my high road

Its funny how everyone wants to be the master of their own domain, no matter how little or how big. And there's always people in the chain ready to tell you how you are not (the master of your domain).

I've spent endless cycles all week trying to do one little thing - secure our venue (Microsoft, 1 Market Street, Suite 200, 94105) for an event. That's it. I've had to get approvals from 3 people, 2 of who are contingent/temporary staff. I am the nicestest human on the planet - trust me. If there's one thing I've learned from my Dad (who is the sweetest sweet talker ever), that is to be polite. So the polite me went and asked for permission (to do an event at MY office), and I got rudely turned down. Here's roughly how the conversation went (paraphrasing heavily and exaggerating just slightly) :

Me : Can we please please do an event at our facility for our customers? Please?

Contingent Staff (aka CS) : No. No event. And you can't take anything from Microsoft to do this event. You can't take anything from the kitchen. You can't take anything from anywhere. Ever. No.

Me : Umm, so I can do the event then, as long as I don't use any Microsoft property (barring the venue) for the event?

CS : NO. NO (font size=80, color=red) (she actually said, "font size 80, font color red")

Me : But this needs to happen. It is for the Microsoft community. The partners. The developers. You don't understand how much humans everywhere can benefit from this. People will be able to locate the US on maps again.

CS: Rules are rules. You should have informed me about this 18 months ago, like everyone else in the whole entire universe does. No one does events here without my permission. No one. And a cancellation policy applies - if you cancel the event now, we will charge you thrice as much and you will be on probation for the next 6 years.

Me : Wait, how can I cancel something that hasn't been reserved yet?

CS : Section 1.88.4(A) says that you a list of everyone attending the event needs to be handed to building security 48 hours before the event.

Me (hoping that I can appeal to her Microsoft-side) : Listen, this is for Microsoft customers and partners. Make this exception for them.

CS : Microsoft employees must always be aware of their surroundings.

Me (trying to make the same argument but in a different way) : Listen, this is for Microsoft partners and customers. Make this exception for them.

CS : Microsoft employees should wear their badge at all times. Even at home and when asleep. Special precaution must be taken with the badge when showering.

It was clear to me that the CS was simply reciting rules. There was absolutely no way I could appeal to her to make this work. She was stubborn and being just plain ridiculous.

See at this time, I didn't know what to do. I didn't know if I should turn to being sarcastic and play along. I didn't know if I should just walk away. I kept trying to make the "for Microsoft customers and partners" argument over and over again. A side of me kept telling me to "take the high road", although I had no idea what that meant. I could talk to her boss, but I didn't want to involve more people in this, you know.

Anyhow, just about after 20 minutes of a mind-numbing conversation, I gave up. My biceps suddenly started to bulge. I noticed my shirt and jeans were starting to rip. My eyeballs were rolling back in to their sockets, but just for a moment, I noticed that my hands were turning green in color. I felt this irrepressible urge to scream and do... something.... I had to do it. I jumped over to my laptop, and I, and I... I updated my facebook status.


Comments (7)
  1. Vinay says:

    You are not kidding? Is this for real?

  2. ai says:

    Hey Vinay,

    It was kind of real. I didn’t really turn in to the hulk though. But I did update my fb status. Twice actually.


  3. Su says:

    Too funny 🙂

  4. Thomas says:

    Updating your facebook status, that should serve as a sound thrashing for that person, and I am sure in the future they will be hesitant to take this type of stance against you again.

    This sounds like some crazy kind of Dilbert cartoon. It is interesting, we like to think that we are all on the same team trying to serve our customers, and some are more concerned about arbitrary rules then helping us move forward building relationships.

    Hope you get this issue resolved to the customers benefit.

  5. ai says:

    Thank you, Su.


  6. ai says:


    Yeah, I’ve decided to do things without their consent. I feel like I shouldn’t dignify their rules and just ask for forgiveness later. We’ll see how far that takes us 😉


  7. viralta says:

    wow…your office sucks.

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