It's not that hard to confuse me, but there are some people who can do it without even trying. It just seems that we don't even speak the same language. I'm thinking of Tim, because we had a very confusing phone conversation this afternoon. He asks what he thinks is a simple question that I should know how to answer. I then spend the next ten minutes just trying to figure out what he's asking me.
Sometimes it's as simple as how much it costs to do something. To him, it's an easy question, and all I have to do is give him a number. But I have to ask him if he's talking about the actual cost or the price we would charge. I have to factor in different payroll rates with different burdens. I need to know if he wants to include incidental costs, like for example the time I spend trying to figure out what the heck he's talking about.
"Just guess," he'll say sometimes. I don't guess. I'm not an accountant, not even much of a bookkeeper, really. But I don't guess unless I have something to go on. Guessing and estimating and speculating — those are for people who want to do something with the numbers. Me, I just want to know what the number is, and you can't find that out by guessing.
Still, that's better than when he asks me if something is stressing me out, or if he's doing something that I don't like, or if I think he's wrong about the way he's thinking about something. He's heavily into the dynamics of personal interaction within the company, and how our personalities clash or mesh. I don't guess about things like that, either.
Ouf! All I want is for everyone to get along, so I never say anything that would lead him to think I don't believe the whole world is awash in a rosy glow. Let's just pretend we all like each other. That's the best way to work together, and nothing good comes from pulling in different directions. Putting work relationships under a microscope probably isn't the best idea. I for one don't have time to care if Billy and Sally are best friends, as long as they're not killing each other (or worse, sabotaging each other's work).