a life well lived

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I have asked Elsa to be a guest contributor 03/27/01

It has been an interesting four days.  I have learned a lot about my daughter and a lot about how businesses can operate.  It has been an education. 

Instead of trying to convey second hand what happened, I asked Elsa to do the honors.

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from Elsa

It was last Wednesday that I hit the wall at work, when my psyche simply said, "Hey, no more of this unhappiness.  It's time to stop."    

On Thursday morning, I realized if I went into work it would be to submit my resignation.  So, I didn't.  Stayed at home.  That night, I sent an e-mail to two of my bosses.  It''s  sort of hard to argue with a mind that just says, "No more."

Yesterday, I got a call in the afternoon from the VP in charge of Customer Service.  He offered to transfer me back to my previous division after I got everything tidied up where I am.  That sounded good to him.  For a  moment, it seemed  a solution - not ideal, but a solution.   

It took me a while to realize that what he was willing to do was very general.  So, I zapped off another note - written around 4:30 this morning - expressing my concerns.  I got a phone call at 7:00 a.m.  He wasn't too happy.  He thought everything had been resolved and that I'd be at my desk this morning.  As far as he could understand, the problem was simply one of getting in my car and heading over to work.  "You know how to get here, so what is the problem?"   

Apparently, the man never experienced acute, unmitigating job stress. 

I offered up thanks for having realized that the "solution" wasn't as clear as it sounded on Monday.  He couldn't get that my problem was putting an empowering image in my mind to allow me to walk into the office without running screaming back into the parking lot.  I don't know what threw him more - the way I felt or the fact that I hadn't any qualms admitting it.

After talking to him this morning, an unsatisfactory discussion on both ends, the solution hit me like a ton of bricks.  Instead of trying to make an unworkable situation work - impossible - crank it up a couple notches. My suggestion, with the approval of John and Mom, was for me to put in an extra 2-3 hours every day.   

For the next 8-10 business days, my work will be my  life.  John will handle all household responsibilities, including shopping and meals (I anticipate a lot of take out, laid in a supply of Lean Cuisine & Healthy Choice frozen entrees, and will take up Women's Guild on the offer of a casserole).  I expect to be at work until 8:00 or 9:00 each night and in bed by 11:00 (early by Lockphy Murphart standards).  I'll still get up withMom after John comes to bed, but other than than, he will shoulder responsibility for her care.  

That might sound looney, but it's the best shot at making it workable for me.  Weekends are untouchable. I'm treating these next 8-10 business days as if I submitted my resignation today and am responsibly prepping my cases before leaving.  Then, we'll see what happens.  In the meantime, I certainly won't sit on my hands.  I'm checking out other opportunities.  The people I work for have put in a lot of work doing their best to get me to stay.  If  they see my value, other people will, too.

My whole viewpoint has changed.  They say that adversity builds character - well, for the next 8-10 business days, I'll have an incredible opportunity to build character and inner strength. 

I've enjoyed 3 out of the past 4 days off.  Monday was a bummer.  Thursday, I took Mom out to lunch to my favorite business cafe near work.  Friday, I  worked on unearthing our den.  Yesterday, I felt low - it was getting to me.  Today, John and I spent time together.  We drove down to Bachmann Industries and he dropped off an assignment (an illustration of Track 9 3/4), then he took me out to lunch afterward.  Oh, and I've requested that the company pick up 2 of those 4 days - this whole thing could've been resolved by end of the day Friday or Sunday at the latest if anyone had called me up to discuss it, instead of waiting for yesterday afternoon.   Whether they okay it or not, at least I put it on the table. 

It helped a lot knowing there were people all over the world hoping everything would work out.  We'll see how it goes, but I have more hope now than I've had for 7 weeks that I'll still be with my company by the end of 2001.

Mom's gotten a kick out of this.  She's experienced how people tend to value us when they know we genuinely value ourselves and what we offer.  She's been fascinated by the lack of passion and the depth of principle-based actions.  She's been amazed by how much time and energy some important people have put into my sticking around.  She's realized I didn't care what my company ultimately did or didn't do.  There's a quote in the April edition of Oprah's magazine - "What we risk reveals what we value."  I read that late Thursday afternoon.  Thanks to the past few days, I understand what it means and trust I'll never forget.

I now return you to Mom!

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I am going to miss Elsa.  It has been lovely having her home for these past three days.  It has been an interesting experience living in a house that should have been filled with tension and worry and which was instead calm and filled with serenity.  I think that Pete would be proud of his daughter - not of her ability to get a good end, but that she stood up for principle in spite of what the end might be.  I am not looking forward to her putting in long days and I will be worried until her car drives up and she walks through the front door.

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