The Art of the Shit Sandwich

Like many of you, I like giving praise where praise is due. In fact, I’m chock full of compliments and kind words for friends, family, colleagues and associates who do something right.

I try not to live my life in fear of being judged by others, but at the same time a pat on the back never hurt anyone and being told you’ve done something well, or if someone tells you they are pleased with you for some good deed or another, it is often most welcome and yet another reason to keep doing those things you might not like so much, but that give you the opportunity to do the things you do like.

Does that make sense?

Anyway, the point of my would-be lesson today is to denounce an all too frequent evil I seem to come across more and more – notably more frequent when “received” or “being fed” one by email. And, to implore you and all those that utilize this nasty mind game to ban it from your arsenal of political correctness.

This, ladies and gentlemen is what I refer to as the Shit Sandwich.

Wiktionary does a pretty bad job of defining it, and I have just sticky-padded my pin board as a reminder to get back there and add my bit (or shit?). I love swearing in writing…

My sister in-law Lisa, who maintains a poignant, funny and honest blog about the trials and tribulations of hopeful parents struggling to conceive called me out almost a year ago as I was attempting to feed her one (a Shit Sandwich…need I repeat it?).

Anyway, as all great relatives should, she’d given us some design business for another now defunct project of hers. I was charged with chasing her down for content or trying to get her to give me the info she wanted on her business card when I said, “Lisa, you know I really enjoy working with you and are really excited that this project of yours come to fruition. Now, we can’t get anything done or complete the job until you make up your mind, and it’s been taking quite some time (ie. you’re taxing, we’re fed up, get on with it, etc…damn she was a mind reader – just like clients can be. They’re never as dumb as they look). That said, we’re happy to have you on board as a client and we really hope to work with you on other projects.” And then BOOM! She says, “You’re feeding me a Shit Sandwich aren’t you?”. “No”, I say. “What is that?”

She proceeded to explain that a Shit Sandwich occurs for example when attempting to drive home a point, or when a boss tries to salvage some of his employee’s dignity by complimenting one aspect of his work before slamming another, and that the giver/speaker – or Shit Sandwich delivery boy or girl – typically book ends the conversation with some niceties to lessen the blow of the generally sour (salty?) and unpleasant guts of it all: the Shit Sandwich.

I realized at that point that I was guilty of this on more than just this occasion. That I tend to invent reasons to compliment someone before asking for something or better yet, demanding something they’d promised they’d have done for me 2 weeks earlier.

Sure there is a place for pleases and thank yous, and I continue to employ them, but I’ll be damned if from this day forward I’ll ever use them again as book ends to a Shit Sandwich! No, I’ll get right to the point. Right to the crux of it. Not only am I wasting your time, or you your client’s time, or your client your time…phew…you’re sugar coating something within which we already find too many misconceptions and misunderstandings: communication. Just get on with it will you?

This actually all reminds me of another lazy and annoying issue I’ve been avoiding for the past 5 or 6 months. You see, my toilet runs at the house. The little valve in the tank gets stuck and 8 times out of 10 I have to lift the lid, give it a quick flick, and so on and so on. If I calculated 5 seconds for every flick multiplied by 5 bathroom visits (add another 5 for my wife and kids who often leave the flushing/or toilet-tank lifting to me) and take into account the 2 times out of 10 it actually works, that’s about 40 seconds every day – let’s round up to a minute to be safe cause sometimes there are books on the tank that teeter and fall, and another time, well…… So, over 6 months, at 1 minute per day, I’ve wasted 180 minutes (3 hours) of my life flicking the bloody toilet valve. OMG! That’s the first time I’ve actually worked that out…off to the hardware store….

Seriously folks, think of the time it takes you to come up with those nice things you’re trying to book end around the Shit that makes your Shit Sandwich. Often it’s all made up and comes off as fake anyway, so be done with it. Give ‘em the best part. Give ‘em the Shit!!!

Are you guilty of doling out your own version of the Shit Sandwich? Will you now make an effort to stop or does it still have its place in business and life in general? Do you have another name to describe it? I’m curious…Thanks.

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog, Mission