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I work at a major finance firm - I joined 3.5 months back so I'm relatively new, but it has been well established that I go above and beyond.

However, last night I had a family emergency and because of that, I missed a morning meeting with a client that I was supposed to lead. One member of my team did show up, but he had no idea what the meeting was about and they spoke about items that were unrelated to the meeting. In a normal situation, this would've been good, but this individual is insecure and will use this against me.

I've already apologized to the client and rescheduled to the earliest available date. What more can I do to ensure that this does not get me too many black marks? How do I handle this?

Update: After I'd already missed the meeting, I realized it. It was scheduled a bit earlier than I usually come into work. Due to the family emergency, I completely forgot that I had a meeting.

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    Was it not your team member's responsibility to know what the meeting was about? And why will they "use this against you"? – AndreiROM Feb 24 '17 at 18:33
  • No, it wasn't. His job responsibilities are very different from mine. During the meeting, they spoke about the parts that he is responsible for. – Jo Bennet Feb 24 '17 at 18:35
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    OK, so again, why is the political environment such that you expect this person to put you down? Are you rivals or something? We can't help if we don't understand the situation. – AndreiROM Feb 24 '17 at 18:36
  • Just be open and honest about what happened to whomever needs to know about the situation. Don't try to hide it. I don't think you have anything to worry about here.. – Mister Positive Feb 24 '17 at 18:59
  • Also mention the situation to your manager. If you have a reasonable manager, they'll understand that sometimes work will need to come second to life. If you have an unreasonable manager, well, better to learn they're a dick early. – Parthian Shot Feb 24 '17 at 19:24
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For this specific meeting, all you can do now is offer a sincere apology and re-schedule the meeting as soon as possible to demonstrate that you really are still interested in their success.

To help deal with this in future situations, proactive is better than reactive. I know it is tough during a family emergency, but if there is any way to shoot off a quick email/text or make a quick phone call to let participants know that the meeting needs to be re-scheduled that will help greatly. If you can't get directly to your client, maybe to someone on your team who can handle passing on the message. This will depend a lot on how your company communicates between internal or external clients.

Meeting participants would rather have the meeting rescheduled, even with a small amount of notice, than show up to an empty room or have the wrong people there.

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Clients are still people. They will either understand or empathize with the fact you had a family emergency (after you've explained the situation, apologized and made it clear that "Yes, I'd still like to do business after this mishap"), or they will for some reason be incapable of handling your humanity.

Ask yourself, in the latter case do you still want to be working with such a person, anyways?

The way you'll rectify your perceived situation is by being professional. The only way you could screw up now is by being bad at your job.

  • FWIW, we don't always get to choose whether we want to work with a particular client. Whether the client holds this "transgression" against OP or not, OP may still have to work with them. – cdkMoose Feb 24 '17 at 18:42
  • I do not have the option of not working with this person. We belong to the same big financial company but different organizations, and hence the word client. They are much higher up in the food chain than I am and if they choose to do so, may make my life miserable. While they are still people, senior management is known to make other people's lives hell for their personal agenda. While this particular person has proved to be reasonable, I want to be pro-active and do everything I can to make sure this does not cause me too much pain. – Jo Bennet Feb 24 '17 at 18:47
  • @JoBennet I see. My assumption here was something of a financial advisor relationship where clients are actually the ones picking who they want to work with. I was unaware this was an internal relationship. I still think you will do more harm trying to over-correct the situation, however. Essentially, the deed is done. – CKM Feb 24 '17 at 19:00
  • What you can do behind the scenes, however, is understand that you wasted his time, and just do exemplary work for him for a while. Nothing over the top, but above expectation. This should serve to dilute out any bad impressions (he was late for our first meeting but his work ethic makes up for it, etc.) – CKM Feb 24 '17 at 19:07
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  • Stop assuming this person will use this against you and apologize to that person

  • In the future publish an agenda

  • In the future make sure you have important work numbers on your phone, such that if you have a few free minutes during an emergency you can notify people in the meeting that you need to reschedule

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