, she is late for the new appointment.  Calls to ask if she can push the appt to a later time in the same day.  Ignores the fact that I already have appointments lined up for the day, which means I’d have to shuffle and possibly loose work that day if some of the appointments cannot be rescheduled.  Why should she care?  The world revolves around her and her drama.

She is 15 mins late for the rescheduled appointment.  My work is shuffled and pushed to later times and days.  She sits in a chair, opens a folder, pulls out a cell phone and proceeds to text message business affairs.  Hello?  I am here, are you?

I’m filling out the application.  She doesn’t have enough of the information gathered.  She calls her son for answers; and while I continue to complete the long ass application, she falls asleep in the chair after coughing and sneezing up a storm without covering her mouth. 

I can go no further with the application until the rest of the information is at hand.  I advise she gather the rest from her son and call me the next day to wrap it up.

Next day… no call.
The day after that…. no call.
Day 3…. call at 4pm (business hours end at 4:30).  She’s panicked and needs to finish the application.  “Do you have the rest of the information?”  “No. What do you need yet?”

RED FLAG:  This is a person that thrives in crisis mode surrounded with drama, or visa versa.  Either way, it’s the same thing.  They like to keep people hopping at the 5 o’clock bell and because they work late, they think everyone else does or should.  You want to help but this consistently disrespectful behavior makes it very difficult to feel ok going out of your way.  Ask yourself how valuable your time is to this type of person and you’ll quickly realize that it isn’t any more valuable when they want it, nor when you can do it.  Chances are they will find a reason not to pay you for the work that you bent over backwards to ‘fit in’ to accomodate their schedule; or they will demand a reduced rate.  Because they tend to be disorganized, highly critical of others, self centered (no time for anyone or anything but work); and create drama, and crisis follows them, it is best to back away if you are not in a position to make the executive decision to cancel their ass from your lineup of work.

When you say “no,” they will manipulate and provoke.  What part of “no” do they not understand?  Any of it.  It is a form of addiction in need of behavioral modification, crisis management and organizational skills.

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