February 19, 2008

Sometimes you just can't win. You have to hope not to lose.

I needed to park my car by Galileo high school. I was a chaperone for a field trip and would be gone all day. 90% of the streets there are 2 hour parking zones. I hate 2 hour parking. The other 10%, which was all day parking, was scheduled for street cleaning.
I figured street cleaning was an automatic ticket. I would challenge my arch-enemies, the meter maids, and attempt to park all day in a 2 hour zone. I parked my car, said a quick prayer, and hopped on the bus with the students.

At the end of the day, I returned and found no ticket on my windshield. I was looking around for one of those meter maid scooters so I could rub it in their face that I had parked in their precious 2 hour zone for 8 hours, but none of them were around. While it wasn't quite a win-win-win* situation, I was glad to have turned a lose-lose situation into a no decision.

*from The Office, season 2 Conflict Resolution

Michael: [holding up a binder] A mediator's tool chest. Okay, well, before we get started, you should know that are 5 different styles of conflict.[in a comedic voice] My Shaolin temple style defeats your monkey style.
Angela: Can we go? I have a lot of work to do.
Michael: No. Okay, this is important. The first style is lose/lose.
Oscar: What's the next one?
Michael: Just hold on, please! Okay, if we do lose/lose, neither of you gets what you want. Do you understand? You... you would both lose. Now I need to ask you, do you want to pursue a lose/lose negotiation?
Angela: Can we just skip to whatever number 5 is - win/win or whatever?
Michael: Win/Win is number four and number five is win/win/win. The important difference here is with win/win/win, we all win. Me too. I win for having successfully mediated a conflict at work.

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