I got back home to a scene like this. It’s still winter in New England, and I can’t believe how quickly I forgot that. Walking from the airport terminal to my car at 12:30 a.m., this morning, I got a “welcome back” with a 16-degree official temperature, made more intense by a howling wind. The landing was a little dicey. There’s nothing quite like looking out the window of the plane and seeing the wings flexing wildly in the wind. Exciting. 😐
But we landed, I actually found my car (parked in a spot that was about as far from the terminal entrance as I could find). At least I remembered that piece of things. I also took pictures of where I parked, which was a good thing. I’m not much good for anything in those wee hours, after a 4-hour flight, following three intense days of all-day workshops with people who are looking at me like a male lion looks at cubs sired by his chief rival (e.g., like they want to shake me hard enough to break my neck, then move in on my territory to make it their own).
I was off my schedule for four days — including the day I was preparing to travel. Sleep/wake schedule… disrupted. Morning routine… nowhere to be found. Diet… blown out the window. Exercise routine… altered somewhat. Daily schedule… completely different. Surroundings… newish and mostly unfamiliar.
I’d been thinking that I can just keep doing this until I get used to it, and it becomes familiar to me. That’s what my boss is thinking, but I’m less convinced that I actually need to do that. And I remain completely unconvinced that I actually want to.
No, wait – on Monday evening after my successful afternoon, I was pretty sure I wanted to stick with it, figure out how to make it work. But by the end of the visit, it became clear that people had just been “sizing me up” to estimate my skill level, and find out if they might possibly replace me. I guess by Wednesday afternoon, they decided they could. Yeah… now that I think of it, they totally think they can. My counterpart in the other company is very ill with chronic health problems. But there are other folks who are running the show behind the scenes. The program that I run is pretty important, so it’s high-stakes, and a lot of people are hungry to “get on the radar” with upper management and use my program as a way to make a name for themselves. They’re practically slobbering over it.
So, I say, let them have it. The people who think they can do my job are NOT nearly as smart as they think they are. That’s always the problem, isn’t it? Un-smart people fantasizing about being able to do things that are WAY out of their proverbial league — over-extending themselves without ever realizing it, and forcing everyone else to cover for them and fix their mistakes.
There are going to be a lot of mistakes make, in the coming year, yet all the cautions I (and my colleagues) raise at meetings fall on deaf ears. Because the people we’re talking to are not experienced or quick or smart enough to realize what we’re talking about.
The Big Question is, Do I let them take me down with them?
The Big Answer is: No.
I’ve got too much experience in a variety of industries, learning something new and interesting each time, to have these yahoos one-up me. Of course, they’re all at HQ, halfway across the country, so I’m at a disadvantage. But that’s only if I play their game.
I have a variety of options available — including finding a new job. But I also have the option of just keeping on doing my thing and possibly just letting things take their course, so I’m “pushed out” — get a severance package, get some extra time to myself, and figure out next steps. That might take too long, though. It looks there’s another year or so of “seeing where things fall”, and I’m not sure I want to hang around that long.
So, I’m looking around for other jobs… taking my time. I’m not in a huge hurry, because things are developing pretty slowly in my world. And I have a bunch of things I want to get done this year. But I am looking. Carefully. Deliberately. Because I do know that, no matter how much I may want to make this work, the future is limited for me, with this company, in terms of opportunity and compensation.
Why should I be limited? Why indeed?
There’s more for me out there — even a few books to come, yet.
But my hands are no longer coordinating properly with my brain. I feel like my whole body is disjointed and barely connected. It’s strange. Like I’m inside a fog bank. Time to eat a lunch of MY kind of foods. Enough of the mega helpings of all-American foods.
That shit’ll kill you.