Archive for June, 2011
I want to thank you for your help over the last few months as it has been a inspiring, life-changing experience. Connecting with you helped me realize just how bad things were at my then present job and how important it was for me to take control of my career and develop a meaningful short-term and long-term plan. You logically walked me through the transition including the negotiation of an exit package and then deeply listened to me to understand my core beliefs. From there you put me in front of a mirror and reminded me who I was, what drove me and why what I had been doing was consistently tripping me up. Looking back the solution seems so simple but its harder to see the alligators when your in the water, that is why your coaching was so helpful. Thank you for all of your guidance, sometimes gentle, sometimes with a two by four between the eyes. It worked. You are a “career whisperer” and I’m grateful that for the experience.
All the best,
Vicksburg. The Civil War.
In case you missed it, we are “celebrating” the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States, aka The Civil War, which was anything but “civil.” This was the culture war of culture wars. Those who live north of the Mason Dixon line will tell you the war was over slavery. Those who live south of that line will tell you it was about states’ rights. Historians’ views are more nuanced.
A couple of weeks ago, my spouse, Jim, and I took a few days off and decided to meander (he thinks any speeds under 75 are slow) south on the Natchez Trace. We stopped along the way at Meriwether Lewis’s murder site (a real cold case) and several Native American mounds. Our final destination? Vicksburg, the site of a long, grueling and determinative battle in this war.
Jim, who is writing a novel about female spies in this war, is an expert. Me, not so much. In fact, except for the local Civil War sites in the Franklin, TN, area, this was my first visit to a major battlefield. A century and a half later, the site is almost pastoral, with rolling, grassy knolls (if you can overlook the obvious cannon guns and bunker sites) with tall trees and beautiful memorial monuments. However, the Visitor’s Center film, and a gun (cannon) firing demonstration, set the context for our 16 mile drive tour of the site. Tens of thousands of men, on both sides, hunkered down for weeks. Air was acrid and ash laden — not breathable. People ate dogs, cats, and when necessary, rats. Vicksburg citizens vacated their lovely homes to “hole up” underground — literally.
Yes, we definitely do. I do, anyway. This morning, I duked it out with my partner of 20+ years, over where the fly spray was and why do we have bottles of something poisonous in our pantry that are unlabeled and at least two years old, and why does he want me to throw things away, but won’t let me get rid of his college (half-century old) clothes?
In the office I share, we duke it out (much more quietly) over which news channel should play in the lunch room. I tried to get the manager to rotate between Fox and CNN (the “liberal” station). I didn’t even try for MSNBC, but I wanted to! The stations are supposed to rotate every week, but mostly it’s on Fox, until a few of us can’t stand it anymore and complain.
At my client’s site, there’s a prominently posted sign “congratulating” ladies for flushing — and promising to tackle the men’s room next. Which makes me wonder — who wrote the sign? Who would care about flushing status of both genders’ toilets? I think I’ll call her (gotta be female, right?) the “potty” blogger!
Every office lunchroom I’ve ever been in has a sign saying “Please don’t leave your dishes in the sink!” It is prominently posted over a sink full of dirty dishes.
We love a good fight. We celebrate victories; we celebrate those who are brave enough to fight for us, now that we no longer have a draft; we play war games; we fight on Facebook™.
What we haven’t learned, is to channel our desire to tussle into something that will actually do some good.
What if, at home, we took those combative attitudes, worked with, instead of against, each other, to tackle our fitness programs? Our clutter? Our weeds?
What if, at work, instead of dueling over coffee cups, we worked on winning strategies to conquer our markets? Our processes? Our product quality?
What if, in our communities, instead of shout downs in our town hall meetings, we decided to compete with other communities to see who could be the best at educating our citizens, of all ages, races, and incomes?
What if, as countries, we decided to tackle the big things: corporate self-interests that don’t serve the greater good, runaway pollution, promoting tolerance and ending corruption?
Oh my goodness! I hear Jim calling me from the kitchen. He wants to know if he can throw away the extra blender top I’ve been saving! I can’t believe it. He’s going through the junk drawer! “Stop! I need those syringes for the horses!”
Never mind. I have battles on the home front to fight. I’ll tackle the big questions — later!