3 Lessons from My Broken AC

Suffering through summer heat without an air conditioner has this writer losing her cool.

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Washington is stuck in the middle of a heat wave (or is this just called "summer" here?) and my air conditioning stopped working more than two weeks ago. Even better news—my landlord is out of the country.

There are a few business lessons I'm learning as I work with the repair company:

1. Do not blame someone else when trying to fix a problem. Everyone I talk to seems to pass the baton to someone else—sometimes in a kind of intimate, news-sharing way. This does not, of course, convince me that it is less their problem, nor does it make me their confidante. I'm just convinced they're less likely to help me.

2. "Sorry" don't mean a thing. Your apologies lose credibility if the problem continues. Fix the problem, then you can tell me you're sorry it ever happened.

3. Friendships are essential when surviving hardship. When your AC is broken, you may need a place to crash. Paying for a hotel will require cash. Staying with a friend will require a relationship.