Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tiptoe

 "Aw," I cooed when I got to work on Monday.  I'd been off-campus on Friday so my birthday tulips had opened prettily and my balloons still floated happily above my desk.  "That's so sweet of you," I grinned at my colleagues when I went to give hugs.

The moral of my story - or one of them, perhaps - is that life works out.  It dips and twists and sometimes crashes and burns.  But it always manages to level out - bounce back - and leaves me stroking the petal of a tulip with the tip of my finger while considering its simple beauty.

"I'm glad you're on that team," my former partner said when I saw him on Monday, a departure from his initial dire warnings of killing my career.

"Me, too!" I cried, linking my arm with his and grinning when he squeezed me affectionately.  "I'm so happy."

"I don't care much about that," he teased and I sighed at him.  "But I do think we need someone smart and talented in that role.  It's good for the teams."

"Thanks," I offered.  "I'm glad you got our job," I continued sincerely.  "I wanted it - desperately, really - but it wasn't the right path for me.  And I think it may be the right path for you."

He shrugged and we both went quiet, thinking of the meeting we'd just left.

There was a project I'd championed for years - I think - no, I believe - that it's truly groundbreaking.  Elegant.  Meaningful.  A real weapon in the battle against disease.

And we're killing it.

"It's brilliant," I emphasized, leaning across the table in a tiny conference room and maintaining eye contact with the lead designer.  My heart broke when I noted the tears in his eyes but I continued to tell him what amazing work he'd done.

I looked at my former partner - the decision-maker in this hideous game - and his mouth twisted with momentary regret but he straightened in his chair and continued with discussions about resources and priorities and some activities that were high risk/high reward that we just couldn't support in the current climate.

I nodded because he's right.  We've reduced our force, asking talented employees to pack their belongings and leave.  Those are terrible decisions - ones that make my stomach ache - and I've tried to connect those people with links in my network and sag with regret when they must uproot their families to find work elsewhere.

I have not the strength to crush dreams.  I just don't.  I know it's best for business in some cases.  I understand the rationale and hurt for those men (for they're typically men in my world) who must decide and deliver those messages.  But it's not something I can do right now, even with the knowledge that the world eventually rights itself and balances.

Instead, I return to my support role - organize items and communicate strategy rather than participating in its formation.

And I smile at my tulips, silly as that sounds.

1 comment:

Amanda@Lady Scientist said...

I'm glad that work is working out for you and you're enjoying your new role. I know that you were a bit apprehensive about it!

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