Work with me, please.


Mae and Jay playing with the cloud maker at the Maryland Science Center.

Wooo.  It feels like such a long time since I’ve been here.  I was in a fog most of last week, tired and unfocused.  Not only was I up late every night, as usual, I woke up before my 5:15 alarm every morning last week.  My to-do list at work has been long, and I’ve been training two co-workers who’ll take over my responsibilities.  I was worried about whether I would get everything done before my last day, March 9.  I turned a corner on Friday, and I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.

One thing I’ve learned about myself during this transition is that I am a work snob.  I’m having a hard time passing on responsibilities to someone less experienced, and in my view, less capable than what the organization needs and deserves right now (not incapable, mind you, just green and underambitious).  I’ve been green before.  Heck, I’ll be green again to some extent on Monday when I start my new job.  However, I make an effort.  I’m a workhorse at work and I’m intolerant of people who do little more than what’s expected of them.  How do you show up for a meeting to discuss a document without a copy of the document to be discussed? Who does that? Who says “I got nothing” when asked for feedback on a significant document?  What the hay?  I’ve been reminding myself constantly to withhold judgment.  My mantras — I’m not the supervisor.  Things will get done, even if not in the same way that I would do them.  Nothing is going to break, and nobody is going to die.  She’ll learn; she’ll grow into the job.

This transition has confirmed for me that I’m unready to become a supervisor.  I knew already that first I’d like to gain more line experience and be able to leave a job behind at 4:30 as much as possible while the kids are still young.  I see now that my expectations of others might get in the way.  I like working with smart, quick people, and everybody is not smart and quick.  I like people who only break for lunch when workload is heavy and are willing to work through lunch if necessary.  So, I need to stay a worker bee for the foreseeable future.

Despite the crunch of work as I prepare to leave, I did take a break to have a going-away lunch with my co-workers today.  All and all, it’s a good team and I’ve enjoyed being a part of it.  One colleague gave me a homemade Italian Cream cake.  It’s sooo delicious.  I’m glad that Supper Club is this weekend and I’ll have help eating it.  I have received so many kindnesses in words and deeds over the past two weeks.  A supervisor that I’ve supported through some difficult personnel issues made a pan of lasagna for me — using her family’s recipe for homemade noodles and sauce.  The only other lasagna I’ve tasted like this was in Rome.  Seriously.  This supervisor wanted to show her appreciation for what she called my “backbone” because I recommended that she suspend an errant attorney back in 2006 (when I was still green, perhaps too green to realize what I was saying).  Within a few months, he was gone altogether, something that the organization had been trying unsuccessfully to effect for years.

So, my other new gig, in addition to the one I start next Monday, is PTA committee member.  Once again, I’m learning to adjust to different work styles.  Fortunately, the event we’re planning takes place this month, and then I’ll be free again.  I missed one of the early conference calls and got saddled with soliciting donations from local businesses.  This is not a good assignment for my introverted self.  It’s been painful to walk into a business and talk to a stranger, let alone ask for something.  All five businesses I approached gave or committed to give, which I reported during our most recent conference call.  The problem is that the committee chair then had the great idea that I should make follow-up calls to some 30 businesses to whom she’d mailed donation requests.  She’s a smart lady, though.  I love it when someone begins talking and you can hear the change in their voice when they realize that what was a good idea in their head doesn’t seem as good once they begin to say it.  So, she immediately added, ” . . . and we can have someone else help you make the calls.  You can split the list.”  Another smart lady on the phone then volunteered to make calls too.  Hallelujah.  I keep telling myself, “It’s for the kids.  It’s for the kids.”

Not that my kids will appreciate it any time soon, though.  Mae threatened to run away night before last.  She was upset with me about bedtime.  Sunday evenings can be difficult in terms of ending the weekend and getting ready for the school week.  She wanted to stay up later, I believe.  I was helping Jay undress for his shower when she yelled down the hall to tell me that she was going to run away.  I didn’t respond, so she came to me and repeated her threat.  My read of her face was that she wanted a reaction, and I was too tired to give her one.  Hubby was out-of-town, and I was trying to keep them on schedule.  So, I told Mae that I’d come talk to her once Jay was in the shower.  Instead of returning to her room, she went downstairs.  As I listened for the door, I debated whether I would go after her or just call the police.  Within a few seconds, she was coming back up the stairs.  She came into Jay’s room and told me that she wanted to talk things through.  So, we talked.  I didn’t change her mind; she still thought I was being mean and unfair.  However, she  did calm down.  After they were both settled and I went downstairs, I found her backpack by the door with the homework folder on the floor beside it and her Nintendo DS case inside the backpack.  Frankly, I don’t think she would ever run away.  She loves her Daddy too much.

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