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.