A Failure to Communicate

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach, so you get what we had here last week which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. And I don’t like it any more than you men.” From the movie Cool Hand Luke

This week I had something interesting happen. It was a crazy day at work on Thursday. In the computer chip making business sometimes you have to be really creative and go to the next level. We had a defective chip go out so it was an “all hands on deck” kind of day. It was a twelve hour day with a small break in between. Right in the middle of it, a couple of engineering interns came in. They were new and someone had sent them in with questions. It was clear they had an agenda from somewhere else. I tried the nice approach. I tried to explain that it would be in their best interest and mine if they came back another day. They weren’t hearing me.

The phone was ringing, I was up to my ears in requests, and they still would not leave…….I kept thinking of the line from that movie. Finally, I appealed to the system that we all go by and said, “All engineering requests must go through my OM, so just shoot her an email and we will go from there.”

They finally left, but it was a frustrating experience for both of us. Was I not clear? Were they not? What could I have said differently? With any communication breakdown, we tend to evaluate ourselves. I do, anyway. A situation like that becomes a good opportunity to evaluate yourself and the situation; see if you could have done or said something differently. Try to see things from their perspective.

I did that. Then I prayed about it. I don’t like it when I feel like someone leaves unhappy. I feel like things are somehow unfinished. When I got to work today I asked my OM about it. She said, yes, they did in fact send her an email. She verified what I was thinking inside, they had no clue what they were asking of me. It was nice to get confirmation.  As usual I worried needlessly.

I got another thought this morning on the way to work. It used to be that certain things were just understood to be wrong, no argument. Now it seems that whoever has the best story wins. It used to be if someone was caught red-handed in a crime they were guilty. Now, if they can convince a lawyer to argue their case effectively, they get off. In politics it is the same way. Whoever can present the best case, tell the best story, make the most polished speech wins. Character is something that is becoming increasingly irrelevant in our society.

In God’s world it is never irrelevant and I am glad.

Draw comfort from this today. If you ever feel like you are not being heard clearly remember Jesus felt the same way.

Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread?” Matthew 16:8-11

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