Approach Client Work With Equanimity

Because people are assholes.

But for every insecure, bullying asshole out there, quietly cursing their boss for repeatedly stepping all over them, there is the client who is actually competent, confident and honest. And it’s these ones for whom you’re happy to work late nights, maybe even send them a basket of cookies at Hari Raya or Chinese New Year or whichever festival they subscribe to.

Photo: Carolyn Oei

The assholes, well, we deal with with equanimity. Such a big word, this: ɛkwəˈnɪmɪti. So balanced and steady, as it proposes we should be when faced with real life.

According to Jeffrey Brantley MD, equanimity is “a kind of courage and a willingness to stay present…This is not just willpower, not gritting one’s teeth and enduring. Rather, it is the act of bringing careful and open-hearted attention to what is here. It is not turning away. It is softening into what is present in our awareness in this moment, accepting things as they are in this moment even if that means we must open to a painful or unpleasant experience and see it exactly as it is”.

And so it is; see it exactly as it is: A client with a fragile ego; someone who’s had a bad day, maybe even a bad six months or 10 years. Just another person in need of some internal work.

We’ve all been there.

Composure is what counts in the end.

Know your rights and manage the situation “in the most healthy and skilful way” possible.

Being professional requires it. Being human demands it.