Friday, April 24, 2009

Cranky Reason #10: Don't Tell Me What to Do!

Cranky Reason #10: being told what to do. Oh yeah, I do not like being told what to do. I came of age in the '70s, so that might have something to do with it. I learned very young to question authority, and I've been doing it ever since. And, I've noticed that my mother chafes at being told what to do. The apple didn't fall far from the tree on that score. This isn't just a problem when Skip tells me what to do, it's an issue in all parts of my life. I'd hate to be the boss of me!

A reminisence from 15 years ago ... Before Skip had to retire due to her MS, she was a chef, and a very good one. We have some 4 x 6 recipe cards documenting her signature dishes. One time, we were having over for the first time a lesbian couple we'd met just recently at church. By this time, Skip was no longer able to stand at a hot stove and cook. We decided I'd make one of these signature recipes, a chicken dish, as the main course. True, she'd probably cooked that dish a hundred times and it was my first try, but I heartily resented her sitting at the kitchen table trying to pass on her knowledge of the dish's preparation. I took it as "telling me what to do." Fortunately, we patched things up before the couple showed up and the dish came out great. That dinner was the beginning of a great friendship!

De-Crank Strategy: Really, what's the harm in someone telling me what to do? Does this compromise my personhood and integrity if I follow their instructions? You might suspect from my reaction that these will be the consequences. Take a breath, Crank, and choose a different reaction; it won't kill you. If that fails, why not try and turn it into a collaboration so you end up feeling like you're a partner in the endeavor rather than just someone being delegated to?


awb said...

I don't think anyone likes to be told what to do. When I was still working, we would be in the roll call room and my captain would tell me something I disagreed, with. They would tell me I couldn't question authority, I was authority! I just couldn't handled getting hassled by the man!

Cranky said...

Andy - there's some truth to what you say. Though I have come across people, primarily in the work world, who seem quite comfortable being told what to do and prefer to have those decisions made for them.