Another long one here, because there is no other way.
Bomb #1 was a doozie. That’s the stuff that lingers and keeps me from getting a good night sleep. As far as I am concerned, that would have been enough for one week, but as I wrote in yesterday’s post, that was just the beginning. The fates had more in store for me…
Thursday comes around and things are very tense at work because there was some drama about a particular project that I am, at present, only peripherally involved with. Oh, my gosh, another puzzle piece and giant backstory on that one that is not really relevant here, but probably also worth a whole other dedicated post. In short though, I was supposed to be leading that project, but my boss is doing it instead. On Wednesday the team had a presentation on it so Thursday was the day to regroup and discuss.
Sometime in the AM I get a text from Matt. Holy crap. It is really the first time he has initiated communication with me in months and months. It’s almost always me reaching out to him. It always was, frankly (or at least that’s how I felt about it) and that’s one thing that was an issue for me. Anyway, he texts something about the weather. So very random and unexpected.
I was super busy because of the work stuff and could not respond for over an hour, maybe two. My response was a little verbose but upbeat. Then he replied. Then I replied, again very upbeat and with emojis. That was that.
Later in the afternoon I just happened to be walking down the hallway toward my boss’s office for a team meeting and checked my email. I often check my personal email at work, no big deal. This time.. it was a big deal.
I had an email from Matt that he sent around the same time as our text conversation which said in very few words that he was sorry. But it was not just the fact that he said he was sorry. He did it by siting references to all the poems and short stories that I have posted to my Shyspark blog over the past 6 months. This means that he’s read my blog. It was a huge shocker.
Now, I’ve written that I am an open book for those who ask me and that is 100% true. I’m also honest about my feelings. My creative writing is just an extension of that. So tough times equate to some deep writing with negative or sad themes. Poetry, of course, is very abstract and up to interpretation, so people read into what they want to read into it but it’s hard to miss an overarching mood of a piece.
He read my work? He’s taken the time to click some buttons and read and think about it? I don’t think he’s done that in years. I never posted a lot when we were together, but when I did, I would often ask – did you read that and his response would be no. Not always, but mostly. And if he did read it, it was probably because it came up in his twitter feed. We never had much conversation around any of it and he never asked me what something meant. That also always bothered me about us.
If the roles were reversed, I sure as hell would read every word and want to talk about it. Knowing how important my words are to me, it was disappointing. He did, however, always encourage me to write and to write more. He thought I should start a blog about reviewing restaurants and their cheeseburgers. He provided suggestion to me about writing a certain amount each day and potentially writing in the morning when my mind is the most fresh and not at night when I am beat-down tired by the day. In hind site, these are good suggestions and it was his way of trying to help me be a better writer, so that is supportive. Still, poetry is my main gig, and if you don’t ask about it (or at least “like” it), then it’s hard to feel good about it the whole damn situation.
Bomb #3 and #4:
These were dropped at almost the same exact time as #3. I’m reading that email as I’m walking down the hallway into my boss’s office. It was her and I and three other people from my team plus one other team member on speakerphone from home. She proceeds to tell us that come April first she will no longer be our boss and that the entire team is being moved under a different person, the director of operations (she is the VP of operations). Boom.
She then went on to say that our current major internal project is no longer going to be managed by her, but by the president of the company instead. Boom Boom!
There was some explanation of justification but the truth of the matter is that she has too many direct reports and not enough time to manage them plus do all of her other job responsibilities which in the last 6 months has included more and more travel. I agree with that being the reason. There were some other things that were sited, other reasons why. I think they felt they needed to put more justification behind it which was not necessary, so I’m going to just stick with the primary and say it’s probably for the best.
It is still tough to know your whole team is being moved down the “hierarchy”. Tough for me because I think at one point they considered elevating me to more than just a team lead and making me a manager and probably decided I was not ready for that. They probably decided that at the same time they were deciding who should lead the current initiative and I said I could not do it.
I have a great team and they are wonderful, hard-working, dedicated people and the team dynamic right now is still positive despite some more recent challenges. They would be easy to manage on a more HR level, but I still have zero interest in being in “management” that so I’m not really upset about that aspect of the shift. Its more about how it will affect the team.
As for the President taking ownership from my boss of a project that I was originally supposed to manage but couldn’t.. it’s kind of the same thing. A little bit has gotten better with the addition of a new person on the team but I am still in no position time or resource wise to take on that extra effort.
It also requires more of a software development/architecture background which is an area where I am lacking. I’m the subject matter expert and the product owner. I know what needs to be done, but now the best way how. My schooling was all programming and computer science, but I’ve always been on the ops side of the fence. Ask me about Agile and Waterfall and Scrum and the pros and cons of Java and dot net and classes and objects. I’ll be the first to tell you, I don’t know enough.
Again, very similar to her first bit of news. She can’t handle it either. She does not have enough time. And she has less technical background than I do. The blow on this one is more about how it will affect the team and the project and the unknowns about how it will change things. Right now, all we can do is wait and see.
All three of those happened within the same small window of time and so as I stepped into her office, my attention was split between words she was saying and thinking about the email I just got from Matt. It was like the building was on fire and in an instant I had to choose between saving a family heirloom from one end of the house or a keepsake from my own past. I could not do both so the lines became blurred when I was asked directly how I felt about the changes. I could not help but tear up.
I never want people at work to see me like that and historically they never have. I may be an open book to the rest of the world, but at work i’ve got a wall up where I’m mostly business (outside of my sense of humor) and don’t let my personal life be seen or heard. In the last few months it has been unavoidable. That’s how you know when life is too much. You do things out of character. Perhaps it is OK to let these people in too or perhaps it will further damage my credibility as a leader. I just don’t know because I can’t predict the future.
Bomb #5 (yes there’s one more):
Completely spent by the day, my mind weary from all the analysis I continue on with my normally scheduled routine which includes exercise, dinner with the kids, some post dinner activities, and eventually bed time. It was around bed time that bomb number 5 came in. It was more like bomb number 2 had not completely exploded and was imbedded in the yard, just sitting there with another detonation waiting to happen. I get another email from Matt.
Now I admit, I tinkered with the bomb and had responded to his first email with a very short, empathetic reply. I tried to make it positive, and I am not sure how much of that got through to him, but his reply to that made me extremely sad.
He said he was sad. He expressed a feeling and sited the fact that our pictures are still up at his mom’s house. He also went on to say, briefly, that he hopes Zoey and Cooper don’t hate him. That knocked me over. It’s like he’s thinking about things and struggling, which just makes so much sense, but the window into what that looks like has been closed for me for 6 months. I’ve been grieving, but from all appearances, he was doing ok and based on hearing he had started dating someone, was OK and moving on.
When you love someone for five years and it ends and you are no longer communicating or there for each other, the loss of that is devastating. It was devastating to me. When that door closes you can’t help but miss what is on the other side of it. You can’t see and you have so many questions and are left standing, staring, with no idea what to do next. He has a tiny window into my world, through my blog, and he’s looked through it. And now, he’s opened the door a crack and let me see what he is feeling. It’s just too much for me to wrap my head around, still.
I’m really hoping that this weekend with time to myself and nice weather and working in the garden I will be able to process all of this. I hope to gain clarity on what I can and should do. What things I should let go and what things I should hold on to. I’ve got Saturday, which is today, essentially all to myself so perhaps by the end of the day today I will have made the first steps toward knowing what to do.
On that note, it really is time to get out of bed and start my day. There’s a lot of shrapnel laying about. It’s not going to clean itself up.
Until Next Time,