Caved

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My biggest shortcoming is giving people third chances.  Not second chances.  I believe everyone deserves a second chance.  People make mistakes.  ALL of us, me included.   I never forget the good people in my life who have cared enough to give me a second chance.  My problem is not holding people accountable for the third, fourth, or fifth times they mess up, etc.

Today was no exception.  My administrative assistant, who has been a continuous problem, deserved to be dismissed.  I spend more time dealing with the problems she causes than relying on her for assistance.  I called members of my Executive Board while I drove to the office.  Their reactions were all similar.  They gave me the authority to make whatever decision I felt necessary.

I had meetings at 8:00, 9:00, and 10:00 a.m.  In between each meeting, I prepared for the next meeting.  My mood was not good as I anticipated the conversation I was going to have with her later in the morning.  By 11:00, I was feeling overwhelmed with anxiety.  I was upset, pissed off, and feeling stressed out.  I felt like I had a million productive things that needed my attention, but I had to step away from it all to deal with a disciplinary issue.  I wished for someone to talk to about how best to approach the situation.  I was afraid that I would lose my temper.  I was afraid she would cry.  Damn, I was just afraid, and that fact pissed me off.  I was alone with this matter, and I was the only one who had to handle things.  I stood up from my desk and decided to take a walk around the block to clear my head and cool off.

When I returned from my walk,  I showed her the copy I had found of the order form for her “moonlighting” business.  She said, “I’m so sorry.  I made that copy weeks ago.”  My God!  She was adding more lies.  I had found the copy on the glass of the copier.  With a dozen people using the same copier, I knew the copy I had found had not been made weeks ago.

I said, “Weeks ago?  Please don’t lie to me.  Even if you made the copy weeks ago, it was still wrong to be running your other business from this office.  We have been over this before.  This is the second time now.  If it happens again, that will be three strikes, and you’ll be out of here.”  I went on to tell her not to say another word.  I didn’t want to spend anymore time on the subject.  Period.

I had given her one more chance.  The rest of the day was terrible.  She is scared to death of me.  She spent the rest of the day going from acting like a scared little mouse to sending me multiple emails telling me what she was organizing or working on….vying for approval like a school child.

By the time I got home from work, I am drained.  T brought home dinner and a surprise chocolate cake.  I took a long soaking bubble bath, and I laid across the bed in silence for a while.  The constant stress is really getting to me.  I’m tired all the time.

I’m hoping that positive changes are just over the horizon.  If I take the time, squint really hard, and look forward, I can seem them rising up in front of me.

For almost exactly a year, life has been hectic and full of changes and stress, but things are beginning to settle down and become familiar.  On my way home from work, I stopped at the bank to complete an important transaction.  Our house is closing on Friday.  This time, we are the buyers, not the sellers.  The title has been recorded, the funds have been transferred, all of the necessary documents have been completed and approved by all parties concerned.  I’m so excited to get a paintbrush in my hands this weekend.  I know it may sound strange, but I think working on this house will be a source of stress relief for me.

Living in this house for a year has felt like home….almost.  We have become comfortable here.  We love the neighborhood.  But there has always been something missing.  This place wasn’t OURS.  While the rooms contained our furniture, they didn’t look like us.  The color was missing.  All the walls are white.  Our knickknacks and trinkets are still packed in dozen of boxes in the basement.  There is carpet where we would prefer wood.  The light fixtures weren’t personally selected by us.  These are simple changes, and they are changes that will make this house our home.  Our new home, and I am so excited.

Why did I cave today?  Why did I give her a second or a third chance?  Why has that been my pattern too many times when I have been burned again and again by people who did not deserve a second chance?  Because of T.  Because of me.  Because I am grateful to have been given second chances and third chances by T.  He has stood by me, watched me mess up, watched me fail, and given me one more, or a dozen more chances.  I would not be who I am, or where I am today, if I had not been given those chances.

So This is What It’s Like to Be a Grown-Up

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I drove to work this morning trying to summon a positive mood.  I actively thought about things that make me happy and things that I’m proud of about my life.  Thankfully, there were a lot of things on that list.  The music playing was good, and I turned up the volume.  The sun was shining.  There was no reason to feel unhappy or stressed out…at least for those thirty minutes in the car while I drove to the office.  My mind was on my son, Luke, but I decided not to think about it for a while.  There was no reason to dwell on that situation at the moment.  I’m learning to let things rest, and that is a big accomplishment for me.  I’m learning to compartmentalize the different parts of my day.  I’m drawing on the positive times to carry me through the times that aren’t so positive.

Today I was a greeter at our local Rotary luncheon.  I wasn’t looking forward to taking the time to go to Rotary, but like always, making time to go was of benefit to me.  I had received an email over the weekend asking me if I would be a greeter this week, and I had agreed.  What that meant was that I stood at the door and welcomed all the Rotarians and registered their guests.  It was an easy job, but one that I wasn’t looking forward to doing.  I didn’t feel like being “on.”  I didn’t feel like smiling, shaking hands, and making small talk.  What happened, though, surprised me.  What happened when I stood there smiling and shaking hands was that people smiled and shook my hand in return.  I had a few brief conversations, and I met a few new people.  When I sat down during he meeting to have my lunch, I was at a table full of people that I hadn’t really known before.  I had made new connections.  I had interesting new conversations.  I had stepped outside of my comfort zone and allowed new people to enter.

Rotary has become a very positive part of my life since making this move.  I often refer to the weekly meetings as my “church.”  We say the Pledge of Allegiance.  We say a ecumenical prayer that is relevant to the events of the day.  We recite the Rotary Four-Way Test:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

We are reminded of “Service Before Self.”  These are things that I can wrap my mind around.  Who doesn’t need a weekly reminder of such basic truths to guide us through the rest of the week?  As I walked out to my car after the meeting, I felt a sense of peace and contentment, and I wondered why I often feel too busy to take time away from the office for these meetings each week.

It didn’t take long for real life to intrude on the peace I felt after attending Rotary.  I had a meeting to prepare for when I returned to the office.  When I went to the copier to grab some papers, I saw something I hadn’t expected  to see and certainly didn’t want to deal with right at that moment.

My administrative assistant has been trouble from the start.  She possesses few of the basic skills necessary for a modern day office.  She takes meeting notes in shorthand.  She doesn’t know how to create an Excel spreadsheet.  Her writing style is archaic.  She is a problem that I have been saddled with from Day One, and there isn’t an easy solution.  She is 68 years old.  Our HR representative has expressed concerns about age discrimination if she were to be let go.  Age isn’t the issue.  I just want someone able to do the job.

I’m no spring chicken, so I do feel a great deal of concern for a person who simply has no desire to retire.  I have asked her (tactfully and in a round about way) how long she plans on working, and she has assured me that she has “no intention of retiring until she’s carried out of there.”  UGH!  There is another problem, though.  She attends to an extraordinary amount of personal business while she’s on the clock.  She takes and makes personal phone calls.  She surfs the internet.  Yet if there is an early, or late, meeting she must attend, she takes comp time to the minute.  Worst of all is the fact that she conducts business for another business while she is at work.  She and her daughter run a cupcake business on the side.  They cater parties, festivals, and special events.  During her employee review, I addressed all of these concerns. Needless to say, the review process was painful.  She was in tears, and I felt terrible.  However, I had no choice but to address the problems head on.  I let her know what was acceptable and what was not.  I told her that some of her actions were cause for dismissal, but that I wanted to work with her to in order to correct the problems in order for her to keep her job.  She said that she understood, and I thought I had seen some improvements.

Today I found a piece of paper on the copier that belonged to her.  It was a blank order form for the cupcake business.  She had been at it again.  Not only had she been making copies for her business during work hours, but she was using the company’s copier for her own personal use.  The company pays a monthly fee per copy.  I know the fee for these copies may not amount to much, but in my eyes, this is stealing of both time and resources from the company.

The fact that this is cause for dismissal is clear.  She has been warned.  I have tried to work with her, and I have stated what is acceptable and what is not.  She has chosen to break the rules.  What bothers me most is what has been going on that I have NOT seen?  Lies are like cockroaches.  If you see one, there are fifty hiding in the shadows.

I haven’t confronted her yet.  I have to cool off and think this through.  I need to consult with my Executive Board.  They are aware of the ongoing problems, and I’m sure they will call for her dismissal.  I don’t dislike this woman.  I feel sorry for her because of the trauma I know is coming her way.  My heart feels sad.

 

got-ethics

 

 

 

Hey, Mom

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Frustrated doesn’t even begin to describe what I’m feeling right now.

It was a great long weekend with all four kids home.  While it was exhausting, I so much enjoyed having my kids close for a few days.  More than the interaction I had with them, I enjoyed watching them talk to each other.

Boom!  One phone call later, and that feeling of satisfaction over a job well-done in raising such wonderful adult children, is gone. Continue Reading »

Alone

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“We need others.  We need others to love, and we need to be loved by them.  There is no doubt that without it, we too, like the infant left alone, would cease to grow, cease to develop, choose madness and even death.” ~ Leo Buscaglia

No one person can be everything to another person.  I need someone to talk to who knows my heart, but there is no one there.  There is no one I can pick up the phone and call who would understand…or not think that I have lost my mind to call and reveal to them the inner workings of my heart.  The fact that there is not one person I can reach out for right at this moment makes me feel so lonely. Continue Reading »

Baseball Memories

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When I was a little girl, my father gave me the most important gift, the gift of acceptance and unconditional love.

I was in the midst of those awkward middle school years.  I was trying so hard to be cool, to be like everyone else.  Above all, I wanted to fit in.  All my friends played softball, so of course, I signed up to be on a team, too.  I hated every single moment of it.  I was afraid of being hit by a ball.  I couldn’t catch, pitch, throw, or hit.  Yet I kept right on trying.  I went to each practice.  When I got home, my dad spent countless hours trying to teach me and trying to help me improve.  Nothing worked.  I didn’t improve no matter how hard I tried.  As hard as I was working to be better, my heart wasn’t in it.  I wanted to be reading a book, or playing the piano, or spending time with my pets.  The only things I liked about playing softball was sitting on the bench, visiting with my friends, and going to the concession stand after the game. Continue Reading »

Cell Phone Hostage

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Yesterday morning around 6:00 a.m., before I was even out of bed, I sent my three oldest children a text message.  The message was in response to a text I had received from Verizon notifying me that we had exceeded the data usage limit on our phone plan, therefore we would be incurring an additional charge.  While the charge wasn’t overly excessive, I was upset with my kids for not being more cautious with MY money.  I knew our data usage was close to the limit; so did they.  We had all received the warning text a week ago.  So I sent the following text to my kids:  “I am going to check my Verizon account to see why our data is being overly used, and who is using it.  Please be respectful of the fact that you are all adults, and your parents are still the ones paying for your phones.” Continue Reading »

Brightness

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It has been almost one year since I began this challenging journey of change.  One thing I learned quite quickly was that it helped me immensely to break things down into short-term goals.  By short-term I’m talking days, a week, a month at the most.  Some days I felt so overwhelmed that my goal was simply to get through whatever I had to do that day without thinking ahead to tomorrow.  This method of dealing with a major life change went a long way in reducing stress. Continue Reading »