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  • Two people are leaving. Both are retiring next week. I’ll be away on a business trip all week, so for all intents and purposes, the last time I’ll see either one of them is tomorrow. It’s funny, a part of me wants to write about how glad I’ll be to see them go, as both provided me challenges. However, when I look at the picture just a little bit differently, I can see it a lot clearer, and realize, a part of me will have to thank them for the gifts they’ve given me.

    One provided me with challenges that I feel like I probably could have lived without. He saw my limitations, where most others have seen my assets. He didn’t value the same things I value. The EAP counselor I went to recently thought he represented my father, the unresolved things I carry deep within my psyche from the way my father saw me growing up, that, even though my relationship with Dad got better, even healed late in his life, there’s still some scars deep within, that someone like P. can cut into, given the right circumstances. He certainly managed to tap into them.

    When she first said it, my immediate inner denial was a little too strong for me not to notice that she might be onto something, there. “Thou doth protest too much”. I’ve learned that about me and denial. As soon as I recognize it, I own it. I quickly had to acknowledge that I thought she nailed it on that one. I’d forgotten all about that session and insight, when I went to meet with him, yesterday, to get my mid-term evaluation, and his final evaluation of me. I’ve only worked directly for him for 5 months – thank God!
  • I could see that, nothing I’ve done in this time seemed to make a difference to him. He still saw me as under-achieving during this time, and lacking in areas of leadership that I, quite honestly, felt were somewhat unfair judgements. The evaluation didn’t really matter all that much, officially, since the department has said it will not be official, and will only serve as a mid-term assessment. In other words, it won’t count towards anything - not that I care, one way or the other. I’ve long since seen these evaluations as kind of a joke, anyway. They usually bear very little resemblance to reality.

    What matters most is my own evaluation of myself, and honestly, I would have to give myself the same grade P. gave me for this period, but for much different reasons.

    In the end, none of it matters. He’s leaving, I’m moving into something different as soon as he’s gone, and I’ll be starting over from scratch, anyway. The slate will be wiped clean, and I’ll be back where I should have been in the first place. That is, I should have been there until she came into the picture. I’ll get to that in a minute.

    First, I just want to say, if nothing else but for the insight I got with that EAP Counselor, which his harsh judgement of me early on drove me to seek said guidance in the first place, it was worth the price of admission. Other than everything I’ve mentioned here, we actually got along pretty well. But then, I tend to get along with people. That’s just one of those things I’m pretty damned good at.
  • He acknowledged my plusses, it’s just that acknowledgment was always followed with a “but”. “You’re great with people, but…” “You’ve done a good job dealing with issues in your program area, but…” Just like my Dad used to do to me, as a kid. Whatever I was, it was never good enough for him. It never would have been. I could have beaten my head against that wall until the cows came home, there was still always going to be a “but”, following any acknoweldgement of my achievement.

    The big boss said it all, when he met me to tell me what he had in mind for me, next. It’s a big change and a great opportunity. He simply said, “I’m doing this because I trust you.” There were no “buts” about it. Qualities like trust and love do not get followed by buts. They exceed all buts.

    Now that P.’s leaving, I’ll have a little more direct access to him, and if the person they bring in behind him is who I think it will be, it’s someone who thinks very highly of me, and who has been a champion of mine. I couldn’t be happier with these developments.

    The other one who is retiring next week, is one who had an even greater impact on me, for several years. Her departure is what I was referring to in my story the other day (as Hawkeye Pete Egan B.), “A Beam of Sunshine”. She came in four years ago, and brought a darkness that almost enveloped me, actually did for a little while, until I learned to find the light within. The fact that what she brought to the table made me look for, and find that, light within, should be enough for me to thank her as she leaves. This was a gift, that only someone like her could have helped me to receive. It took her special brand of darkness to drive me to find that light within. So, as she leaves, I do thank her for that, and bless her on her way.
  • I also thank the good universe that I no longer have to deal with her. She was a pathological liar who believed her own lies, and who lived in a world of her own creation, that bore very little resemblance to the world the rest of us live and work in. She came close to destroying a once-thriving organization, and her parting gift is, I get to go in behind her to clean it all up. And it is, truly, a gift to do so. I’m excited by the opportunity.

    Another chanceto perform an organizational turn-around. This is my specialty. I’ve done it twice before, at the large division level, quite successfully both times. This one is much larger, and will have a broader impact. It’s actually a perfect set-up for someone like me. It has lots of risk involved, a real sink-or-swim situation, one that I could either fail miserably at, or I could be wildly successful at. I love it. It’s my kind of challenge.

    It may be frought with land mines she will have left behind, in her attempts to make it all fail as she departs, so it will look like, without her holding it all together, it couldn’t go on. How egotistic! Who is willing to do something like that, to make themselves look great? But, as she leaves, I will thank her in my heart, for making me a better person – and for leaving me this opportunity.

    I never would have learned what I learned, had it not been for her darkness, and his limited sight of who I am and what I bring. That said – let the Goddamned Sunshine in, already!
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