Tuesday 29 January 2013

The seven year b.....let's not use that sort of word, eh?

A little grumble, if you will indulge me darlings.

Having been awake for hours as is normal for me, though the reason was mostly that my hip hurts - it results from the London trip, it'll be better in a few days, though it's odd that it doesn't hurt to do things but it does to relax, I decided finally to get up at around 6.30.  Inevitably, that firm resolution sent me to sleep, so it was just as well that I was mostly ready.  Ready for a 10.30 meeting? - oh no, I'm not daft, I was aiming for 10 o'clock to allow for earlycomers...who arrived at 9.45.  But I was nearly ready and it mostly meant that I forgot to soak the rice, which didn't really matter.

The meeting was fine, I had most sensibly taken the computer and printer through to the dining room (the joy of a Mac, a desktop computer is so portable) and so could type the minutes even more conveniently than on the iPad, and look up any information from past meetings as well.  And I whizzed out a couple of times to do things in the kitchen and there was only a 15 minute break between the end of the meeting and the serving of lunch, and the food was well received.  Although one man, the early arrival, and a third party to whom they gave a lift, had been driven by his wife who, though invited in, sat in her car and ate the food she'd brought with her.  I was a bit bemused, but apparently she is wary of finding surprises in food.  That's quite understandable, if only I'd known I'd have catered to her preferences, but I think there must be more to it than that because she wouldn't even come in for the pears and the cheese, so maybe she has an issue with eating in front of people too, or with more than a couple of people at a time.  But I did feel lacking in the hostess department, she was a nice woman and I didn't like to think of her sitting alone in the car, and I thought I'd considered nearly everything in the unwarned food preference line.

But things took a more dismal turn when I sat down with my plate of food, to discover the woman who's to take over me as Secretary after the meeting in March, in deep conversation with the Chairman. Who was to take over.  In short, she's backed out.  She's daunted and feels out of her depth.  No, I dunno either.  If I can do it, someone who's done this sort of thing for a living could - but she had made her mind up.

Not that I tried to change it, I accept that sort of thing and work around it.  It's rare for me to back out once I've agreed to something, I'm really quite resolute, whatever the pressure.  But if the other party changes their mind, I don't expect to talk them round so don't try.

But I have to say, I feel very sorry for myself this evening.  I enjoy the job, it's not that, but I'll have done my three years, I've found it quite a lot of work and, worse, the work comes at the times of the year when I'm most busy with other things.  I'd underestimated that when I agreed.  I don't blame her, she's under no obligation and it's very sensible to call a halt before the start rather than once it really causes problems - but I'm struggling not to feel let down, though I have no right to feel that.

What it is, darlings, and excuse me getting a bit personal here for a minute, I have always wanted to be reliable, to be the one you can come to for help or lean on when things are tough.  And yet I am ready to show my vulnerable side, to describe what I've found hard and say that sometimes I don't know how to cope either, but I try to put a brave face on it, because I'm not a capable know-it-all at all and I'd hate to be thought that and I'd be upset if I thought anyone would find me intimidating - and if you've met me, you'll know that I'm resourceful but inept and really - I hope - quite gentle.  I don't know, maybe this is complete wishful thinking.  I try to be kind, but not everyone finds me so.  And I'm afraid that I am not that bothered if someone doesn't like me.  I'm a lot more 'take it or leave it' than I used to be.

Anyway.  Enough of introspection.  It's no big deal really, it's just that a box that had been ticked has been unticked;  I'm sure we'll find someone else, but I'm feeling a bit of a need to be looked after tonight in a way that isn't going to happen (though the Sage has just gone to put the kettle on, which has to be a Good Thing).

It's just tiredness, however.  Better tomorrow.  And at least I had a use for my seven year post title.  


Zig said...

oh, Z what a fag. you are so kind and dependable. Sometimes that makes it easier for people to feel that you don't mind holding the fort, again, without thinking harder about how this might not be exactly what you had planned. It's especially hard (for me anyway) to feel sympathy for people who don't act as I would, don't you think that we expect the same commitment from others as we would give? It's a surprise sometimes when this doesn't happen. I hope you find someone else soon.
Waffle waffle waffle, sorry lovie it was the G&T I had earlier! x

Unknown said...
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Zain said...

Forgetting to soak the rice?! Maybe you thought you got away with it but, in actual fact, perhaps karma was exacting a hidden revenge to restore cosmic balance.

On a less facetious note, I commend your introspection that I think is warding off the cognitive dissonance that could have easily occurred in it's stead. You recognise that you have a high self-imposed standard and part of your "brand" is to be ultimately reliable. However, the guilt and anxiety arises from the fear of that reputation being diminished - something that has perhaps taken a lot of effort and conscious will to maintain knowing the end is in sight. It also perhaps stems from the feeling of loss of choice in the matter.

I sense the self-deprication in playing down your abilities as a sort of self-bargaining to forgive yourself for wanting to move on. However, I think, in truth, you shouldn't have to shoulder any guilt for feeling the way you do. It's perfectly acceptable to say - you did your time, you gave it your best shot and it's time to move on.

The difficulty here is, despite this being the ultimate responsibility of the Chairman, you will no doubt take on some of the burden through your diligence and sense of duty and, until a replacement comes about, will feel obliged to maintain the same standard even if it's quite inconvenient. I don't think there's anything wrong with being transparent - if you agree to extend (which I suspect you will), it really is no reflection on you to openly manage expectations and say this is on best endeavours. Anything you then do on top of that will be gratefully received by people who will realise the situation and I'm sure not judge you should there be a discernible difference. Most importantly, it will also help change the way you feel about yourself so that any limited contribution will be not met with a sense of failure or guilt, which will then sour your lasting memories of ever helping in the first place. If that's not possible, then don't agree to extend, bow out and end on your well-earned sense of satisfaction. That much, at least, is in your control and you do have a choice.

allotmentqueen said...

Oh hun, that's a pain. I hope you've got a glass or two of wine in your hand by now.

I know exactly how you feel - a sense of obligation not to let the side down. It takes a hell of a lot to ignore that. But, hard though it is, don't let yourself be the doormat. Tell them that, as they're stuck, you'll carry on for 3 months/6 months/whatever you feel is right, but that is a positive deadline and then you will be stopping and they really must come up with an alternative. And that you'd like to spend these few remaining months guiding whoever is to take over from you.

And then you must walk away. You don't really want your headstone to say "she could never say no" (even in a polite sense).

Have you got any Christmas chocolate left - or has Elle eaten it all?!

mig said...

I think you have every right to feel let down. And I can't imagine you being intimidating or anything other than gentle - perhaps firm occasionally?
Otherwise, exactly what Allotment Queen said.

Hugs xxx

Tim said...

What AQ said. And you're better than them, innit?

Blue Witch said...

I disagree wtih AQ, strongly.

Don't tell them you'll carry on (not even for a day after your stint ends). You've done your bit. It's not your problem if the replacement has changed her mind.

You need to start saying no more. Much more. For the Sage's sake as well as yours. Neither of you is getting any younger.

Adopt the mantra in my sidebar, "Wisdom begins with questioning. Sanity begins with "No.""

Yes, much of your identity is tied up with being competent Z who gets everything done and can be relied on, and maybe you need to look at the need that is being fulfilled by you keeping volunteering for things, and address it in other ways.

Sorry if this sounds hard, but there's no point in dressing it up pretty prettily, because I think this is the message you need to hear.

Roses said...

Frankly, I think you are more than entitled to throw yourself on the floor and have a massive tantrum.

I do understand why you want to do a great job and not let anyone down, your sense of duty and commitment is to be applauded.

However, you have other obligations and you've done everything you said you would do to the best of your abilities.

It's not your job to make everything right all of the time.

That's my tuppence worth.

Here, let me pour you some wine. Honey, you deserve it!

janerowena said...

Wot AQ said. Plus wine. A deadline that you will stick to. So that everyone has to actively seek a replacement. Perhaps it could be advertised?

Beryl Ament said...

Go back and read your own post. "I enjoy the job" will translate into "I used to enjoy the job" once a sense of obligation kicks in. You ended commenting on your tiredness—why bring that on yourself? You began the post by writing about your pain. There's the solution, you tell the board or whatever that you must retire for medical reasons. Vaguely true and they have no business asking questions.

Z said...

Thanks everyone, very much. You're all quite wonderful - and frankness is always welcome, BW. I think I'd better come back to this later.

Personally, I think Zain is right. None of it would have happened if only I'd remembered to soak the rice. Inept, you see?

Dandelion said...

I think BW has a point. It's surely the Chairman who should feel let down, not you. It seems to me that it isn't really your problem - though of course, that's easier said than done.

Z said...

If she doesn't want to take the job on, she's done the right thing in saying so, and I should think that BW would commend her for that. The thing is, there's a job to do and someone has to do it. We'll sort it out, one way or another.

Focussing on the solution rather than the problem is best, though a good whinge first can help.

Zain said...

...and, apparently, according to collective wisdom, lots of alcohol. I feel left out because I didn't recommend any.


luckyzmom said...

Have a big fat green worm (or beat up the sofa with a pillow)and then tell the chairman that you are sorry that he is stuck with finding someone else and wish that you could help but could not possibly.

Soaking the rice has nothing to do with it.