This has been a week. No. Really. It has been a WEEK.
I move into the weekend tired and beat down. Yet, I’m motivated and a little renewed as well. For as hard as this week was, some lessons came from it.
Sometimes you just have to let the shit hit the fan…even if it means you ain’t gonna smell so good.
My boss came down on our team this week. Hard. We had our asses handed to us. And it was deserved. I knew it was coming. I could see it coming for a couple of months. The problem is that there was nothing I could do about it.
No amount of coaching, requesting, or cajoling could help. I tried all of that. I stopped just short of bribery – because managing shouldn’t be about having to bribe your team.
So, I let it happen. I guess it was the only way to get my point across. The only way to make an attempt to fix things. And, yes, I allowed myself to slack off as well. I tried to turn it around on my own, but there is only so much a person can do before feeling completely tired of even trying.
I had to let myself get burned so that I could rise from the ashes and, hopefully, get the response and respect I deserve. Finally, all of the coaching and requesting and cajoling made sense to them. “Carleen was right. We should have listened.”
Every one of my requests was answered this week. Quickly. Efficiently. With questions of clarification if needed. I felt like I could, once again, lead by example and get my act together once more.
Someone who isn’t so damned close to the trees can see the forest.
Our new director started this week. Years of experience in the RPO industry, but new to our company. Incredibly smart. Ridiculously insightful. But knows that she’s the new kid on the block and respects the expertise of the people she’s being asked to lead.
And she does lead…not in an “I’m in charge now” way.
Instead, she tells us, “Hey, I’m here to support you. If I can take some of these tasks off your plate, then that’s what I’m going to do. Talk to me. What do you need?”
This is a good start. It’s rejuvenating. I hope it lasts.
Our VP just got loaded down with responsibilities. It was to be expected – she’s good at what she does. She’s a good manager. She’s a great coach. She’s a friend. Her sales skills are off the charts – she’s really helped to bring business to the company. She, too, respects the expertise of her team.
But she just got too busy. She couldn’t be as involved with us on the day to day. We had to be too self-reliant.
It was killing her. She so wanted to be in the mix, knowing every bit of what was going on. But she just couldn’t because she was being pulled in so many other directions. So, we got a director. Someone who could help our VP and be that extra layer of support. That person who could be in the mix and involved with us in the day to day.
So, we’re already seeing change. Already, there are new policies in place; new SOPs to follow; new ears that can listen to us; new synapses that will spark and fire when we need innovative, customer-focused, streamlined ideas.
Because, sometimes, we’re just too damned close to the trees.
It just takes one person’s insensitive proclamation of wicked asshattery to show you how many wonderful, caring people are in your life.
I had someone tell me this week that I am not the same person because I’ve been in a “grief coma” for a number of months. “What’s up with that?”
What’s up with that?
My first reaction was to lash out. To say to this person, “Imagine, just for a moment, that the personification of everything good in your life was ripped away from you and you were left – essentially – alone in the world. Imagine, just for a moment, that you had to learn how to be without this person – because without her, you simply had no definition of self. Imagine, just for a moment, that every single thing in this world reminds you of this person – this person who you had to watch leave you; who you had to tell through your tears that it was okay to leave you. Even though it wasn’t. Now, tell me ‘what’s up with that?'”
But I didn’t let that reaction out. If I had, I probably would have been fired. Best case scenario is that I would no longer be considered a formidable, respected employee.
Instead, I cried. And I said, “Well, I didn’t think I was until you told me I was.” And I cried some more. At work.
I don’t cry at work.
I cry in the privacy of my own house. Or I cry with friends – as I did with so many lovely people at the GCLS conference – who cry with me. Who share in that grief. Who know they will not fully understand the depth of my grief, but who can empathize. Who have felt loss and know that the grieving doesn’t stop when the funeral is over. Who understand that I still have “I can’t wait to tell Mom” moments – just to realize that I can’t tell Mom. Who don’t judge my tears and consider me weak or flawed or different because of them.
And so, because I can’t share that experience with Mom, I share it with friends – yes, on Facebook. (For all of Facebook’s faults – and there are many – I would go stark-raving mad without it. It’s all I have to keep me connected.) It’s on Facebook that I find the people who have my back. Who are there for me.
Some I’ve known for years and years, some are new friends, some I’ve never met.
These are the people who lifted me. These are the people who told me “of course you were changed” and who praised my restraint and were ready to react for me. These are the people who matter.
I will never stop grieving. I will always have “I can’t wait to tell Mom” moments – some of which will find me actually getting up from my chair to run upstairs with the news. I will always shed tears. I will spend the rest of my life searching for my new definition. And I know that definition will be in constant flux.
But, I also know that I have people in my life who do not subscribe to wicked asshattery and who will be there to cry with me. And I know that I love them.