Getting It


Diana is looking better each day, although she is still napping a lot more than she used to.  In another week, she should start feeling better than she did before the whole thing happened.  It's like a thaw, at least in my emotional life.  Ironic that as the fall approaches, emotionally it feels more like spring.  I've had to deal with having smothered my emotions to "be strong" for Diana.  As the thaw proceeds, I realize just how much of a drain this has been.   Yes, we really are stronger for it.  And as the treatment went on, I realized that I don't have to be Mr. Smiley Face about the whole thing--I can share how I feel.

As the thaw proceeds, yesterday I got an email that, to make a long story short, suggested that it's time to sell my house in CA.  This is really pulling up strings.  I've been passing between irritation and mourning for a day, now.  I realized last time I went back there that a lot of what I liked was the isolation.  That is the house where I lived by myself and learned, for the first time in my life, to love being alone.  But those days are gone, now.  If I went back to CA with Diana, I'd have her and the dog and the kids and my kids and her parents.  Not totally in my face, but it would be the splendid isolation I found there.

And, of course, it's a lousy time to be selling a house.  I just did a Re-fi, and saved almost a thousand dollars a month on my mortgage payment.  So for a few years, I can really afford to keep it.  It's the hassle, finding renters and trying to deal with everything long distance.  Blech!  On the other hand, selling is a hassle as well.  Bigtime.  And I'd so like to not have any hassles for a few months, to enjoy my thaw...

Which brings me to the title of this entry.  It's been very interesting to me, as I thaw, to see how my work life is changing.  I don't talk all that much about work in these pages, especially in the last year.  But I love my job--it's the best one I've ever had.  Good people, very interesting projects, and a lot of opportunity to add value.  But it's not perfect.

One of the way's it's not perfect is that my organization charter is kind of screwy.  My boss left fairly abruptly a couple of months after I arrived out here, and I was given some pieces of his organization.  Because of some personality conflicts, an organization that had been unified had been split, and was kind of in an "armed camp" mode when I arrived.  When I was asked to manage, one of the things I was told was that I would be measured on how well I got the groups working together again.

And I've made a lot of progress.  I have good working relationships with the people in the other group as well as my own, and have taken some solid steps to bring the groups more in harmony.  One of the more difficult people has just left to take another position in the company--he's very sharp, and this was a good move for him, but he had some difficult relationships with some of the others in the group.

The fly in the ointment is the leader of the other group.  He is very smart, and a long-time employee--number 3 or 4.  He's a very lassiez faire manager who is very weak on planning.  He's not a good communicator--he will talk your ear off if you ask, but never seems to realize that there are things I would like to know when he learns them.

In the past, in this kind of situation I would have sensed the power vacuum and roared in to fill it.  I would had done so, and been very successful for a while until I had pissed off enough people to get me moved out of the job.  In the last ten years, or so, I've gotten better at filling the power vacuums around me with a bit more tact and grace.  And I do value this guy's opinion and expertise, even as his planning and managing style drives me up the wall.

During Diana's treatment, I felt like I'd been doing OK at work.  Making slow progress, but making progress. As I've thawed, the first thing I realized was how frustrated I was.  I started projecting onto everyone.  The other guy was being obstructionist, my management was not supporting me, I was being set up to fail, and the president of the company had reached his level of incompetence by not fixing what was a clear organizational train wreck.

Luckily, I didn't say much of this out loud.  I did talk to my boss a bit--he's pretty cool, and doesn't come unraveled if I vent to him.  And then I got it.

I realized that I had been sitting back and expecting others to take the lead in fixing this.  With my thawed emotional senses, I realized that, indeed, everyone in both groups was looking to me to fix it, and in fact was very supportive of my doing so.  And I realized that if I did, the organization would adapt to reality.  I got it.  And this helped me to understand how frozen I had been.

So we'll see.  I start the picking up the reigns of power on Mon.  It will be interesting to see what happens, if I'm thawed enough to be gentle and compassionate and sensitive at the same time I'm attempting to be inspiring, visionary, and organized.  I do have a genuine respect for the people I work with, and, when you come right down to it, that's the most important thing.


Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2001-2003 Pete Stevens. All rights reserved.