I am not in a great company. My boss was fired, there are a lot of personal agendas combined with some clownish characters in power, and I learned this week that my new compensation plan essentially caps me at less than what I am accustomed to earning. But I have a decent title in a large brand name, and frankly I am tired of the job changes as my industry addresses various pressures through restructuring and consolidation.
But I have an offer in front of me with what I believe is a better quality but much smaller company with staying power (it has weathered two recessions). I would be an IC, which is good and bad. It is a step down as far as company brand names goes, but on the other hand I’ve learned over the years that I thrive in small companies that need an ifusion of revenue – there are less politics and personal agendas to distract me from what I am very very good at – Sales in general and Business Development in particular.
What to do? I am leaning towards the small company. It is my calling, and I’ve always been an outlier. I just have to get comfortable with the idea.
Our COO told me last week that I need to work harder. So I decided to take a day off. And it felt wonderful… Why? Because I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for the past six months, trying to turn around a troubled team/office. We’ve doubled expectations, but *company* numbers are down (largely because of poor corporate strategy two years ago that hit us last year) which means all Directors like me are under a ton of pressure to squeeze more miracles out of our teams.
But after countless 12 hour days, our COO told me last week that my team needs to show more urgency. I’m certain he’s had the same talk with every Director, but this had the opposite effect on me — I can’t work harder, and my team can’t perform any better, so if that is not enough — if he is just going to increase the pressure — than it is up to me to ease off the gas. After all, he’ll take everything I give and then demand more. If I get burned out and can’t perform (or look for work if he cuts me), who loses? Me.
I took yesterday off for R&R. And it was ***awesome***. I feel soooo much better. I may take some more days off.
And to think I wouldn’t have done it if the COO hadn’t told me that my 12 hour days weren’t enough.
My sister was implanted with donated (fertilized) eggs today, which means hopefully she could have a baby by Christmas! I am super excited and have been checking in with her, but my wife M thinks I should play it down, since there is a realistic chance the eggs won’t take, leading to disappointment/pressure for her if we are too excited. But my fear is this: when we *aren’t* excited for her, when we aren’t cheering her on and rooting for her, she might feel alone…
When I was battling lung disease most people were afraid to ask me how I was doing. They might ask my wife privately, but they never asked me. Which made me feel so alone while fighting a potentially fatal and emotionally devestating disease (devestating, because it took away so much of my identity, such as extremely high energy and terrific health). I don’t want to make that mistake with other people – I’d rather make the mistake of asking too much, or showing too much interest and having her tell me to back off, then to not ask at all and have her feeling privately isolated.
Along the same lines, she has been feeling emotional and alone through this two year process, which has included hormones, fertilization tests, etc. etc. She said at breakfast a few weeks ago that it is hard not to feel alone. Believe me, I get it – I never felt so alone as those months I was recovering from my disease. It took me a few months of therapy to recover from that – I suggested she get therapy, but I don’t think she will. Which is too bad – therapy took me from feeling utterly alone and devestated to feeling very grateful for being alive, something I don’t think I could have done on my own.
So I will moderate my approach, but will continue to check in. And to keep my fingers crossed that in nine months I’ll have my first nephew/niece.
In the 90s, there were fairly well paid data entry clerks who entered data. They were paid pretty well because no one wants to do data entry. Now, they are all gone, and each of us is mired in our data entry hell so some Exec somewhere can stare at an Ad Hoc report. The result is so much of our day is spent entering data into various web forms. Ugh.
Even as we entered the exhibit from afar, the paintings popped off the wall. And that is just the color and the dignity. Up close, the detail was awesome. I love that he took women off the street of Brooklyn and put them classic aristocratic poses.
Chris Rock interviewing black people about the Oscar-nominated films inspired our family to watch Superfly, the 1970s blaxploitation film Loved it! Great performances, gritty plot twists and — I never thought I’d say this about 70s fashion — cool clothing.
My son R made the comment that he (R) would never be in the protagonist’s dilemma because he’d never sell drugs, and that is awesome, but I pointed out that if you grow up in that environment and have no other hope, an entrepreneur will see drug dealing as way to provide for himself. Besides, is a drug dealer that much worse than a sociopathic CEO who emotionally and financially destroys the lives of working stiffs for his/her own gain? Our government should be — but is not — protecting us from both, not just the drug dealer. Our friend works 40+ hour weeks for 8/hr while her CEO paid himself a 20M bonus – is that truly any worse than a drug dealer? I personally don’t think so…
Our SVPs send out *long* emails filled with caps and motivational quotations reminding us that we can be successful and that we should be successful. But then anytime they have a chance to talk to any of us 1 on 1, they are short and distant.
It is not inspiring. And it reminds me of the famous picture of Eisenhower talking with (not at) paratroopers the night before D-Day.
Leadership is not about speeches or fist pumping, it is about getting people to believe in you, to want to follow you. To me, this starts 1 interaction at a time. I developed this philosophy when I was teaching, when I realized I was more influential working with a student or group during class then the lecture at the start of class.
I am struggling with the Corporate US propaganda in the wake of new diplomacy with Cuba. My wife has studied Cuba intensely and visited the far reaches of Cuba for the past year, and the people there are not oppressed. They live on 30 dollars a day because they have free healthcare and education and have enough food and don’t feel the need for new cars and big screen TVs; they are big into community and not into every-person-do-everything-possible-to-be-richer-than-thy-neighbor mentality. Castro was not like Stalin – he shared, not took. He rescued the people there from a US-endorsed terror-regime in the 1950s. Our family’s biggest fear is that Cuba will be destroyed by Corporate America. I live the US, but dislike modern Corporate America and hope Cuba is spared from that.
Easter, 1978. A freakishly nice Spring day. My parents treated the entire family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins — to a Seattle Supersonics Game at the Seattle Center Arena. It was my first NBA game, and generated my first true interest in the Seattle Supersonics, who made the NBA Finals that year. For the next 20 years (until Howard Schultz destroyed them), I would truly love the Seattle Supersonics and the NBA.
But more than the game, I loved that day with my family. I remember everyone dressed up for church, the post church brunch at our house, and playing basketball with my older cousins before heading to the game (my cousin G swears that is why I developed such a good outside shot, since it was the only way for me to compete against my much older and much bigger and highly competitive cousins). And I remember cheering with my cousins when they announced Gus Williams had scored 32 points.
It was nice to be young. When the warts of my extended family – the depression, anxiety, underlying resentment — were not yet visible to me. As I type this, I am grateful once again for my dad, whose unyielding energy and optimism (and success at work) helped me to avoid the demons and co-dependency that would inflict my cousins.
Every time I read about Donald Trump’s America First policies, where his plan is to insulate America in the midst of a potentially dangerous global economy, I can’t help but think of The Lord of the Flies. The man clearly has led a sheltered and ignorant life.
(Oh my god, America, please elect *anyone* but him!!! The world will be an incredibly scary place led by a man who has lived his entire life in a Trump Tower surrounded by Miss USA contestants).