Monday, October 22, 2007

The Nuisance People

Recently my grandfather got a water bill for nearly $900 when the previous bill was about a tenth of that. My mom went to see our general practitioner today for a check-up and to ask some questions about some problems she has faced since her last visit. Last week I made a somewhat desperate call to the same doctor concerning the medication I was on and its ineffectiveness. The thing that connects all three of these events is that a solution to the problem was brought about by become a nuisance to those we needed assistance from. Right now my grandfather is at City Hall demanding that the water billing office fix his bill (of which they have not done for the last month). My mother didn't get the chance to ask the doctor the questions she needed to so we've made a phone call to set up another appointment in the same week. My own medication issues were finally resolved after a few weeks of whacked-out conditions and several phone calls.
The point I'm trying to make here is that sometimes being a nuisance, while frequently rude, is an excellent solution to get those we need assistance from to finally act. Call it the 'squeaky wheel' principle or whatever you choose. But the fact remains that sometimes people, particularly busy people, won't understand the nature of your problem until you repeat it enough times to them. I face this at my own work, where a customer will as for a certain kind of work and my own assumptions of what they are asking interfere with what they are really asking for. And sometimes it's the customer's doing as well, lacking the knowledge and terminology for accurately expressing the problem and desired solution.
Being a nuisance in an economy based on service can lead to employees disliking you, but it can also lead to getting what you really want or need. Don't simply accept what your doctor or bureaucrat or anyone else just hands you if it is not satisfactory. Yes, fighting everyone all the time is exhausting, but often it is the best way to arrive at the needed solution. So don't hesitate to make yourself a nuisance if it seems that you are not getting the needed help going through the normal channels.

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