“There are so many unreliable people now that being reliable in and of itself is a valuable rare trait.” – Louis Leung

I have always thought that certain bare minimum requirements for etiquette are particularly important in business. For example: “do what you said you were going to do, when you said you were going to do it.” “Be where you said you were going to be, when you said you were going to be there.”

Now, before any of my millenial readers get their hackles up, let me just preface today’s blog post/rant by stating that this is not all about you. I’m finding the abovementioned bare minimum requirements violated by people of all ages and both male and female alike. Sometimes it’s people I’ve met, other times not.

Are Expectations Reasonable?

I’ve had a couple conversations with friends recently about this aspect of our current decline in civility. I definitely consider not showing up for an appointment, or failing to complete a basic task one agreed to complete, to be part of that decline in civility.

Of course, I’m all too aware that the higher my expectations, the lower my level of serenity. Therefore, the lower my expectations, the higher my level of serenity. That was a big part of my recent conversations with friends.

Which leads to my story of the day. I met someone at a networking event recently, whom I’ll call “this person” in order to keep gender out of it. This person sent me a “nice-meeting-you” email. I responded. This person then suggested we meet for coffee to see how we could help each other in our respective businesses. I recommended a time and place. I then received an automated appointment reminder, which I took as a Yes. Next, I added the appointment to my calendar as an event.

I’m big on keeping my word and making my appointments on time. If I’m not going to be early, I consider myself to be late. But I also realize not everyone is the same way. So I waited at the coffee shop alone. I gave it ten minutes past the appointment time before taking any action.

Then I looked up this person’s phone number in our email chain and called. The response I got: having some sort of car issue and am “stuck” in the next town over.

One Strike and You’re Out

Here’s my external response: “Okay. Why don’t you just shoot me an email when you get a chance?”

And here’s my internal response: “If I ever get an email or call from this person, I’m going to ignore it.” If this person at least had the decency to call me before I drove somewhere for nothing, it would be a different story.

Harsh? Perhaps. But how could I ever recommend this person to anyone I’ve ever met, much less done business with, after what I just experienced today? Bridge burned. Period.

What do you think? Do you have a “one-strike-and-you’re-out” policy like mine? Or do you cut people slack, knowing that you might end up letting them waste your time more than once? Let me know in the comments section below.

market

How Do You Sell A Book in the Digital Age? Market, Market, Market

"I need a steam shovel, mama, to keep away the dead / I need a dump truck, baby, to unload my head." —Bob Dylan   Sometimes these days we all feel like the guy in today's photo, right? A head full of books—both paper and electronic—and a million tasks that need...
wrap

… Aaaaand That’s a Wrap

​How many of you will be glad to wrap up 2020? Can we have a show of hands? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Man, oh man, did anyone have a great year? I suppose a few billionaires were sheltered enough from the storm, or profited heavily from the work-at-home trend, that...

Five Mistakes New Authors Make

Every author starts as a newbie, even if they held a job as a writer in some other capacity. The publishing business can be incredibly daunting for a newcomer: many authors work alone without much feedback, so their mistakes, while understandable, are also far too...

Short Story Contest Part III

Happy Labor Day, everybody! To celebrate, I’m posting part III of a short story I’m including in an upcoming collection. If you haven’t already played along, check out parts I & II from the last two weeks. The person who sends in the most helpful suggestion or...
no more for the road

No More For The Road

I took my last drink 32 years ago. Hard to believe I’ve reached that many years of continuous sobriety. If you’d asked me the day before I stopped drinking whether I had an alcohol problem, I would have said No. Mainly because I didn’t think I did. What I had was an...
genre writer

The Challenge of Writing in a Different Genre for the First Time

I’ve never been what you’d call a genre writer. In fact, I’ve said this for years: “I’m not a genre writer.” Problem is, we live in an age where everything must be classified. It’s weird. I’m a guy who grew up listening to a lot of rock (the genre formerly known as...
reaper

COVID-19: The Reaper that Keeps on Reaping

Last week I wrote about the trials and tribulations of my immediate family. I’d love to brag about how much better things are this week, but…eh…not so much. While we were contending with my mother going from a hospital to a skilled nursing facility, we had some more...
running

Running & Writing: A Classic Combo

Writing and running. It’s one of the oldest and, to my way of thinking, weirdest connections in the world. I’ve been a writer, truly, since 1979. Over these past forty years, I’ve written hundreds of poems and songs, and a handful of publishable short stories. (I’ve...

Breaking Into the Top 100

Recently, I posted something on LinkedIn called Author, Entrepreneur, or Authorpreneur? My point was that, if you're interested in breaking into the top 100 in your Amazon category, you're probably going to have to spend some time acting like a businessperson when it...
rewriting

New “Writer Problems” Series, Topic #6: How Much Rewriting is Too Much?

Today's blog post was supposed to be an expansive one, delving in the subject of rewriting. In my own case, I spent years obsessively returning to manuscripts, revising them again and again until they were—as far as I could tell—perfect. As perfect as I could make...