The Importance of Caring

J Philip Faranda January 28, 2010

We got a call the other day from Ronnie, our admin who is in the office daily from 9-5. Half the office was without electricity, and the other half still had juice. I told her to contact the property manager, a bookkeeper upstairs who arrives between 9 and 10am. 

By the way: there are two kinds of people reading this post. One is wondering why only half my office was blacked out, and the other half who are, right now, saying “circuit breaker.” I am in the latter group. 

Unfortunately, the computer and phone were out, meaning I was out of business. Ronnie couldn’t move everything without complicating things with the WiFi router and wiring, so we were out of business until things got fixed. I was on a morning appointment. I figured the manager would handle it when she came in. 11am rolled around, and Ronnie called me again, clearly annoyed. The manager told her the problem was Cablevision, who had a problem in another office the day before. Cablevision is not our electrical utility, ConEd is.  Ronnie had prodded the manager to call an electrician, and she acquiesced and called a client who would come in at the end of the day. That was BS. I couldn’t be blacked out for 8 hours.  

I was able to come in at noon. I went upstairs and asked the manager if I could get into the utility room. That wasn’t necessary, she said. She already checked and it was cablevision. Not wanting to explain Newtonian physics to a 70 year old, I asked her to humor me. I found the first floor panel and unscrewed it open. There was just one 200 amp switch and no breaker for my office.

Now, there are two kinds of people reading this post. One is wondering how this could be fixed, and the other group, who has already muttered “sub panel” under their breath. I am in the latter group.

So I had to go upstairs and ask Madam Cablevision where I might find a sub panel. She reluctantly admitted there was one in her closet. She then walked over into her closet, opened it, and turned to me saying that nothing was amiss. She was blocking me from checking myself. She reminded me of Bugs Bunny and the “He’s Not Hiding in the Stove” cartoon. Again with the Cablevision. 

I’m starting to get a little frustrated here. My company has been blacked out for over 3 hours. I called the landlord. He called back within 5 minutes, and gave me the location of the first floor sub panel. I found it and what do you know? Circuit 5 was popped. FLICK and I’m back in business. I shared with him my frustration with Ms Dolittle upstairs, and we hung up.

5 minutes later, the Grand Dame stormed into my office.  First, she wanted to see the sub panel, which I showed her. Then, she groused about how I went behind her back and complained to the landlord about how she was handling things. Well, frankly, I told her, she didn’t seem to care that I was out of business. That incensed her. That’s not true, she said.

I answered her by informing her that it took her all of 5 minutes to come downstairs when she thought she looked bad to the landlord, but in 3 hours she never bothered to come downstairs when my employee was pleading for her to help. Caring is as caring does. 

Frankly, I don’t know what goes on in her heart or anyone’s heart, but the contrast in pro activity to my observation, was quite ironic. If you care about you first you’ll be miserable. If you care about others they’ll know it and appreciate it. Big lesson there. 

 

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