Dissed is a lovely word, originally Jamaican slang, but I play with it a little here. I have been dissed a lot recently. Let me display the ways:
I have been treated with courteous distinction by several hosts during my ongoing lecture series, in which I am the Jahns Distinguished Lecturer. I have become spoiled by people showing me respect, giving me tumultuous applause, driving me hither and thither, treating me to splendid meals and scintillating conversations.
I have become impatient with the discourtesy shown to the handicapped. Not that I have much in the way of handicaps, but I am almost at the end of a 7-month adventure with crutches, recovering from knee surgery. It has been a humiliating experience in some ways, given that I am vain about my overall energy and vitality. But even more – I have been struck at how many people have bad manners. I have relished turfing people out of their handicapped-designated seats, after they have ignored me standing in front of them on standing-room only trains. And I have felt invisible as people have jostled past me in to push their ways through doors and not hold them open. On the other hand, I have been treated with kindness by others, especially by airline staff.
Discourtesy has lead to disappointments. I have gone through a spell in which there have long intervals between me calling or emailing folk I know little and well; only only to not hear back from them, even when their chipper outgoing voicemail messages promise that they’ll “get right back to me”. There are good reasons of course: the chorus “I am so busy” seems to be a popular one that I finally hear, once they do get “right back” to me. Really: how much time does it take to text or email that same statement to me? And bad manners are bad business. And as an extension of discourtesy, I may as well include another dis: professional disregard for referrals that I provide to lawyers, architects, contractors and the like for other geoengineering consultants. I almost never get a “Thank You, Ed” telephone call or email from those folk who I refer for the business that I am sending their way.
In the last year or so, I have been really pissed off and distraught by disrespect. Call it dissed off… On one occasion, a colleague introduced me to a corporate stranger as “Meet Dr. Ed Medley who is 99% deaf”. Since I have an almost-profound hearing loss that thoughtless statement was distasteful and disrespectful given that I have many other attributes that distinguish me. Disrespect is also bad for business. A good antidote to disrespect is to listen to Aretha Franklin’s 1967 anthem Respect (R-E-S-P-E-C-T).
I have enjoyed (finally) some long periods of self-discovery and disquiet, some of the results of which I have written; particularly those related to my childhood and younger professional years. The inner journey has been guided by the counsel of John Welwood‘s book Journey of the Heart: The Path of Conscious Love, one of the most important books I have read in the last decade.
I have enjoyed many heartfelt, loving discussions with close friends and many strangers on my travels. I am indebted to my dear friend Dr. Ben W~, a psychologist practicing in Leadership and Executive Coaching. While in Venice, sitting on stone benches idling time while our wives explored, we talked about dissonance, as in cognitive dissonance, and also about Social Intelligence.
And finally, I was this week dismissed, terminated/made redundant/laid off because of poor economic conditions in my line of work. The scythe of the current Great Recession is mowing a broad swathe amongst the novices, the experienced, the young, the seniors. I am not distressed – the template of my personal and professional experience, about which I could write dissertation on Professional Wanderments, predicts opportunities and rewards ahead.