So the other day I almost got a boob job.
Except by “boob job,” what I really mean to say is BREAST REDUCTION. You know how some people spontaneously splurge at, like, Target? It was sort of like that, except I had already been doing tons of research on the website Real Self, and had selected a doctor or two in Philadelphia that I thought would do a pretty snazzy job.
Fast forward to when I just spent October and November in Pennsylvania, and I was like, “Hey, I should probably get a consult! You know, see what they say!” So I did. I marched my ass right in there and got aforementioned consult, and this doctor was telling me things of my DREAMS.
- Boobs smaller—check!
- Armpit rolls eliminated—check!
- We can even do lipo on your stomach—check!
- And how about your back rolls, too? Muthafucking check! (I mean, come on, if we’re going under anesthesia…)
So homeboy upsells me on the body of my dreams, and next thing you know, I’m in with the assistant booking an actual surgery to have all of this done. As in, less than two weeks from then. As in, on November 21st. As in, two days before Thanksgiving. As in, WAS I LOSING MY MIND?
There I am, in Pennsylvania all by myself, staying in a corporate housing apartment, without a single family member, and I, Ash Ambirge, think that I am so gosh darn independent, I can actually go through a major surgery without so much as batting an eyelash.
And, I mean, I was game. I was going to figure it out. And then I went to the pre-op appointment. *CUE OMINOUS MUSIC*
Ohhhh, the pre-op appointment. Here’s where I thought that me and the doc were going to get down. You know, doodle all over my body. Talk about breast shapes. Look at photographs. Bond over marshmallows. Talk about areola circumference—the ush.
But he didn’t do any of that. I stood there naked as he checked his notes, did a one over, and then said, “Okay, we’ll see you on the 21st” before walking out.
I instantly got a pit in my stomach. And in that moment I had never more clearly understood the importance of client HAND HOLDING.
I’ll be honest: hand holding used to be my least favorite part about client work. It’s the part that comes *before* the engagement—the soothing, the reassurance, the trust that they’re making the right decision by choosing you. When you get to a certain level of acclaim with your work, this admittedly becomes more difficult, because you’re in high demand, and that means you have less time to spend on dilly dawdle. But my God this step is critical. Not because clients want to nit pick you, but because they want to feel good about working with you. I always said that 50% of any client engagement is just about making them feel taken care of—and it’s true.
And I did not feel taken care of, by this doctor. Not one bit. I felt like just another number, another surgery, another run-of-the-mill breast reduction—with no customization, no attention to detail, no actual caring about what the patient wanted. Just in and out, another day, another dollar.
So I cancelled the surgery. Lost the $500 deposit. And came back to my senses.
It had nothing to do with his skill, and everything to do with his bedside manner.
Sometimes, soft skills are just important as the hard ones.
Sometimes, making money gets a lot easier when you stop focusing on making money—and start focusing on the person giving it to you.