Ouch, Shame Trigger

Sometimes in the course of my work I write documents that are part of public hearings or public policy. They’re usually not controversial. Usually.

A document I wrote a few months ago has turned out to be quite controversial for a small group of self-interested people, who have threatened legal action, whined to their industry group, etc.

This document and the policy change that is to come with it would have had no negative impact on this group, and will likely benefit them. But it represents change and adaptation to a new set of circumstances. So of course all hell broke loose.

I was forwarded an email from their industry association’s legal counsel, which proposed that the document I wrote didn’t accomplish its desired intent, recommended changes and implied that the changes weren’t legal. I got the email last night, and upon reading it had all the shame gremlins in my ear telling me that I had screwed up, that I hadn’t done my job correctly and that I had done so poorly that my work was already being picked apart.

It was a great reminder of why I don’t read work email after a certain time in the evening.

When I reviewed the comments this morning, the legal council was not only wrong but had provided irrelevant sections of law as references, and is either seeking to cast doubt and intimidate or its out of his depth on the issue. Either way, he’s bad at his job. In 15 minutes I had crafted a successful and compelling dismissal of his position, and verified that what I wrote was, in fact, perfectly correct.

I hate that I had that moment of shame trigger related to my work, but it comes from a lot of years of being correct and professionally sound while being told that I was not (too young, female, too pretty – whatever, name your dumb reason for why I couldn’t possibly have known what I was talking about, when in fact I did). I think there’s an element of it that keeps me on my toes and makes me work that much harder to do my work really well, but it’s at a price that I’m still having to pay, apparently.

But yeah, I’ll see you in the hearing, council. Good luck, because those without skill need it.

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