I made a difficult phone call yesterday. There is a business here in town, and one of their employees abused (to put it rather mildly) the position of trust he had with his clients. I was one of his clients. A number weeks passed without me hearing word one from the establishment in question and I finally gathered enough courage to call them.
Without going into detail about the call, I will say that I was exceedingly polite, as was the manager. But I didn't feel better at the end of the call and it's been eating away at me ever since. Today at lunch, I told my friend about the call and she colorfully indicated her skepticism at what the manager told me. In a way I felt better because it seemed to validate my feelings towards the business but at the same time, I kicked myself for not being more assertive during the call. And I wondered - at times like these, where is my backbone?
I believe part of the problem was that I went into the call without a clear idea of what I wanted from them. Even now, all I know is that there were certain things that I needed to say (and I said them). But, really, when it comes to standing up for myself in these situations - I'm not exactly the world's strongest person.
Ironically, that's not the case professionally. I'm an attorney by trade and over the course of the last decade, I've learned how to respectfully demand (and obtain) what my clients require. I've even been able to stand up for myself professionally at certain times.
But this situation was personal, not professional, and to say that it threw me for a loop is the epitome of all understatements. I suppose that's a big part of it. I couldn't be the least bit objective about it. Perhaps objectivity is a prerequisite for "backbone."
Sitting here tonight, I don't see the solution. I do believe that my backbone is still in there...somewhere. It'll show up again - probably when I least expect it.