Finality bites

I have avoided writing about meeting with Spawn of Hellbeast last Friday and the aftermath of that meeting and signing of documents. In person, she was coldly professional and efficient. Copies of my separation and severance agreement were presented for my attorney’s final review. Once he was satisfied, we brought in the notary and both parties signed the agreements.

All told, it was about 30 minutes from start to finish. End of an era and a job I loved.

Financially, I am enriched. Emotionally, professionally, I feel very much diminished.

My attorney and I went to lunch and talked about all the reasons this was a good strategy for me. We’ve known each other several years now and have a very good relationship. However, I still went home and have felt mostly depressed all weekend.

Tomorrow is the first of my last three days. There is still stuff yet for me to complete, but I can feel the weight of my departure. Associates are avoiding me after a fashion, and many of them are saddened by my separation.

Last week I received my first going away gift – a set of weight locks for the barbell in neon green. It was really a sweet gesture, even if the associate gifting them insisted they are used and this was not a big deal. But they were on my desk, until I turned my back and they mysteriously disappeared, only to turn up in the break room later in the day. It became a game last week – I’d put them back on my desk, they would go on walk-about the minute I stepped out of my office.

Friday they were missing when I left; today when I stopped by to get the last of my personal belongings in privacy they were back along with a card signed the associates.

They know me, and my habits, quite well.

These last few days will be challenging in a different way than dealing with the Hellbeast clan. I’m done; their interest in me is negligible now and I had a very peaceful, uneventful Friday afternoon without a single email, phone call, or voice mail message from anyone in the acquiring organization. I expect the same in my last few days.

However, we still have a lot of work to do. There are client matters to attend to, clients to deal with and talk to, moving of personal furnishings and such from the partners’ offices.  As far as my part in the transition, records are organized and everything on my to-do has been crossed off as done.

Really, not much left from saying final goodbyes to the staff.

I’ll miss them terribly. We have all grown-up a little more and gained some wisdom, experience, perspective in our time together.

And tonight, I am having a really hard time imagining not seeing them most days, not working together, not talking and interacting. Our relationships will change, because it is the reality of not working together almost every day and sharing experiences and common goals. I have said all along that the worst part of this change is leaving a job I love primarily because of the people involved long before I am ready for it to end.

Try as I might to put the bright spin on it, to acknowledge that I will be fine and retain my gainful employment, truth is the spin is tiresome. I’m sad and not sure my determination to put my best professional face forward is going to hold. But as my friend K advised me last week, the gift I leave them with is that I remain my normal solid, steady, and professional self to the end.

It’s only three days. With people I have come to respect and enjoy and will miss collaborating with during my workdays.

Aggravated, crazy, sick to my stomach – TGIF

Probably the title should read “Ms. Crankypants has taken over the blog.” But that might be more negative than is actually necessary? Maybe, maybe not. It’s just been a very long week and some irritation must be vented and bled off.

Aggravated

Tuesday brought acquiring firm people into the office to kick-off the transition with introductions and reassurance all around about how thrilled and excited they are to assimilate us into the collective. Lots and meetings as a firm, in groups, and individually over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday. The administrative partner – she was a corporate suit with a resting bitch face that never seemed to fade even when she smiled and spoke. Had she been nicer, less dismissive and condescending I would not be so harsh in my assessment, but reality bites.

In truth, I am a hopeful person; I want a positive spin on everything, particularly work when such big and upsetting changes are in the works. This woman, though, was my worst corporate nightmare in very expensive shoes. She heads up human resources and is an employment law partner, so I suppose her credentials are impressive. However, her people skills, for those of us without a Juris Doctor degree, are horrendous. Going forward, I will simply refer to her as Hellbeast. The rest of the non-attorney staff in my office have far worse monikers for her, but I am trying to strike a balance here. Yes, I get that I am biased and failing miserably. But oh well.

The way she spoke at me, I thought at first she was just not good with women, or not good with people in general. Then I observed her talking to my bosses and the rest of the attorneys, and while her tone and demeanor changed depending on the staff level, she was still essentially civil and somewhat engaging. Professional snob, yes, but I have worked with worse.

Dismissive, condescending, and even mean – she is probably demanding of service staff and tips poorly. And I have a really hard time with that. Poor service, sure. But to brush off and actually speak sharply to my receptionist for doing his job – inexcusable. My receptionist is the lowest paid staffer among us and will gladly, happily do just about anything we ask him to do. One of the partners had sent an email that he was expecting a high priority phone call and to find and interrupt him no matter what he was doing, which is what my receptionist did in a respectful way, knocking at the open door, waiting until she finished speaking, and then starting to tell the boss about his call – only to be barked at by Hellbeast that he was interrupting when she was not finished talking. My receptionist immediately apologized, but she got up and closed the door in his face.

Hellbeast. I think I am being kind.

My receptionist was understandably upset. He’s young, this is his first position in a professional office setting, and he’s done a terrific job for us. My horror at her actions was written all over my face, and if there was any doubt it was erased when I stood up, excused myself, and left the very informal meeting we were in, ostensibly so my boss could take his call in private, but really so I could (1) regain my composure and diffuse my own flash of anger, and (2) check in with my receptionist to ensure he knew he’d done nothing wrong. He can be a little sensitive about making mistakes.

Things went downhill from there.

When it was my turn to have a one-on-one with her, we went over the things that needed to be done in the transition and how my accounting functions would be moving to the centralized headquarters office and all my office/business management responsibilities for contracts, leases, and purchasing as well. Reporting relationships would be changing – attorneys assuming more of an administrative and supervisory load. Essentially, everything I expected to happen would be happening.

We went over my employment letter for the balance of 2017 because of the firm change, and where our present document is 3.5 pages long, the new one runs 12 pages. There was also the temporary portal to view their employee handbook and office policies, of which I was expect to read and document having reviewed these documents. None of this was a surprise; new firm, we are essentially being absorbed as new employees and have to get set-up in their systems.

I told her I needed a few days to review all those documents, but would likely have it back to her next week. She pressed, wanted to have as much of this done this week, preferably before she left on Tuesday. I pushed back, pointing out that as an attorney, she should not want me signing anything I had not read and understood thoroughly. Did not stop her from asking again before she left the office later that day.

When it was my turn to voice questions or concerns, I asked very directly what my role in the firm would be for the next 6 months? Essentially, my day-to-day workload was being transferred to corporate. I am not a paralegal, and I would be the most well-paid office clerk if that was what they envisioned. She hemmed, hawed, gave me the canned “we are still figuring out your skills and how to put them to use” type answer, but in such a way that was vague and about as clear as mud. So I reframed and asked again, and she finally admitted she was not sure how they could use me. She also pointed out with her creepy smile that my base salary was higher than their highest ranking non-attorney staffer, and I responded that was likely because I have superior skills and experiences and am paid a competitive wage to manage a firm professionally and efficiently. She did not like that, at all.

But oh well. In her words, we are here to do a job, not necessarily make friends.

Before meeting her and knowing most firms do not allow their employees to moonlight or have other forms of paid employment, I already knew I would be having my personal attorney review any employment agreements and the documents referenced therein. To protect myself and my self-employment clients, I have a waiver from my present bosses on file, and every time I acquire a new client that may present a conflict with the firm, I let them know and they sign off. My doing accounting work for other firms, including 2 other sole practitioner attorneys, has never been an issue. But we are a small firm. I have daily, direct contact and interaction with the principals. They know me, I know them. The new situation is big law firm, and I did not imagine them being so flexible about this typical clause in employment agreements. Hence the review by my personal lawyer. I wanted no unpleasant surprises.

Hellbeast is not amused or happy that I took this step. Wednesday we had occasion to talk about a couple of things by phone, and both times she asked me about my documents. On the second call, I said that the acquisition was effective July 1, so she would have my documents on or before June 30. That was “unacceptable” to her, because they need to get me and everyone else set-up in their system. Having done payroll and knowing the time and billing system both firms use inside and out, it does not take up to 3 weeks to get 25 people set-up. Maybe a day, if they are working at a leisurely pace. But I refused to back down or budge. What I didn’t say – you’re not my boss, yet, and if my existing bosses tell me I need to get this done this week, then I might be inclined to try harder. But my existing bosses? Take my time, read and review the documents, ask questions, let’s just shoot for June 25 to be courteous to the new firm. Done.

My attorney said not to sign anything without getting a solid waiver on my self-employment. He wrote an email to Hellbeast, the BLF partner moving in to our offices July 1, and my bosses as well outlining his concerns and changes he wanted before he would allow me to sign the document. That was Wednesday evening. My bosses here are fine with it, even applaud me for being proactive and protecting my interests, said the changes requested are actually quite minor and other than the waiver for my business, they did not see it as a big deal.

Crickets from Hellbeast and BLF. Which is fine. I can wait.

This morning I come in to 6 different emails from her about various documents I submitted, letters I wrote to various vendors and holders of office equipment leases with our firm – all at the direction of my partners here and with their review and approval of the missives prior to release. Her “dressing down” tone was in my view quite inappropriate, but I admit my bias. I replied, with cc’s to my bosses (who along with the rest of the attorneys are out of the office today) and consider the matter closed until they return on Monday.

Crazy

Crazy is my catch-all term for anxiety and apprehension about things inside and outside my sphere of influence and control. The decision about the merger is reality and I believe I am doing my best to take care of business and serve both our clients and the partners and staff through the transition. I am also doing my best to take care of myself, and in truth that is the primary source of my present job crazy.

I have a plan B, because I have little stomach or desire for a role in a large corporate organization. Been there, done that, learned it does not make me a happier, better, or even more balanced a human being. Now that I have this much time invested in my ability to help, influence, steer a business to success, I am reluctant to become another tiny worker bee in the a corporate hive. That’s my personal preference.

However, I also have a good understanding of the parachute and severance package negotiated as terms of the merger. I will protect my rights to that and not allow anyone to try and remove it from my grasp. If I have to spend the next 6 months counting paperclips because that’s my new role, I will be the best damn paperclip counter anyone has ever met and continue to collect my salary and have my health insurance paid. However, I am unwilling to relinquish my self-employment clients. It was not a problem for my existing bosses and does not seem like it should be an issue for the new firm, particularly since all aspects of my employment agreement now in place should transfer to the new firm. How far they want to push it remains to be seen.

I dislike conflict. I am open to discussion of divergent points of view and trying to find an acceptable compromise. But I’m not feeling anything by contentious conflict from the Hellbeast and it’s stressing me out. I dislike being bullied myself, but professionally, I have enough self-confidence (and self-control) to manage the situation. However, when it comes to bullying someone who lacks standing or experience, I tend to get very angry very quickly. Concerns about my receptionist and the paralegals in my firm are genuine. The paralegals are professionals and will land well whatever happens – they are good at their jobs and will find another position if it comes to that – but my receptionist is a good kid and still quite green when it comes to big corporate politics. Perhaps I will be around to help, perhaps not. But whatever happens, I will be around outside the office if he needs help or resources to find something else.

I feel sucked into the type of toxic environment once more that I left years and years ago and allowing it to make me crazy. Which upsets me even more; I am allowing it to get to me. On the one hand it has been really great for my gym workouts and daily 300 kettlebell swings; the emotional aggravation tends to get drilled down to massive focus on whatever it is I am doing with the weights or form with the swings. On the other hand, gym and kettlebell swing takes up only about 2 hours per day. The rest of the time I have this “oh shit” sense of dealing with merger-related matters.

I hate that “oh shit” sense of anything, especially when it stretches out in front of me for at least the rest of the month, possibly the rest of the year.

Sick to my Stomach

This morning, woke up with a mild stomach ache and feeling not quite right. I thought it might simply be hunger – small dinner last night. Drank my protein shake and did not feel better. Went to the gym for my practice and found my stomach starting to roil, so I finished the slo-mo huffy-puffy and called it a day.

Now, I blame Hellbeast, just because I can. My temporary stomach ailment has nothing to do with the questionable lettuce I ate for dinner last night and everything to do with my aggravation with Hellbeast and her bullshit. I so rarely have any sort of upset stomach that is irritates me more that just about every other sort of sickness. Especially since we’re going out to lunch today and I will have to limit myself to even blander food than usual. We’re doing Japanese, and I figure plain white rice and miso soup should be fine. I can box up the rest for dinner or tomorrow.

But oh well. It’s the company that counts, and my peeps – the company is excellent.

TGIF

Glad it’s Friday. Busy weekend ahead with client events tomorrow night and Sunday, plus lunch and furniture shopping/browsing with K tomorrow.

Happy weekending everyone!

Sadness

While I do not want my return to semi-regular blogging here to be all about work and it’s changes, for the moment I have to accept that it is for this weekend at least all about work and it’s changes. This too is temporary and will pass.

Thanks for all the kind and supportive comments. I very much appreciate you reading and taking a moment to share your thoughts.

An email announcement went out yesterday after the papers were signed and originals shipped out via FedEx. Typically I am consulted on communications of such weight with staff, but as in the way things are moving forward, I am now part of the staff. It is appropriate and as it should be; the partners are the owners and shareholders of the firm and made this decision after much discussion and thoughtful consideration. It is like we are children of divorce: definitely a consideration of the parents’ decisions, but not a party to the actual decision-making process. I’ll be honest – I feel hurt by that. The decision-making is 100% theirs, but the communication afterwards? I am the one whose telephone and text began blowing up immediately after staff received the news. It would have been nice to be forwarned, as I am probably the only person in the firm who does not have her work email pinging on her iPhone. But this is my choice to not stay in touch with work 24/7; I suppose this is one of those minor consequences of that choice.

To their credit, it was an incredibly nice, sensitive, thoughtful and caring email. Or it was the best example of those attributes when such life-altering news is delivered to the unsuspecting. It outlines the primary reasons and motivating factors behind the decision and describes next steps with regard to the transition, the severance that will be offered to anyone who is not offered a position with the new organization. It reinforces all the reasons I like and respect my bosses to such a high degree, yet at then same time and to a lesser degree demonstrates a key weakness in their ability to relate to the long-term, far-reaching impact this has upon their employees.

While they built this firm themselves and have poured countless amounts energy and sweat equity into building it into something so viable and successful, I know that I done a lot of work to breathe community into the staff who grew it into something really special. That’s hard for me to release my territorial protectiveness of them right now. My anxiety over the impacts on the rest of the staff is real. If the partners are the originators and rainmakers, I infused the heart, soul, and got-your-back team spirit of those who work so hard most days of the week to make it happen. As a firm, we are not all about billable hours 24/7, although yes, we all recognize the importance of staying profitable. The dog-eat-dog culture of most professional services firms is a distant echo in our hallways, and I know it is a direct result of my influence on the human policies governing salaries, bonuses, promotions, office space, even taking time off.

I suppose if I am freaked out over anything, it’s how to help the staff manage their own emotions in this tumultuous time. I have known about this outcome was a possibility for more than 6 months, yet even I was blindsided by it actually coming to fruition under cloak of secrecy and cover of darkness. While I understand business is business and family is family, the attorneys, paralegals, and my receptionist/admin – I genuinely care about their long-term well being. And accepting things will change so dramatically in less than a month is difficult. I console myself it has been less than 24 hours, and tomorrow there will be an office full of people waiting for more information and hoping for some reassurance about the future. I am presently scheduled on my work-from-home day, because Tuesday we have several things going on that require my presence.

My own codependency is starting to bubble, in that I feel the need to go in and get started taking care of everyone. Today was a struggle to manage my emotions as the realization that the job I love is fading away and my role in this firm is already being eradicated. The phase out began yesterday with the blanket announcement to the staff and continued with small group meeting invitations/announcement for the various hierarchies, something I would have once sat in on as well and now only know about because the associates are telling me and asking if I will be present. No, apparently not.

Much of the Saturday I anticipated being spent working on self-employment matters was instead devoted to text and phone conversations with the staff about what it all means and list-making for things I need to attend to in the next 20 days before we officially merge. There are many questions to ask, plans to be made, training to commence, hand-off of responsibilities. My sense is the merger of systems and administrative tasks will happen quickly. Fortunately for me I have good practices in place and can efficiently hand them off when the time arrives. The way announcement and shutdown of the firm is being handled also leads me to the conclusion that I will be made redundant from day 1, so this could be my final month of having to report for duty with this firm in this office. I am a good and loyal employee, though, and I will do as I am asked to for as long as they need me to continue. I am prepared for that to not extend beyond June 30.

The thought should scare me, yet it doesn’t, not at all. As I said, mostly it hurts my feelings. I want to help with the transition, but instead it feels like I am already just part of the furniture to be transferred to the new entity.

I stopped in the office today to complete a few things minor tasks and bring home some personal files and records I might forget when the time comes to clean out my desk. While I was there a couple of the bosses came in and of course stopped in to talk with me.

There are rare moments when I wish I were not quite so honest about what I think and how I feel. It’s barely been 24 hours and I have already got a bad case of the sads. Staff are blowing up my text and my phone with question for which I have no answers and that’s hard. I feel as if my hours are numbered and not sure how I feel about any of it. And I am mad at them for doing what is in their best interests as owners and shareholders of the firm. While intellectually I understand it, emotionally I know they are ending a job I love. It’s just business, it’s not personal – and I know that, but admit I am still taking it personally because I care, probably too much. I know I will get over it, put on my business manager clothes and game face and push through this. As I said to my bosses, I am just a little heartbroken that it is ending before I am ready to let go.

Which is a big, defining difference between me and them, I think. I may be capable of being professional and fulfilling my responsibilities with autonomous precision, but I am not able to completely compartmentalize in the purest business is business type of ways. I see the human beings behind the job titles and social security numbers in ways a large corporation will never replicate. I don’t know that I want to separate myself so completely that it doesn’t sting when change of this magnitude happens, even when I know the changes are the best things possible for the decision makers.

Knowing I will get over it, that this emotional storm is transitory and come Tuesday (I am off tomorrow doing a Monday self-employment work from day) I will have my business manager cape on and efficiently carrying out the directives to make the transition a smooth one, right now I am sad and unhappy about the direction of my career. I barely slept last night thinking about things. In the gym this morning I found myself blindly pushing forward to burn off some of this fierce emotion, to the point that my shoulder started a slow to furious blink of ouch, Ouch!, OUCH!!!!! before I realized that I was pushing hard and doing something wrong and ignoring it. Thankfully no permanent damage done, but it’s been awhile since my inner angry/hurt girl got loose with 20 lb. dumbbells in her hands.

Perhaps it is better we had the honest conversation today, rather than next week. They know this is particularly hard on me, because of my unique standing in our little firm and likely not even a position to be had after the merger. They were frank with me that my role may possibly be shrinking even during the transition. While they tried to tell me that my exclusion from group staff meetings was because I would not be in the office, the disbelief on my face made them come clean that yeah, it was a decision they made because I am unlikely to be around for the the staff into the future. Weak, but okay.

This is all still brand new and very raw. I have an extra day to pull myself together emotionally and get my game face on. Right now I’m just not sure what that looks like at this point in my career.

Unexpected endings

This is not the post I expected to be writing today. Really, this is not the post I expected to be writing anytime in the foreseeable future.

My full-time job is likely ending. The partners told me today they have agreed to terms to sell/merge with a big corporate firm. This has been under discussion since the first of the year and I have been peripherally involved in those discussions. However, as of the end of April it appeared to be filed away under not-going-to-happen. Apparently there were some other things going on behind the scenes as of today, the deal is done. I went to the office to notarize documents and agreements and have had opportunity to skim through the highlights. The firm as a separate entity ends on June 30, but there will be up to a 6-month transition term to ensure our existing clients receive the same level of service and we figure out office space and other matters.

What that means for me – I already knew I will be leaving, even if offered an opportunity to stay. Life is short, and I do not want to work in a corporate firm again. One of the things I enjoy most about my job is the small firm aspects of it. I am within 10 feet of the owners and decision makers; there is no layered bureaucracy to wade through and navigate. While we have a chain of command and a defined organizational structure, everyone in our firm is comfortable talking to the partners about anything and everything. It’s informal and comfortable, yet very professional with high integrity and sense of fairness. From working with people of rather flexible moral standards when it came to running a business, I have found this to be of immeasurable importance and priority for me.

The partners – they are good people; they put measures in place to protect the staff. Whether I stay or go, I will be collecting a paycheck through the end of 2017. Because of health insurance benefits and other severance package incentives, I will honor my commitments to them in whatever shape it takes me. However, I already know I am likely to be among the first to exit the firm. As a supervising manager in our office and an almost purely administrative overhead employee, my job functions of billing, accounting, payroll, and human resources will be absorbed almost immediately by existing staff in the Los Angeles office. A new leader has already been appointed and will be in the office the third week in June meeting the staff and outlining the way forward. The partners will continue to function as consultants to the new enterprise, guiding existing client cases as needed until they can be moved to another attorney.

Surprisingly, I am actually quite happy for the partners. From a business and financial standpoint, they made an excellent deal that sets them up for either early retirement or with an opportunity to pursue other types of work that may interest them. Reading through the outline of the agreement, they put protections in place for the staff with regard to severance pay and offers of continued employment. Who will end up staying or going I cannot predict, but at least the parachute the partners negotiated will soften our landings.

While I should be more upset about this turn of events, I am really not. I will miss my crew; I have made some great friends and helped create a very special work environment. In truth, of all my professional accomplishments within this firm, I am most proud of the team we have built and the work ethic we have instilled and built up around one another as individuals as well as the firm as a whole. To see it absorbed and become just another tiny cog in a big giant machine with bazillions of cogs is difficult to swallow. But that’s business.

Most people in my situation would understandably be freaking out, but I guess I am not most people. I still have a thriving little self-employment business and with more time and a little energy I can return to a level of billing that comfortably pays the bills and provides freedom to continue pursuing our interests. I recently cut ties with a couple of clients, and I still have zero regrets about it, despite this new news. With a steady paycheck and maybe a job to report to for the balance of the year, I have room to plan and create a strategy for moving forward on my own again.

Maybe the freak out happens next month, when this all becomes a lot more real. Or perhaps I will just become enthralled and excited about more time to pursue my better health objectives and develop a hobby. Or something like it. Heck, maybe I’ll even blog more frequently than I have been this year.

Whatever happens next, I have the luxury (and trust me, I recognize how fortunate we are in this) of looking at it as an adventure rather than a setback.

 

It’s been a week

This week, this WEEK. It’s been up, down, all around. I am not coping in the most stellar manner, and it leaks out in the weirdest ways.

I have touched upon it in the past, but I had a horror-filled childhood with significant trauma from sexual abuse. I rarely write about it and never in a lot of detail, because I simply cannot go there. If I let go of the safety net that keeps me on this safe side of my mind and memories, I have paralyzing fear of what will happen to me. I foresee a kind of madness for which there is no recovery.

So I do not really talk about it. Periodically, if I am disturbed and on edge and feel that creeping into my consciousness, I have to book some time with TM to talk me away from the edge of the cliff so I do not start staring into the dark abyss and contemplate jumping into it. I would be lost. Once upon a time, in the darkest times of our marriage, M unskillfully pushed me to try and talk about it. It was nearly the undoing of our marriage and pushed me to a point of hatred for him that I did not even consider myself of feeling. Recovery from that is part of what makes our marriage better and stronger. Neither of us ever forget how awful those months working through it.

It occurs to me fairly routinely that I’m fortunate to be here, still standing, and pretty well insulated and safe. From myself. From my past. From a history that should never have been written. I have no illusions about how unpriviledged my upbringing or how broken and incapable my family of origin, and I completely feel the limitations of my own emotional range. My life works as well as it does because I work at it. Every single day I have to make choices and do some level of work to strike the right balance between two extremes. Honestly, I do not see myself as unusual in this characterization of life and living, but I do feel handicapped in some areas other people take for granted.

My bias against those with entitlement or similar inclinations is pretty strong. The princess complex, as I think of the female of the species who are spoiled and want what they want and typically get it because of their physical beauty, is a huge blindspot for me, one I have to consciously battle to restrain assumptions based on facts not in evidence.

I may have a similar chip on my shoulder about those crying “poor me” about the state of their lives and blaming their upbringing for their lack of success or unwillingness to make the sacrifices and do the work to improve their circumstances. The cycle of poverty is a symptom of a malaise in our society and there are no easy answers or solutions to overcoming it. However, not excusing ourselves from taking more responsibility for our lives is a start and a step in the right direction.

Sometimes I wonder if it is simply my generation that leads me to such impatience with those who spend most of their time weeping and wailing rather than trying to make small changes that will improve their lives. This is where I know my feelings are not completely functional, because I know how crummy I felt inside for too much of my life and yet still managed to take care of myself and my family. I look at my upbringing, I look at how destroyed I was and wrecked I remain from the weight of those emotional scars and wonder why I am a productive member of society and others are sitting around wringing their hands in angst and distress and making excuses about how awful their lives. I want to react with sympathy, I want to be compassionate, yet much of the time inside I am screaming “shut the f**k up and get some professional help to grow up.”

I guess I wonder how far we should reach out with sympathy and compassion. Depression and anxiety are real afflictions for many people, and I do not want to be a jerk about accommodations for such conditions. But there has to be balance, a tipping point.

Except I feel too strung out with my own history to be a rational judge.

It comes up this week in particular, with a child committing suicide and wrestling with an emotional distress issue in an employee and trying to oversee our current recruiting campaign. Thus far this week I have met with three candidates with strong resumes and yet seem to be suffering from some sort of personality disorder in face-to-face meetings.

Like so many posts, I am simply trying to sort out my own thoughts. Mostly, I think I am frustrated with those who have expectations of obtaining something unearned. Natural talent is rare and most of has have to work hard to earn whatever it is we are seeking, and sometimes that involves swallowing our pride and sense of self and just doing what is necessary to remove or dismantle the obstacles in our way, whether it is bad things befalling us in childhood or the shit work in our jobs to get to the next raise or the general education to get a college degree or having a conversation with firm administrator – not an attorney peer – when seeing an attorney position in a law firm.

Days like today, weeks like this one, I am weary of being underestimated or my conscientious efforts to do better, be better minimized in the face of someone else’s ambitions.

I also recognize this … stuff … comes from no one I care much about and whose thoughts and opinions should not impact me. Unfortunately they are still people I have to deal with on some level or another and their clones are everywhere. It is just tiresome.

At the same time, I am grateful for the bland normality of my life and times. Living the dream? Oh my yes. From where I started, I never anticipated, nor did anyone else in my family of origin, ever imagine me achieving this or any other level of success in life.

I wonder if that chip, and the lingering resentment it instills when faced with similar attitudes and projections, can be surgically removed? Today I might seriously consider it.

Winding down, gearing up

Been a very long and crowded weekend. Friday and night we attended a client/friend’s birthday party. Where we thought for sure we would be home early – parties are typically not our thing – but a serendipitous turn of events and face-to-face introductions with people I have interacted with via email and phone and we were among the last to leave. It was a really great party, and there was amazing cake.

Saturday was spent on the cleaning decluttering frenzy prior to family dinner at the house. I managed to ruin 2 pans of brownies in a single afternoon, but the rest of the food turned out and tasted fine. So dinner was good. Apple pie was delicious as well as the brownies C and A brought over. Dual pans of ruined dessert quickly forgotten, until today when I was trying to clean the burned pans, which will soon be at the landfill.

Today brought more rain and an opportunity to inventory the pantry, clean out the refrigerators and freezers. Sadly we are/have been terrible food wasters, and hopefully the purge will remind allow us to keep better track of what we have lurking as far as leftovers. I also found package of crackers and other junky stuff lurking in the back and on the top shelves, which are now neatly emptied or where I have stashed the rarely used bowls and equipment. Until I can either bring myself to declutter and donate those.

A lot of big and little things coming up in November. Work alone is going to be a little nutty this week with lots going on in the office and a couple of unanticipated client projects as well. All good. Tomorrow is training Monday and I’m super excited about it.

In my drafts folder there are 6, maybe 7 posts started and still needing work to complete them. Like so many things in my life right now, they are in progress and being nudged along to completion. I need to nudge more, nudge harder, nudge faster. Or so I think, anyway. But when put like that, it’s more like push more, harder, faster.

But for right now, I’m have podcasts to listen to and an hour of reading to enjoy and wind down from a zoom-zoom-zoom weekend. Trainer J just turned me on to a podcast with Scott Abel, and I have a couple dozen to get listen to in order to catch up and be current. Yep, turning into some kind of exercise geekette.

And it is a Very Good Thing.

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere

Today started out as wonky, confusing weekend, but not at all bad or unpleasant – just me trying to catch up on unusual happenings the last few days.

So Thursday I mentioned having weird shoulder and neck pain and suspecting my office desk set-up being the culprit. By the time I was finishing that post from my treadmill desk at home, that pain had pretty much subsided on its own. However, following trainer J’s recommendation to take it easy, I did legs and very light upper body on Friday morning even though I felt fine. The leg routine I selected is perplexing – as I told J, it’s like bad tasting food I cannot ever bring myself to cut from my diet. “Kale for the legs” is what J laughingly referred to it, and the label is sticking.

Anyway, working from home yesterday felt no bad twinges anywhere. It was a relief. Exercise and better health quest is cresting and cruising along the awesome sauce road and I was going to be bitterly disappointed if I had done something to curtail and/or redirect that.

But since I rarely to never work from home on Fridays, it felt like Saturday to me. Then J was discussing our session on Monday, which my brain interpreted as a Sunday event, and I woke up this morning first thinking it was Monday and I was late, then remembering we had scheduled noon, me for the sheer novelty of being in the gym at an unusual time. So from there I realized that no, Monday is a holiday, and thought for sure it was Sunday. I got dressed for my pilates class at the yoga studio, when I finally figured out it’s Saturday from a brief period of panic that I blew off a regular Saturday appointment with a client. I start to text him an apology for standing him up without calling when phone points out it IS Saturday. Thankfully back on track.

If it’s only Saturday, why am I getting dressed to go to Sunday’s pilates class? F**k it, I think; not a soul in that entire gym will care if I am wearing my usual t-shirt or my yoga tank top. So I don’t change my clothes. However, I do put on socks and sneakers. I can only imagine the talking to (and rightly so) I would get for trying to go through my practice barefoot on the gym floor. I admit to seeing five fingers on feet anywhere and cringing inside.

And guess what? There was no ensuing scandal or people running from the gym screaming because of the blinding white of my skin that sees very little sunlight. The funny thing about Bikram yoga, it is the only place I have ever been to regularly where I have felt self-conscious for being too covered up. It seems to me those people would practice naked if they could get away with it, and it honestly does not seem to matter at all what size or shape of their bodies. I have to admire that kind of confidence and focus on doing their own practice.

Thus far, it has been a fantastic Saturday. Got my gym practice done. Chatted with my client (he is actually out of town for the holiday and we were not scheduled to meet face to face today) and received some surprising and amazing bonus news. I am digging deeper into my endless closet and pulling crap out and rapidly filled several bags for donation. Because the clothes are TOO BIG or no longer suit me. I am closing in on fitting into a couple of tailored skirts for next winter, so they got to stay awhile longer. Favorite things are still favorite things, and thankfully it’s way, Way, WAY too hot for wool blend skirts.

Then there is cooking. Grocery shopping is on the list this afternoon, because I don’t think we have anything left to prepare food with. Bananas and protein powder are not going to cut it.

And it’s hot. And my day is still wonderful despite the heat. Although if you ask M, when he eventually straggles in from a 20+ mile run/walk in the bright sunlight and heat, it’s miserable out there. Okay honey; you know there are these treadmill things at the gym, with air conditioning and everything, right? We are different that way, and I get it. Run on a treadmill? There would have to be nuclear fallout and deadly levels of radiation to make that happen, and even then I’m not really sure – hazmat suits could make than manageable, right? Another lady I see most Saturdays working with her trainer was heading outside to do cardio today and I felt so sorry for her. Outside, with the bugs, and the sun, and the warm temperatures. Ugh. Maybe swimming would be okay. But I might have to work harder on that whole blinding white skin thing. Unsuspecting bystanders, small children and such; it seems a safety hazard.

Glorious, liberating Saturday. Practice and work-work is now done, some decluttering accomplished and more yet to do. Get some groceries, cook some food for the upcoming week, and then I can get back to cleaning house to get it back into some semblance of order and diving back in to my disorganized chaos closets (because I have 1.75 closets and M has a very spare quarter to third).

Or not. The nice thing about weekends with no real commitments is being able to do whatever I want, even if that includes curling up on the couch with a book. Or floating in the pool with my iPad. Or taking a nap. Possibilities are truly endless, AFTER grocery shopping and restocking the fridge and pantry.

Happy weekending everyone!