August 25, 2016

How Not to Talk to People

Maybe it is because 75% of my job is building relationships and relies on using effective forms of communication to relay information. Or maybe I am just a prickly person. Either way, I find myself more and more irritated when someone talks to me in a way that is rude or offensive when it could easily have been conveyed in a much nicer manner.

Case in point.

Since I apparently no longer ride my horse, here are some old pictures from days gone by. Proof Dusty actually used to ride with me. 
The American Eventing Championships are being held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center only 10 or so minutes down the road from my barn. Who knows when they will make it back my way, so I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer. I read over the volunteer website carefully, making sure I knew the job descriptions, hours involved and dates needed. Some jobs, such as bit checker, specified a minimum amount of prior experience required and I made sure not to choose one of those. Not surprisingly, most jobs were wide open for the weekdays and I chose to dressage scribe on Friday morning from 7 am -12 pm.

Yesterday afternoon I received a phone call from the steward. Now the end game was to down grade me to a position that a 12 year old typically does and honestly I am happy to do whatever they need, however there are so many ways in which to accomplish that goal that I was very irritated and taken aback by the route chosen by this lady.

This is about as wild as it gets, folks. 

This is what should have happened especially when dealing with a volunteer giving up their free time to work an event that is free to the public to spectate anyway.

Steward: Hello! We are very excited to have you volunteering at our event. It really does depend on the volunteers to be able to put it on.

Me: I am really excited to be there!!

S: I see that you signed up to be a scribe and noted that you have no prior experience. I'm really sorry, but we do require experience for that position. I don't think it was very clear on the website. We still would love to have you and I can help you find something else that would suit you and allow you to participate still. Is there another job we can sign you up for?

That exchange would have left me with warm fuzzies knowing that my participation is appreciated and that she is sorry for the misunderstanding. I would have selected another position without a fuss and the world would have remained all sunshine and roses.

My first Hunter Pace. 


Instead this is what I dealt with:

Steward: Hello. I am the steward. You are on my list to scribe but you lack any experience. Don't you realize that this is a championship?! You must have experience. You will need to be reassigned.

Me: Good afternoon. I read your website and it did not state experience needed for that job. Had that been clear I wouldn't have selected it. And yes I am aware it is a championship event which is why I am offering up my time for free for 5 hours on a work day.

Steward: It won't work. You can be the gate opener. Or ring steward. Can you handle stairs?

It went on from there with me barely stopping myself from hanging up on her and saying screw it to the entire thing.

In the end, I agreed to be the runner for dressage taking the sheets from the judges and delivering them to the main office which apparently is up a flight of stairs and in the words of the steward "everyone around here is so old that they are unable to do the job"

No wonder they are a week out and still need close to 20 volunteers. Maybe start treating people better? There is a thought.





16 comments:

  1. Wow, that's terrible! I've been volunteering at events pretty consistent for the last 5 years. This summer was my first bad experience. I sent an email to the organizer and volunteer coordinator outlining my experience and they were grateful fro the feedback. Perhaps after the event is over you could also provide feedback?

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    1. I am want to do some volunteering as a scribe at local shows this fall and winter to get a better handle on how everything works before going to shows as a participant next spring. Hopefully they aren't all this way or I don't think dressage will be a very good fit for me.

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  2. Replies
    1. My tolerance is getting worse and worse.

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  3. I've had this happen. I've driven for over an hour and was told that they had nothnig for me to do. I was very annoyed.

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    1. I would be too!! I would have thought after driving an hour they could have found something for you to do. The more the merrier.

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  4. Ugh. How annoying. Beyond annoying actually. I am a huge proponent for volunteering and for volunteers - but damn ppl try not to be so miserable about it! Good on you for staying on the line tho!

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    1. It was a close call to just hanging up on her, but I really, really want to experience championships as more than a spectator.

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  5. I know show stewards are probably frazzled and have a lot to worry about, but yeah, it sucks when they're rude. I would have just said no thanks anymore. I will put up with attitude if I have to, but I'm not going to volunteer to be treated like crap.

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    1. It was a close call. Frazzled or not, treating people nicely and with respect is always the way to go.

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  6. That really sucks. I've enjoyed scribing when I've done it. Sometimes judges will offer scribing clinics so you can learn without the pressure of needing to perform during a competition.

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    1. It's a classic you need experience to do it but can't get experience cycle. I'm not upset that I can't scribe. I was just upset at how she talked to me

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  7. Hi Sara. Sorry she was so snappy. This would bum me out too. I will be around during the AECS as well. Maybe you could shoot me a line if you get a chance and want to say hello :)

    tshirtsintime at hotmail

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    1. Awesome!! I will definitely shoot you an email. I will be there Friday morning, but have to get back to work in the afternoon.

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  8. If it makes you feel any better they've been having just as much trouble with the people that volunteered!!!! One lady signed up for multiple jobs at different locations on the same day and the same time! I'm sorry that the person was rude to you though...but the FRC people are quite nice and I'm sure they would be glad for your help scribing at the schooling shows this year to gain experience :)

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    1. Ugh, that is frustrating. I am sure it is a stressful position, but being rude is never the answer. I wonder if they had people email them or call instead of the online sign up if it would ease things a bit? At least it would prevent people signing up to be in more than one place at a time!

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