September 24, 2021

Frustration station

“And I got out of there without punching anyone, kicking anyone, or breaking down in tears. Some days the small victories are all you achieve.”
― Molly Ringle, Relatively Honest

There are two things that frustrate me beyond reason. One is when the TV cable or streaming service goes on the fritz. The other is calling customer service – for any company or agency.  

In the past week, I’ve had to do both. And believe me, my journal came to the rescue both times.

When faced with one of these situations, I feel powerless. I’m not a techno-nerd and have no training in how to fix anything wireless or digital. (Neither does my husband.) I also have no patience with waiting on hold for a live person to answer my call.

Bad behavior

My response to these situations has been to lose my temper. I’m often not very patient with customer service representatives. And when the TV malfunctions, my first reaction is to throw it out the window.

But I don’t like myself when I respond in these ways and I’ve been working on not letting my frustrations get the better of me.

On the practical side, I have written down several troubleshooting tricks to try when the streaming service disappears or the cable signal goes out.

Journaling it out

The other day, I had the unhappy task of calling the local newspaper to cancel my subscription. Our delivery person decides on a regular basis to take the day off and even though I’ve complained multiple times, we still get spotty service.

There’s no way to cancel online, so I had to go through their phone tree and wait five minutes for a live person. The woman I got was pretty disinterested in my request to cancel and she put me on hold and never came back.

I called a second time, went through the phone tree and waited again. The next person was equally bored with my request, but she took care of it.

I’ve never done this before, but during the 30 minutes it took to perform this simple task, I wrote in my journal. And I asked for HELP.

It worked

When I journal, I’m usually talking to God. On this occasion I asked for help to stay calm and not lose patience with the person on the other end.

I reminded myself on paper that it wasn’t her fault my delivery guy didn’t do his job. It wasn’t her fault that the newspaper has a byzantine system for canceling subscriptions.

When I hung up, I felt irritated that I had to go to such lengths. But I was calm – not twisted into knots like I usually am after a customer service experience.

A small victory. Thank you, trusty journal.

Writing spark

Set a timer for five minutes and complete the following sentence:

The thing (person) that frustrates me the most is ________________ because _______________________. Here’s what I can do to deal with my frustration__________________________

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward. — Kurt Vonnegut

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