Today I am practicing the fine art of giving people exactly what they ask for. Note, I did not write, giving people what they want. And before you accuse me of being a passive aggressive pain in the ass (which is not true, I am a very direct pain in the ass), let me explain.
Sometimes people just don't know how to ask for what they need or want so as a good project manager you just need to guide them to the end result and then everybody is happy if the end result was ever the agenda in the first place. Many of my internal customers are just like this and the more I learn about database design and architecture the better I get at defining and solving their collective business problems. It's kind of cool, actually.
Then I have these other clients who by and large would just like to get their jobs done but the culture they live in dictates the behavior that causes yelling, screaming, foot stamping (for real) and the blame game. Therefore I've learned to box these guys in as tight as possible, mostly to protect them from themselves.
And then I have this one very special client; The Lonely Planet. God Bless her, honestly. Sometimes Lonely Planet gets a little suicidal and starts swinging blindly at anything that crosses her path. And it isn't as if she isn't slick as hell, she is; just not smart. When Lonely Planet gets on a rip it's best to give her exactly what she asks for, no more, no less, stop trying to help because it's really a fight she's after, nothing else.
This kind of behavior requires nerves and a spine of steel as well as a streak of general willfulness. It's taken me quite awhile to get to this place and periodically I have to put on my special face and pretend to be someone else entirely. I do find it's hard to march up to her office and do this and it's hard when I hear she's chewed through her filter and taken swings at me in public but it was never really about me anyway. Just smile, look into the camera and for Pete's sake, DO NOT BLINK.
...the only problem is come one of these Monday mornings when she recognizes the mess on her desk I'm going to need to have a couple of instant fixes up my sleeve to avoid looking like the beast that I am today...