I don't often play these silly political games, but there are times when there is no other option. At work, our team and one other came to a decision that is beneficial to both of us. It would mean a few changes to our processes, and some rough spots to iron out, but the benefits of better communication and more efficient work far outweigh the little issues that still remain to be dealt with. We made this decision Thursday, when a rather nasty and glaring error brought the whole thing to a head, and suddenly we were all coming to the same decision, and instead of pointing fingers, we were cooperating, smiling, eagerly planning how to make this work for all of us.
Until, that is, one particular person who, unfortunately, manages that other team, decided that it didn't matter to him that the rest of us wanted this - he didn't see the point. This is not the first time he's literally pulled the rug out from under us, and when of his team members came to me in frustration, my brain suddenly begin to click. As he watched, grinning, I fired off a bubbly happy email to all those who'd been in that meeting yesterday, as well as a few higher-ups in a number of different development teams, gushing all over about how excited we all were to be making this change, how we were all preparing whatever we had to do to make it happen, etc. In other words, I manipulated, shamelessly, with my oh-so-innocent email. If this man had really wanted to press the issue after that, he would have had to explain to all those other people why he was refusing what the rest of us so obviously wanted. I used his own politics against him, and he caved.
I did it for my own selfish reasons - I don't like this man and probably never will (although the good news is that I'm among the majority there). But I also did it for both development teams because I believe wholeheartedly that what we're planning is in the best interests of all of us - and it was rather refreshing to get the thumbs up and the secret grins from those under he whom I manipulated, who knew exactly what I'd accomplished for them.
The surprise was receiving an email from an old friend whom I'd lost contact with too many years before. He was the best friend of the guy I'd been dating at the time, and when that boy left to go to medical school, the friend and I hung out. He introduced me to music I hadn't ever pondered listening to before. The one and only time I ever smoked pot was with him - when I discovered that it didn't do a darn thing for me and, much like alcohol (which simply puts me to sleep) - I really didn't see what could possibly be the big thrill. He was in the middle of a rough time in his life and I knew enough to understand that I couldn't fix it for him, but I could at least be there to listen. I watched him struggle and worried endlessly about him, and when we lost touch, I thought about him often, wondering how he was doing, hoping he'd made his way past all his demons, and even went so far as to search for him occasionally, but never with any luck.
It was wonderful to hear from him after all this time; not only to know that he's still out there, but to learn how happy he is in his life now. He's married and a father, and from the sounds of it, quite the doting husband and daddy too. The emails we've exchanged back and forth today were full of little tidbits, catching up on all the years we'd missed. Hearing from him again was an unexpected bonus, and I hope that this time we manage to keep in contact and not drift apart.