I’m sure you have had one of those days. You know, one where all of your little pet peeves happen one right after the other. I had one of those recently. Maybe I just have more pet peeves as I get older.

I stopped at a restaurant and I can see 10 empty tables yet they tell me it will be a 15 minute wait because they’re short of help; like that’s my problem. Then finally they seat me and try to pour me a cup of coffee. Well I don’t care for coffee, and shouldn’t I have first been given an option? After refusing the coffee I politely ask for ice tea, lots of ice and no lemon. Ninety-nine percent of the time the tea comes freshly brewed, virtually no ice and a big lemon sticking on the glass.


Resigned to the fact that at least I have the tea, I order a cheeseburger. Still upset about the tea, I forget to say “no onions.” Again, 99 percent of the time the burger is going to come with onions even though I despise onions. Why should I have to tell them I don’t want onions?

Speaking of onions and lemons, wouldn’t we as contractors love to sell a product that someone was buying from us and giving away to people who don’t even want the product. Here we are working hard to make a dollar making the world a more comfortable and healthy place to live in, while restaurants are buying lemons and onions (and parsley as well) and making their customers take them.

After the restaurant I had to stop by a store to pick up a couple of items. Mind you it’s extremely cold, slightly snowy, and not a very pleasant day to be out. But nevertheless I came to this person’s store, along with a considerable number of other people who are in line with me to check out.

At that time the phone rings. The clerk leaves the four of us in line to answer the phone. At this point I sort of lose it and remind the clerk that all of us came out in the weather to actually buy something from his store while the person on the phone was at home by the fire wanting to merely ask a question. I asked, “Who should be taken care of first?”

You can only imagine the reply.

Finally out of the store, I arrived at my office needing to make a quick phone call. After dialing the number and hearing the rings, I knew I was in trouble. You know the situation, when the ring changes its sound. Sure enough, a nine number menu greeted me.

All I wanted to do was confirm an appointment with a supplier’s representative. After traversing through several press this and press thats, I was called upon to spell the individual’s last name. I wasn’t good at spelling in school and I’m no better now, especially when trying to do it with three letters per key. By then, I have already encountered what seems like a dozen pet peeves. I know that’s happened to you.


As I sat there, I opened up e-mail and low and behold a friend had sent a “forward” message. Now “forwards” are normally a peeve as well but for some reason I looked at it.

Its whole point was about how your attitude affects your success. The article quoted Lou Holtz: “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” Here I was going to let these really minor things (although they didn’t seem that minor at the time) ruin my whole day. It was obvious I needed an attitude adjustment.

The point of the article was to not let small negative things that occur give you an attitude that prevents you from being successful. All of us as contractors face this frequently.

A number of things go wrong - really minor things in the big picture - and yet we allow them to affect our attitude as we approach the really important decisions of the day. Remember, you as the contractor will be faced with problems every day. Seldom do employees come to tell you when things are running smoothly. So it’s up to you to deal with those problems without letting them affect your attitude.

Publication date:02/26/2007