The following took place between 8am and 8pm:
Upsetting Person 1: "So I hear you're looking to get staffed on a new project."
Res: [sounding cheerful, motivated and highly competent] "That's right!"
UP1: "Good. I want to staff you on my project that starts in a couple weeks. It's in Paris, in an industry that's related to banking."
Res: [sounding less cheerful, but determined and calm] "Gosh, that awfully nice of you, but I have a goal, you see."
UP1: "You have a goal? That's cute. What's it called?"
Res: [hastily covering over the cracks in her voice] "Well, I want to be staffed internationally, in an industry that's not related to banking. I've been waiting almost 9 months for this, and I had a really hard time with my previous client, so it's very important to me."
UP1: "Right. I see." [pause] "So, are you interested in my project or not?"
Res: [the panicky high-pitch sounds are getting pretty obvious now] "Well, it's not that I'm not interested, per se. It's just that, you know.... What I mean is... I'm sure it's a great project and all... I mean obviously part of me totally wants to work on your project, but..."
UP1: "Well, you have to let me know soon cause lots of people probably want to work on my project. You should feel pretty special that I even asked you."
Res: [sounding pathetic and wimpy] "Right, yes, absolutely, I'll get back to you very very soon. Thank you so much."
Upsetting Person 2: "So you know how back before Christmas we signed you up for a two-week training course in July?"
Res: [sensing this might be a trick question] "Ummmm, yeah?"
UP2: "Well, we don't want you to go anymore."
UP2: "Instead we want you to go at the end of this month. See, someone else totally bailed and it's going to cost loads of money so instead we want you to go. The other person was a short girl as well, so you're like interchangeable."
Res: "Well, the thing is, I have commitments then, people counting on me, things I planned ages ago that are really important to me and my personal well-being."
UP2: "Well, obviously we can't make you go."
Res: "Good, cause I can't go."
UP2: "We feel bad even asking, honestly."
Res: "Well, don't worry about it, it's just that I really can't go."
UP2: "It's just that it would be for a really good cause and all."
Res: "Oh. Like peace in the Middle East?"
Res: "Eradicating hunger in Africa?"
Res: "Saving little baby seals?"
Res: "So not really for a good cause, then."
UP2: "Sure it is. For one, it would save me from spending the rest of my Friday calling around to find someone to step in. And, it would mean I don't have to tell the boss that the training budget got blown."
Res: "OK, well, that sounds like a pretty good cause, but I still can't go."
UP2: "I totally understand."
Res: "Thank you."
UP2: "It's just that - "
UP2: "You're usually such a nice person - "
UP2: "Someone people can really count on - " [stifles a sob]
Res: "Well... It's not that I don't want to help..."
UP2: "Wonderful! You're all signed up then! Toodles!"
Conversation 3 (a few seconds later)
Upsetting Person 3: "So I hear you're off to training in a couple weeks."
Res: [still shell-shocked] "..."
UP3: "So you can't be staffed on UP1's project."
UP3: "So we've found you something else instead."
Res: [whispers] "Goal? Me? Have?"
UP3: "Huh? Sorry? Couldn't hear you. Anyways, it's in Paris."
Res: [feeble] "ok"
UP3: "In an industry that's related to banking."
UP3: "With your former client."
UP3: "Res? You there?"
[pause while I let you absorb what has happened]
[longer pause while I struggle to compose myself]
[much longer pause while I shout out obscenities at the top of my lungs in whatever language feels appropriate]