Seven Easy Steps Away from Bad News

I'm thinking of the kind of bad news that arrives in an e-mail from a disgruntled client who liberally invokes Caps Lock while stating her disappointment, implying her refusal to pay for your services, and concluding that your time and effort with her daughter was "A WASTE OF TIME."  But this would probably work for just about anything.

  1. Don't waste energy getting angry.  It won't help anyone or anything.  Instead, talk about it with your husband.  He'll get angry enough for both of you, and you'll think it's sweet that he cares so much.

  2. Go shopping. In person is good for immediate distraction; online shopping is an immediate rush of categorization and authority (don't want this; love that) followed by a few days of anticipation.  And if you don't like it, you can always send it back, no harm done.

  3. Read ten e-mails from grateful, satisfied clients who think the world of you.

  4. Have your family over for dinner.  In particular, your little sister, who makes you laugh till it hurts.  Don't tell them you are hurting; rehashing the story will make you more depressed, but just having them there will help you feel better.  Tell stories and quote obscure references.

  5. Do the dishes right away, so you can wake up to a clean kitchen.

  6. If you're too tired to wash the pans, leave them for the morning, so you can scrub while you gaze at the Christmas cactus on your counter in the hazy morning light of autumn.  It grew all by itself from a tiny cutting you received from a friend.  Three pale segments, now twenty-four robust ones.  And look -- those little heart-shaped buds on the end?  They'll be flowers soon.  Thriving is contagious.

  7. If all else fails (or even if it doesn't) pack your bags and go to Florida for the weekend.