Friday, January 13, 2006

Three Lessons Learned

Only three days into the new term and I have already learned three very important lessons.

1 and 2. I will never, EVER represent a company or a group. Period. In negotiations class yesterday I was chosen as the negotiator for our group and had to meet with the negotiator chosen from another group to agree to a price we'd both charge for our products. (As this case was not based in reality, price-fixing wasn't part of the issue.) I met my counterpart, and it wasn't who I'd expected. I don't think she'd expected me either, but anyway we promptly agree to a price and shook on it. But this was after two rounds of sales in which the other team had stolen away some of our market share and we had lost some money. Now we'd be even from here on out, but we'd never make up our lost money.

Wanting to continue on our ethical path, our group continued to keep the quoted price, even as the stakes grew. After our second and final negotiation meeting, three sales rounds later, we agreed to continue as we had previously. We shook on it and that was that. But one round later, our team decided to make back the money we'd lost in the first two rounds, because the other team hadn't agreed to cut us any slack. Since we had to operate as a team and the majority wanted to change the price and gain market share, I had to go back on my word to the other team. We ended up basically putting their company out of business and, in reality, the point of the game was profit... but none of us felt that great about it. So the first thing I learned actually was that I shouldn't agree to something I don't believe in 100%. No more going with the majority for me.

But more importantly... when we returned to class (we had been separated into two large groups representing the two major companies, and a bunch of smaller groups which were negotiating together) my negotiating counterpart started screaming that I should never be trusted. At first I thought it was a joke. But then, as class proceeded, she kept hammering it home and screaming over other people about what a horrible person I am. This was frustrating because I was just the messenger and can't actually control the decisions of an entire group. And anyway, when I met with her, I did tell her our intentions, and they were true. But they changed later. Anyway, the whole thing upset me enough that I vowed I would never be the public face of a company, nor represent a company or a group in any way. I really couldn't deal with being personally slandered like I was yesterday. So that job possibility is officially out.

3. Today we got our first term grades back, which leads me to the third lesson of the week. When you know you're crap at something and you'll probably fail... well just be crap at it and fail. Don't spend hours and hours and all your weekends working on it as if it will make a difference, because it WON'T! And I'm okay with this. Yes everyone, I failed accounting. I got a big fat C. And had I not spent so much time on it, I really wouldn't mind because I'd deserve it. But instead I studied harder for that class than all the others combined, and it got me absolutely nowhere. And it's even more frustrating after getting a B on the midterm. The final was killer, and also weighted for people who did better than it than on the midterm.

Next I need to learn how to not let one C spoil my A's, because I'm much more annoyed about the C than I am happy about the A's. I'll work on that.

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