Mostly I get very positive emails thanking me for the free and paid advice I give on dealing with the challenges of a modern science career in these days of shrinking budgets and overworked people.
But from time to time I get an email that is just downright negative.
A few days ago, it was an email that was complaining that I’d taken one of my free grantwriting videos down (on how to write a killer specific aims). The person was downright pissy about it, and ended the message with “dissapointed.”
I understand. I’ve done that to others before. I deserve it, because I’ve given it.
But, here’s a note to both myself and others who would take this tack: it doesn’t get you what you want.
I believe that such an approach comes out of a deep-seated fear or lack of confidence that things will work out. It is a belief that most people are trying to screw you.
Honestly – for years I went through life thinking that anyone trying to sell me anything – or who worked in tech support for a company that sells stuff – is just there to screw me.
It is a cynical view that produces exactly what it seeks to avoid. By assuming that someone is trying to do you wrong, and approaching them with that attitude, they are far more likely to want to do you wrong!
My recent emailer is case-in-point. I had just started a project of reorganizing my videos, and left it unfinished. It was a mistake. Now, if she’d just said: hey Morgan, I’d really like to see that first video that you took down, is there a chance you could send me a link? I would very likely have responded positively. But instead she assumed that I was doing her evil, and took to scolding me about it (note: this was for a FREE resource I was providing).
My response? Hey, sorry, but I don’t like dealing with negative people, life is too short.
Her response? Your customer service sucks.
My response to her response: You’re not a customer, and my goal is to attract customers for my services whom I like to work with. I don’t enjoy working with people who are bitter and negative towards me from the start!
Her response: no answer.
I think it is particularly easy to be negative like that when one is feeling cornered and trapped in their job/life situation. But don’t let that happen to you. Force yourself to approach people positively, and it will take you one big step towards breaking the whole cycle of negativity.