Breathe Deeply

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. – Andre Gide

This quote is on our cheesy work calendar. This quote is speaking to me more than I’d like it to.

The thing is, I’m 32 and I’ve got nothing to show for it. I have a husband who is willing to follow me anywhere and I choose to go nowhere. I choose to stay in a job that is sucking my life away because I haven’t been fired yet. Because I am sort of good at it. Because it is safe. When did I become safe?

I have always moved where I wanted because I wanted to. I have vacationed where I wanted because I wanted to. I somehow figured out how to survive in all of these places and keep moving on and moving up. And then I bought a house because I wanted to. And then I got stuck. I stopped moving.

I used to live out of my van. I could pack everything I owned into the back and drive to Ohio for the summer. Then pack it all up again and drive to Florida, or Virginia, or wherever. But now I refuse to look further than my front door. And why? Because I might need FMLA one day. Because I can afford to pay my bills now. Because I somehow lost the ability to start over. Because the thought of relying on someone else to give me hand-me-downs is acceptable at 20, but needing assistance at 32 is lazy and irresponsible. But what do I have to be responsible for?

I want a house that I am proud of. I want a garden that doesn’t require containers smashed together on a block of cement smaller than my bed. I want to take a risk and maybe fall hugely on my face and cry or maybe not. I want to consent to lose site of the crappy, fishy, sharp edged shore without expectation that I will find will be any better. I want change. And I want it big. And I want it now.

And so we talked. Like we do. And we agreed on a plan. Like we do. And I have no idea if we will follow through.  But I can’t possibly care. I have a plan. And this tiny sliver of silver in an increasingly dark cloud is all I have to get me through.

More Cancer

What can I say when the words have all been stolen
You took my breath away with the secrets you’ve been holdin
Now the world is grey and the cart’s been set in motion
But the wheels have fallen off

One of my favorite directors just told us that he has a brain tumor. And while they think it is benign, he has still convinced himself that he is going to die. And having already lost the mental battle does not bode well for his future.

From a strictly work related stand-point, he annoys the heck out of me. But his annoyance is a direct result of his kind heart and belief in everyone. I get stacks of resumes from this man; for his positions, for other positions, for anything we may have available. Resumes from his jeweler, from the son of his childhood friend, from his college roommate’s sister, from the guy mulching his front yard. But he has spoken to each of these people. He has not only sold the company to them, but has bragged on me as one of the best HR folks he’s ever worked with. By the time I talk to them, they are so gracious for a chance to speak to what they call the infamous HR Recruiter.

And he is genuinely nice. And not the fake kind of how was your day? great lets talk about me. He has tried to come to my shows (but they have all been sold out by the time he calls). He remembers my wedding anniversary (at least generally) and calls me Sadie Sadie the married lady. His motto should be, if you can say something nice, talk as much as you like because boy can he talk, and boy does he have good things to say about everyone.

And he has a mouse face. With a little push-broom mustache. He reminds me of the mice from that old Christmas cartoon, what was it, Frosty? No! ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas!

He is a joy to be around even when he is exhausting. And I hope he can change his mind and get through whatever treatment they prescribe for him. Because the world needs more people like him.

Which is Worse?

A colleague is going through a terrible experience, so let’s talk about me…

It shouldn’t be a surprise that I do not get along with my fellow recruiter. This is more of a general disagreement than an actual war. We are polite to one another, but outside of work, we have almost nothing in common. I don’t agree with his principles or his general lazy attitude. He often makes poor hiring decisions which is evidenced by his high turnover rate. However, he has developed a relationship with the managers he hires for and they seem to still be generally satisfied with the level of service and that wasn’t a division I particularly enjoyed recruiting for anyway. I have learned, over the last 2 years, to accept that he has a different standard of performance than I do and that what he does at work is no longer a reflection on me, and what he does outside of work has nothing to do with me. I have made it to a satisfactory middle.

Part of my general dissatisfaction with my workplace is the tendency of others to badmouth whichever employee happens to be absent. Whether they are just checking the mail or out for a week, if someone is not there to defend themselves, my lovely co-workers take that opportunity to talk about anything and everything they don’t like. Their horrible style choices, lazy behavior, poor work habits etc. My recruiting partner is a frequent target of these personal attacks. He’s morbidly obese and his attitude toward his health is nothing compared to the lack of effort he puts into his work. Clandestine conversations about his poor performance and poor health habits are frequent in the office. He often tells people what they want to hear and then fails to follow through, simply because he forgets. He is quick to blame others for problems he creates. He falls asleep at his desk.

He was just diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer that has generated one enormous mass in his stomach lining and is only treatable through a 15 hour surgery and follow-up chemo treatments.

So, which is worse? That I can offer my condolences and then focus on what needs to be done in his absence? That I feel  horrible for him that he has this medical problem, but perhaps if he had taken care of himself remotely he may have caught it before it took over his body? That I am not out rightly targeting him or sending negative energy in his direction but this news impacts me about as much as hearing that Candidate A will be named Chairman of the School Board? That I have consistent behavior? Or that everyone else has completely flipped the switch? That they are all rainbows and unicorns and “We’ll text you everyday!” and you are so missed.

I know I am probably wrong. That I should have more compassion and should be sadder that someone I work closely with is going through this difficult situation. That I should provide him with more support. That I should be a better cheerleader. But I just don’t have it in me to be that fake. Particularly with someone who is such an expert at it himself.