Taking a step away from the normal Personal Finance topic today to share a life lesson. I don’t know why this particular situation bothers me so much but I have been thinking about it for weeks and I need to put it on the internets. The moral of the story is, Be assertive, but not an Asshole – read on if you want to know what prompted this post.
Long time readers know I am a huge fan of Public Transportation, but there is something about the bus that brings out the worst in people. Aside from people being generally rude and not thanking or greeting the bus driver on the way in/out, I see at least one thing a week that makes me wonder.
Maybe they are miserable because it takes them to and from work and their job sucks. Maybe there are more assholes running around than I assumed. Either way, this particular guy won the “I am going to be a dick today” award.
Unlike 99% of the other buses in the area, ours only has one stop at a park and ride where everyone gets off at the end of the day. So when the bus stops, we get off the bus airplane style, the front goes first and everyone waits their turn.
As you can imagine, we get an occasional first time bus rider that doesn’t know the process. Their previous bus training says, if no one gets up they must be waiting for the next stop. So they get up and start walking to the front of the bus.
Enter poor guy who made the above assumption, he tried to walk by 2 people that were standing. Even dropped an “excuse me” (ya know being polite). At this point, angry man in back of bus says “Hey Asshole, why don’t you wait like the rest of us.”
Whoooooooaa buddy, now we have a full bus load of people staring at this poor new guy, who – at worst – was skipping a line to get off the bus. He stole 3 seconds from you. Blasphemy.
I wish I could have recorded this and sent it in to make a training video. “Ok class, what do you think Sean* could have done differently?”
*I dunno – he looks like a Sean
Confession time. Maybe this bothers me so much because on my first bus ride I did the exact same thing. The difference is, someone kindly and quietly stopped me and said that everyone gets off here. Still a little embarrassing but, I appreciated her telling me before I did it the next day.
The below quote is from the book Sh*t my Dad Says, and does an excellent job of laying this out. (If you haven’t read this book, you should. I have started laughing so hard I cried, it was on a plane, Mrs AE was not impressed)
“I’m sorry, but if your brother doesn’t want you to play with his shit, then you can’t play with it. It’s his shit. If he wants to be an asshole and not share, then that’s his right. You always have the right to be an asshole—you just shouldn’t use that right very often.”
Caring too much about unimportant things
I get it, not everyone subscribes to Steve’s “not giving too many shits” theory. But before you get all bent out of shape use the following flow chart to decide if you should care:
Its up to the individual to decide what “Impacts” their life, but for me it has to be something material to spend more than 1/10th of second of my time on it.
Stand up for yourself
Time to twist this topic into the theme of this site, Take Action. The flip side of the above situation is when people let others walk all over them. I see it everyday, sometimes is subtle – often people speak up to others after its to late.
- Raises – Ask for what you have earned. A lot easier said than done, but you can read about this further here.
- Disagreements – It is OK to disagree with people, I actively encourage differing opinions. It means we are fully thinking through the problem. Don’t say something just to say it, but if you know what you are talking about, bring it up.
- Opportunities – If there is a job, project, assignment, donut flavor you want, and you don’t ask for it – its your fault if you don’t get it. Opportunities go to the people that ask first and deserve it second.
- Fees – If there are fees you don’t understand, or seem unnecessary, ask to have them removed. You may not always win, but knowing you tried is worth it.
- Negotiations – Cars, insurance, cable or pretty much any service that faces stiff competition will usually negotiate their prices. They want to get the most money as possible, if you don’t ask for it you wont get it.
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