When Did We Become Such Narcissists?

The net and associated communication tools have affected us in obvious ways, as well as less obvious ones.  On the later list, would be our sense of appropriate response time.  In the olden days, i.e. when I first started working, we used DHL to courier instructions to our Hong Kong supplier.  It “only” took 3 days.  Then the fax came along and felt like a miracle; we would hear back within 24 hours.Now, people send an email, go make a cup of tea and are miffed if they haven’t had a response by the time they return.Okay, so maybe not all of you have become so ingrained with e-instant gratification, but I do see a lot of self-flagellation when job seekers, salespeople and networkers don’t get a quick response when they reach out.   It’s amazing what we make up to fill the void:

  • I guess they found someone better.
  • They must’ve heard (fill in your Dark Secret) about me.
  • Even though they asked for the proposal, maybe they didn’t mean it.

Usually a less than immediate response is more about them than you! We’re really busy people – thanks in part to net-related  info overload, expectations of immediate communication, and compressed timelines.  We’re also juggling more travel, elder care, child care, etc.  A lack of (instant) response is more likely due to:

  • Being laid low by the flu.
  • Needing input from several people in different time zones.
  • Moving cautiously in a trembling economy before committing.

So next time you find yourself going down the dark alley of self blame and parking there*, remember it isn’t all about you.  Consider,  “what could be going on for them?”

*A favorite metaphor, courtesy of my dear friend Anita.


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