not a doormat: a lesson from the security guard

by Joanna on March 10, 2015

I think I’ve got a package downstairs.

I don’t know if I’ve got a package downstairs because the security guard won’t tell me (and because I accidentally typed @gmail.con instead of so I can’t track my package but that’s neither here nor there).

The security guard won’t tell me if I have a package downstairs.

Is there a package for 604? I ask.

From today?


I don’t know, I’m still in the middle of it.

Well, can you tell me while I’m standing here?

No, because I’m in the middle of it and I’d have to put all of the packages before yours. 

{blank look at this point? I’m not sure how I respond exactly.}

You can come back in 20 minutes and I’ll be done then and I’ll know.

{Now I know that I’ve got a blank look on my face – the one that my mom would call “that dumb look” – which is like a jaw-dropped look that says “huh? I’m not sure I can comprehend what you’re saying” as I look at the clock on the wall and wonder will I be free in 20 minutes? and is there another way I can respond here?}

And while I’m both super annoyed, and kind of flabberghasted, I’ve got to respect this man.

Because he can do something that I can’t am not great at.

Say no.

Without apology.

Set boundaries.


And without giving two craps about what I think about him.

Wow. How can I do that?

How can I take a page out of this guy’s book and set limits and procedures and stick with them regardless of what other people think?

How can I stand my ground like that?


I’m not sure at this point. I’m really not. But at least this gives me a model to work with. An example I can think of whenever someone asks me to do something. Even if I don’t act on it right now, I can start by thinking “how can I apply what he said, and how clearly and with authority he said it? what would that look like in this situation?” That would be a good start I think.

Talk about the opposite of a doormat. My goodness.


Who’s modeled something for you recently? What did you learn?

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