Monday
Feb172014

Remorse

I would be remiss if I didn't provide a brief update to the office kerfuffle of last week. 

First thing this morning "B" was at my desk with a jumbo arrangement of fresh cut flowers.  She was very emotional, assuring me of her remorse over what she said and how it all happened.

She told me she values our friendship ... because we were friendly ... and felt genuinely horrible at what she said and how it made me feel.

I...believe her.  I was shocked at the gesture and also felt very nurtured at the same time. It's not just the act of the apology, it's the fact that she made sure it was delivered as soon as she got into the office (she still had her coat on).  

And it was also that she knew I deserved the apology. So often people hurt others with their words or actions and never once feel anything even approaching remorse.  They believe they have the right to say whatever they feel because it's all about them.

To come to me and, in essence, beg for my forgiveness was truly a genuine act of humility. I didn't ask for further apologies from B; she did, as I mentioned before, apologize in the moment.  The fact that she made a point to come to me in-person reveals much about her character.

Favors...are restored.

Saturday
Feb152014

The Weekly Muse

Ah - the total bliss of a weekend with very minimal obligations.  Which - after this past week is more than welcomed.

It is required for survival.

For the week was cah-razy.  Once again I did it to myself - on the go 15 hours a day for 3 consecutive days.  The extras were great but exhausting.

Then we got a foot of snow, on top of the foot we already had.  Thankfully we were able to work from home on Thursday during the storm and then again yesterday.  The company opened very late yesterday due to overnight icing conditions that really were quite treacherous.

And while we could have gone in for the, essentially, half day available to us we made the command decision to stay home again.  The Oracle made that decision for himself...because he can.

I made it for myself because I had to.

As I have mentioned in the past, I have a very real fear of dentists. I've done what I had to do in the past few years to get things up-to-date but beyond that, the fear still exists.  And was put to the test this week. 

It started on Monday with a tooth sore to the bite; on Tuesday that soreness was gone. By Wednesday my jaw had started to ache - which for me is usually a sign that I'm coming down with a sinus infection.  So that evening I took the necessary precautions against the illness and used my trusty Neti Pot.

ARRGGHH!

That only made the ache worse, which was odd indeed.  By Thursday there was no denying I had a tooth problem as the ache had gone from generalized to localized and constant. By yesterday morning there was no denying I needed to see the dentist.

So off I went to the mid-morning appointment I was able to secure.  Truthfully I was more terrified of the reason for the problem then the visit itself.

Turns out the reason for all the jaw and tooth aches was so odd that I gave him a stunned, disbelieving look.

I have a bruised tooth.

The periodontal ligaments supporting the jaw and the tooth have been damaged, likely (at least for me) thru clenching.  I do grind my teeth at night and when I get stressed - I do clench my jaw.  So it would seem that at some point over last weekend - I clenched hard enough to bruise a tooth!

Let me assure you - it is quite painful.  My jaw aches constantly and the tooth itself can pulse and throb so much that it will bring tears to my eyes.  The only treatment is - Advil and patience.  It can take a few months for all of this to go away.

In the meantime I need to concentrate as much as I can on not clenching my jaw.  I'm finding that I clench much more than I realized because I catch myself doing it several times an hour.

It's gonna be a long few weeks coming up.

The good news is that the rest of my teeth are in pristine condition.  My dentist ended up giving me a full cleaning and praised me extensively for the care I have continued to give my teeth.  All in all it wasn't a horrible visit.

And now ... we wait for more snow to fall today; we're going to add 6 inches to the 24 inches we have.  We are snug in the house and will only venture out for church tonite and possibly dinner out depending on the weather.

This coming week - I'm hoping will be a little more quiet that this past.

Thursday
Feb132014

Perception=Reality

People...are interesting.

Sometimes.

In unguarded moments of real stupidity they can reveal much about themselves; and sometimes about how they see you.

Case in point:

  • The scene is an instant messaging system at work.
  • The parties are myself (M) and a co-worker (B).
  • The discussion is around the availability of my boss' private conference room.

B: Hey Kris, is Erik's conference room available on Friday @ 9:00?

M: Let me check. ... It sure is.  I reserved it for you.

B: You are the best! Thank you.

M: Anytime.

...

B: Kris was in a good mood so she's letting us use Erik's conference room on Friday!

...

M: Wow B ... really?

...

B: OMG Kris, wow I have so much going on. That wasn't meant for you.

...

...

M: Well, that's pretty clear.  So you were implying, to someone else, that the only way a person gains access to Erik's private conference room is if I'm in a good mood?

B: That's not what I meant.

M: Seems pretty clear to me. You know B, I bend over backwards for all 75 people in this department - moving heaven & earth to make every accommodation so that everyone gets whatever they want. In fact it might interest you to know that there actually was a meeting in the conference room during the time you wanted; I shifted it around so you could have your full meeting time in one place.

B: I know, you do so much for us - it's true.

M: Yet...you felt it OK to say something patently untrue to another employee in the department.

B: I'm having a bad day; I shouldn't have taken it out on you. I am sorry.

M: Well...the fact is, you didn't actually take it out on me directly.  You bullied me...to a co-worker instead.

...

B: I really am sorry.

M: This has been a rare moment of candor that, quite frankly, I could have done without.

...

I don't have much power; I have the illusion of power because of the power of my boss. But in truth I am the low man on the pole.

But I do have a few things that are in my purview; that I do bend over backwards to make available to my co-workers.  Needless to say - any favors I may have been inclined to do for "B" in the future...have shriveled up and blown away on the blizzard winds of the day.

Though it does highlight a potential problem; it was a moment of candor where someone didn't pay attention to what they were doing and shared something they didn't intend for me to ever see or hear.  Which makes me wonder: is that the perception?

It's untrue of course; in fact eventually last night I had to laugh at the thought of me needing to be in a good mood to give someone else what they wanted or needed; I must be in a good mood all the time because I rarely say no to anyone.

But if that is the perception - I need to deal with that.  I honestly believe that I smile most of the time, that I'm accommodating and helpful, that I really do whatever it takes to make everyone's life around me as smooth as possible.

But if my co-workers believe that my mood dictates what I do to provide assistance...

This bares watching, investigating and digging down deep to address.

Then again - she could just be dumb as a box of rocks.

Saturday
Feb082014

The Weekly Muse

In case you missed it...it is Saturday.

***le sigh***

I love the fresh start of a Saturday.  You wake in the morning and can officially shake off the dust of the week. Perhaps get a little more sleep than you do during the week, Saturday morning starts new and clean.

And when you start Saturday with a pedicure at 8:30am - it does give a person hope for better days.

The potential new job - three interviews, positive vibes on all fronts - is no joy.  They found someone that will be a "better fit".  I was a top candidate but in the end - the skills all matched so it was a matter of personality.  Which...not sure how I feel about that.  I think I'd rather learn that I had a skill deficiency than my personality wasn't a right fit.

But as I reflect on that - in truth I spent hours yesterday praying on it - I realize that what it really means is this: it is a department filled with geeks and while I was excited about working with them, in truth it's likely I'm too dynamic - not reserved enough - to fit in with a group like that.  As much as I wanted the job, if I'm being honest my desire for the job was as much related to my greater desire to get out of where I am than it was about the new job itself.

If that makes any sense.

And so - I begin again.  There is supposedly another position just about to open up and my information is being referred to the recruiter for that.  It's a positive so we'll see what comes of it.  Once again I remain hopeful but expect nothing.

Mad Skillz - that is what they sound like.  The a-cappella group from...Rochester Institute of Technology, of all places.  Absolutely amazing.

Once again I am in the position of - pondering my future. 

A dear friend, after learning that I didn't get the job, posted this image on my Facebook wall earlier today. 

I'm not sure what "all those things" are but...I've been spending alot of time NOT thinking about them lately and I believe it is time to think about them.

Now.

I need the ole "9-5" to pay the bills in the house and for that I will continue to do what I'm doing.  In truth, as I have said before, I no longer find the work I'm doing to be challenging or particularly fulfilling.

But I can do it with my eyes closed and get paid well to do it.  So, why rock that particular boat???

It's time for me to think about extracurricular enjoyment.

Church - there is so much I could do for my Parish.  I already do quite a bit - serving as a Eucharistic Minister and Lector; coordinating the Lectoring Ministry.  Serving on the Liturgy Committee.  And I continue to discern and pray about taking on a more active role with the Youth Ministry.

That last is a huge commitment; I knew it would be more than the other things I'm doing but I had no idea just how much more.  I am now getting all the e-mails about Core Team (read: adults only) Meetings and the actual Youth Group Gatherings each month.  I haven't participated in much since my epic bullying talk but each time I get an e-mail, a chill runs thru me when I read how much work needs to be done for any one activity.  I freeze at the thought of giving up weekend time or making more evening commitments.

But then I think about why I started to pray on joining this ministry - the death of Paige Houston.  And this past week yet another youth from our community was killed in a car crash; high school senior Garrett Campen was alone in his car on a sunny Friday morning on his way to school; he lost control and hit a tree. No word yet on what the cause was. It wasn't very icy that morning, there was no precipitation. When it's a teen your mind automatically goes to texting, talking on the phone, speeding...but it could have been a medical event. 

And no matter what - yet again our small town is rocked by the loss of another teenager.  While Garrett didn't go to our church of course the youth in our church knew him - very well. It's alot for a young person to take in and it draws me nearer to making a decision about making a real commitment to this ministry.

Yet I still ... hesitate.

Prayers continue.

The always soothing Adiemus. Karl Jenkins, the founder, has said that the "words" actually have no meaning.  They are designed to give solace to the listener - whatever that might me to your soul.

I may have created a photography opportunity for myself.  A dear friend of mine is a show jumper, riding a Thoroughbred named "Mai Tai".  Today I offered to photograph Mai Tai for her as well as doing some photography of her jumping with him.

My friend - was thrilled!  She started to tell me all about the stable she rides out of - how gorgeous the property is. It's a small stable but they have 12 Thoroughbreds - including 2 German horses that are descended from Olympic lineage - and by all accounts it is a thriving business.  So who knows - perhaps I'll be able to do some photography for the stable.  This all won't take place until spring which gives me to time to brush up on my skills again and do some research on animal portraiture.

Tomorrow promises to be a busy day of photography but of a different kind.  The RCIA Class this year (the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the class The Oracle and I took 3 years ago) is being presented to the Parish tomorrow morning as part of their final "push" to the Easter Vigil and their baptisms or confirmation.  I have been asked to do the photography of the presentation tomorrow morning and it's going to be a busy time; there are NINE candidates this year!

So amazing - 9 individuals are going to be received into the Catholic Church. They include a young couple who will be getting married later on this year, the wife of someone who was in RCIA last year and a family. It is such a blessing to see this happening and it will be an honor to be part of their journey tomorrow.

After Mass tomorrow morning there will be a reception at the Parish House for the RCIA candidates, their families and past RCIA graduates - like us!  Naturally I will be baking for the event; gotta get moving on that soon!

Despite the loss of a promising job opportunity - after several hours of prayer yesterday including a concentrated hour of unending prayer last night - today I feel blessed and filled with grace.

Whatever my future holds, it is being guided by God.  It's difficult, nee' nearly impossible, for me to give up that level of control yet I know I must.  I struggle with that every day and yet when I do finally give it all up to God - even if only for a moment - the sense of relief is monumental.

Wednesday
Feb052014

De-Motivated

I had quite the rant all written in my mind; filled with witty phrases and clever thoughts.

It's all gone.  Not sure where it went.

The new job opportunity remains static.  I'm supposed to hear something this week; here it is Wednesday and I've heard - nothing.  Which doesn't make me feel too warm and fuzzy; if I was their first choice I believe I'd have heard by now.

Or not.

Frustration thy name is Kris.

My current job is - well, let me say this about that:

Gratitude...it can go a long way to making up for the absence of other things.

Absence of gratitude can be...de-motivating.

My boss has to be one of the most ungrateful managers I've ever had.  At least when it comes to me and my job performance.

Oh - he hand-writes notes of praise and thanks to all sorts of people; copies their managers.  Makes a big deal out of that kind of recognition in meetings.  Sends e-mails noting accomplishments.

But does he ever recognize any of my contributions?  Does he ever stop to acknowledge the work that I do?

Here's a great example:

Those meetings I mention that I do 4 times a year. All employee meetings plus business partners.  Massive organizational challenges for 100+ people with moving parts, multiple concurrent sessions.  Navigation documents. Registration tables. Technology support. Catering.

We do a survey of attendees after each one so that we can continue to fine-tune content, flow, participation, etc... In the survey for the meeting done this past December my name was mentioned multiple times - in praise of the organization, flow and challenges of the meeting. High praise was heaped upon me for doing such an amazing job of making everything look and feel - seamless.

I don't know about it because my boss mentioned it to me.  I know about it because I got a copy of the results. 

No thank you. No "job well done". No recognition of any kind. I am just a body at a desk for him. There are days when he barely recognizes that I sit right outside his office.

I know he's busy. I know he's very important; that people are clamoring to meet with him. I know that the very top senior leaders in the entire company think the sun rises and sets on his skinny shoulders.

And I know that I think he's an arrogant, self-important, narcissistic ass.

And it's not like I haven't made it clear to him what I need from him in the way of support and feedback.  He knows; he just doesn't give a shit.

Which leaves me - nowhere.

Well...now I guess I found that rant after all.

UPDATE @ 1:00pm EST:  To further prove what kind of manager my boss is: our offices are closed today due to the weather but he is in the office.  He took a walk around the department and e-mailed 2 of his direct reports informing them that 2 of their employees did not take their laptops home and, would they be taking a PTO day today?

OK - there is SO much wrong with that. First of all - the company is officially closed. The statement we all received indicated that if you could work from home you were expected to do so.  So if you can't work from home - it's just a snow day per the company.  Second of all - he was wrong about those 2 employees. One of them was actually in the office but had been away from his office for so long that the lights were out (shocking, that lights go out in an office, I mean really...); the other has a 2nd laptop at home.

So here is this man - a senior leader - walking around his department spying on people and tattling on them to their managers; expecting them to take a vacation day despite the fact that the company office is officially closed.

He didn't used to be this kind of micro-manager; when he first joined our area 3 years ago he was a high-level management type - treat people like adults, he used to say.  We are all responsible for ourselves, he'd say.  He's not a babysitter, he'd say.

Times have changed and what's worse - those top leaders in the entire company are fostering this kind of micro-management by rewarding him (and others like him) and giving them increasing recognition across the organization.

I really want out of the cubicle farm but that is a few years away yet.  ***le sigh***