Vendor Therapy

January 28, 2010 | Leave a Comment

I’m sure you all read about Kelvin’s weak-sauce attempts to handle the outcome of Vendor Pitch Day.  And what did we get for letting the intern handle it?  An afternoon of relative leisure while he ended up having to conduct a telephone therapy session with the Bunglefunks.  Now I honestly have to admit that I kinda saw this coming, because once, long ago I was the office lowbie and I got delegated the ugly scut-work everyone else refused to handle.  You name it, if the task sucked, it was my job to do it: everything form cleaning the office fridge (including the condiment shelf) to telling the loser vendors that they were SOL for another year with us.

The reason this situation is turning out so poorly is a fundamental difference between Kelvin and me.  You see, he actually cares.  That was never, ever my problem.  I just gave ’em the bad news, thanked them for their effort and presentation, and invited them back next year for another swing at the piñata of Branch 19’s moneybags.  Kelvin, on the other hand, thinks it’s his job to make them happy.  He just doesn’t realize that it’s impossible.  He’s looking for the win-win scenario.  And you know who looks for win-win scenarios?  People who never win, that’s who.

So when I go by his cube yesterday, he’s on this conference call with the Bunglefunks, trying to help them improve their presentation skills, their salesmanship, and their overall product quality.  So I decide to drop by later.  I come by again after thirty minutes.  He’s till talking to them.  An hour after my first visit?  You got it — still playing Freud to their business-neuroses.  Back at my desk, I scan his calendar, and he’s been coaching them for two hours a week ever since the results were announced.

I’m tempted to give him a friendly lecture on maintaining proper boundaries and stuff like that — you know, the buzzwords we all use to rationalize our indifference to others’ suffering.  But then Ned came in and wanted some kind of report, so I ended up forgetting to mention it to him.  So now that I think about it some more, I’m tempted to just let Kelvin learn the hard way.  I mean, how else is he going to grow into the full blossom of his own mediocrity if he doesn’t learn to distance himself from other people’s disappointments?

But you gotta hand it to the kid — he’s got moxie.  Whatever the hell that is.

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