I learned a couple of valuable lessons last week as I watched our newsletter distribution system melt down before my very eyes. It seems that the wonderful people at Cox decided to change their criteria for large e-mailings without telling anybody–at least that’s what I have concluded, although they will never admit it. What other reason could there be for a system not working after having worked, with no changes, for over two years?
So one of the lessons–a reminder, really–is that even the most allegedly customer-service-oriented outfits are really all about protecting themselves at the expense of the customer. (Full disclosure: Cox is chock full of wonderful people at every level, and many of my friends now work, or have worked, for the company.)
Another lesson–really, another reminder–is that sometimes things really are out of our control.
I’ll give you a glaring example from my days in ownership:
One day one of our FM signals became plagued with what I called “chirps” that interrupted the programming every few seconds. We knew it was some sort of interference (duh), but despite bringing in the best engineers we could find and spending a lot of money doing so–not to mention what we had to do to appease our restless advertisers–the situation lasted for about six months. (Conspiracy theorist alert: the chirps turned out to have been caused by military jets flying maneuvers at great heights directly over our transmitter. I’d tell you how we got it fixed, but then I’d have to kill you.)
As I write this, the famous “Serenity Prayer” used by 12-step programs the world over comes to mind:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Change the things I can,
And the ability to know the difference.
I would venture to say that most of the people who read this newsletter–successful broadcasters, all–are Type A personalities for whom the concept of “accepting the things I cannot change” is about as foreign as trying to fly by flapping your arms. Not being in control drove me nuts, but I did learn something about patience along the way.
Actually, the virtue of patience comes in pretty handy when you think about it. As a web developer, if I am working with one of those smaller nine-to-five hosting companies that the client loves and something goes wrong overnight or on the weekend, there is nothing to be done until the next business day, no matter how crazy it makes me. So there’s no point in it making me crazy at all.
Now I just have to get my mind to convince my emotions and I’ll be good to go.