On assuming responsibility

Last week I had a few issues at work when dealing with some customer complaints. I had marginal involvement in the process that generated the complaint, but still I had to give my contribution. I did what I had to do and passed it on to the person responsible for handling the complaint.

I was very surprised to find out that one of our colleagues, which everybody knew had the ultimate responsibility to ensure the process was working, but failed to do so, was insistently trying to push the blame on me. 

Not to mention that she was doing so by email, putting all the important persons in CC. Persons that were not involved at such a low level, and which most likely would not know that she was to blame.

I was very upset and even angry with her behavior, but I did my best to give a very diplomatic response, trying to explain the process and make it obvious whose responsibility it was. However she didn’t stop, she continued writing accusatory emails, with no valid arguments whatsoever.

All this was happening while I still had to do a bunch of work. I did not have time to deal with this, and I just ignored her further emails. 

Later that day, I was called in by the head of my department, to explain what the issue was and what was going on will all that email ping pong. 

I told the entire story and of course my boss quickly realized that  our department had nothing to do with the problem, and was bewildered by such insolent behavior from someone in our organization. I was told to not worry about it and that my boss will handle this issue further.

I didn’t know this colleague in person, we only communicated by email or phone. I knew she was a bit cheeky and slightly aggressive some times, but didn’t pay much attention to that. I was very surprised to find out that she was a novice, employed strait after college, with 6 months working experience. 

Well, she’s going to have a rough road in life if she still hasn’t realized the importance of assuming responsibility for her own actions. 

Responsibility is the first lesson one must learn if seeking success in life. It’s the first step to self-improvement. If you don’t assume responsibility for your actions and keep playing the victim all the time, then you are not in control. If you’re not in control, you can’t change anything, therefore you cannot improve.

This kind of behavior will discredit you as a human being and will affect both your personal and professional life. You might get away with it for the moment, but just realize that you’re walking a very narrow road, near the edge of a cliff. That road does not lead anywhere, you’re either going to fall or reach a roadblock. 

Also, always be respectful, no matter who you’re talking to. How you treat others defines you as a human being.