Monday, January 07, 2008

Not so good.

"I'm so sorry." I said to Boss after he shook his head in response to my question of how his mother-in-law was doing. He shrugged in response before answering.

"It's just one of those things you must handle as you age." He finally offered and I nodded.

"It's hard not to hope it comes later rather than sooner though." I said softly and told him I'd continue to pray. He nodded his thanks and I swallowed my scowl when I realized he'd yet to read my revised paper. There are more important things, I reminded myself sternly, than submitting the manuscript today. So I smiled and returned to my desk, had another Godiva truffle that Marlie brought in for Ken and me and sulked for just a moment.

"Good morning, Katie." Marlie sang as she walked in the door. I took a sip of water from my mug and smiled at her before asking about her weekend. We talked for a moment and I turned back to my computer, frowning when I realized my email hadn't yet downloaded.

"Morning." Ken said as he came in a moment later. "How are you?"

"I don't have internet." I looked up, panicked. "How can I not have internet?! Do you have internet?" I asked Ken, returning my gaze to the screen while I frantically pushed buttons and checked connections.

"I couldn't connect earlier." He mused, sounding very calm.

"What," I said, looking at him with wide eyes, "are we going to do?!"

"I'll go tell someone." He said, looking amused before he rose and walked from the room. I put a hand to my stomach that was clenched and decided I might have a problem. By the time Ken returned, I could connect and sighed when I realized I could cross nothing off my list. Instead, the same list of names remain with the same list questions in the second column. SPB hasn't replied to my request for extra experimental time. Director didn't reply to my email about the faculty job. VIMD didn't answer when I asked when we should analyze the final pieces of data. I'm just waiting for people to tell me what to do next.

I am not the only one.

Marlie asked me to come over and look at an email. The polar bears aren't sure what she wants to do or how she wants to do it. Nor am I. So it worked out that today I could walk across the office to translate or offer advice.

"You should ask Boss." I said of one point. "I'm not sure what the goals are for the project so you two could talk about that if you don't have a feeling for the answer."

"He doesn't understand me." She noted. "I'll send him email."

I blinked at her for a moment, but realized she was right. Boss doesn't hear very well. Marlie has a strong accent and mumbles. But it seemed bad to me that they're unable to communicate.

"You will come to the meeting tomorrow?" She asked me and I nodded. But I'm not involved with this project. I know nothing and want none of the responsibilities. Katie doesn't deal with mice. If I wouldn't do it for my own career, I'm not going to do it for hers. But she says she doesn't always understand what is said and I feel badly and want to help and how did this become my problem again so quickly?

But I can go and listen. I can push to arrange for training and resources for her again. Marlie and Boss both want me there even though I'm pretty irrelevant. So, fine. I don't like being ignored - waiting on other people so that I can move forward. I don't want to hinder her at all.

"I have training in the morning." She told me before she left this afternoon. I glanced up from the paper I was revising for Penguin and smiled.

"Wonderful." I said when she continued to look at me expectantly. "Do you know where to go?"

She nodded and I told her I'd likely see her in the morning before she left for the other building.

"You will come?" She asked and I swiveled to face her again.

"I can walk you over. Sure." I replied, confused. "I think I know where to go."

"You will stay?" She asked and I frowned.

"For training? No." When she looked crestfallen, I bit back my automatic reply that I guess I could stay. "I don't need to know that stuff, Marlie." I said instead. "But you'll be fine."

She nodded and forced a smile, leaving me feeling both awful and resentful that I felt awful. And this is why I don't want to teach. I'm so 'all or nothing' that when I try to help, I either do everything for someone or don't do nearly enough. Who knows where the line is between assisting and carrying? Do you have time to show it to me?

Or is it just one of those things I'm to learn to handle as I age?

1 comment:

Joy said...

You are fine in your contributions to Marlie! It's not your job to be a major part of her project and you don't have to take on that responsibility.

I think the line between assisting and carrying has to do with your comfort level. When you get a funny feeling or have a twinge of something is not right, step back and evaluate the situation (what you are doing now).

You will grow in this skill as you continue your career. It is good that you know you don't want to teach. As you get to know yourself (who you are in your job/ career), you'll understand what your roles are and how you contribute to your company's team(s).

Does that help/ make sense? You're doing great IMHO. :)

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