Thursday, May 15, 2014
Mapping, part 1
"Where do you see yourself next?" he asked and I cocked my head at him.
We'd been discussing organizational changes. Growing pains. What was working and what wasn't. I find I'm fond of him - this new manager with a team parallel to my own. So when he asked if I had a moment after we completed a meeting early, I strode - in my nude kitten heels - toward his office. We sat around his desk and talked - I tried to answer his questions fairly but offered enough criticism to be helpful.
"For my next role?" I clarified and pressed my lips together when he nodded. "I don't know."
"You must know," he replied, smiling, for I am a thoughtful person to the point of being neurotic.
"Not really," I stated slowly. "I want to be a better person. That's what I know."
"What does that mean?" he asked, leaning toward me behind the closed door in his office.
"I don't know, exactly," I sighed. "I had a plan once. And then my parents got cancer and..."
"You told me," he offered when I trailed off and I nodded, not recalling that conversation. I tried to remember, wondering how often I repeat it. My parents diagnosed. My dad died. I miss him so much and remain so sad that it all happened.
Life doesn't always work out, I wanted to confide. You don't know what will happen and you plan and train and fight and win and then when the biggest battle is before you? You're as helpless as if you'd done nothing at all. All the knowledge and contacts and strings to pull? It matters not. God's will be done.
"The business won't tell you what you want," he finally said as he watched me struggle, sympathy lingering in his dark eyes. "You have to decide where you find purpose and joy and then drive toward that. You have talent, Katie. I see you being capable of so much. But you need direction and must find that for yourself."
"I don't know how," I admitted softly. "I mean, I've thought about it. I really have. I want to do good work - find something important and do really well at it. I want to work with people who are happy and fulfilled. I want to be good at what I'm doing now."
"You are," he stated quickly. "Let's move to what's next." At my raised eyebrow, he rose from his chair and began to draw on the board. The green marker moved, creating axes with little pluses and minuses and a wiggly line moving in the space they defined.
"Draw a journey map," he assigned. "Take the last 10 years - 20, 30, whatever - and remember what made you happy, hopeful, strong and what was sad, difficult, upsetting. Your parents - that's the low point. You're climbing back from there and that's hard. So think back to when you felt good and figure out how to get there again."
"OK," I said, staring at the green squiggle for a moment before deciding I would try. Go back through blog posts. Think. I would use Excel to assign numerical scores to my mood and what happened in my life.
"Two weeks," he said before rushing off to a meeting. "We review your map and define next steps."
I nodded before gathering my bag and glancing at the board one more time. I seem to have inadvertently found a mentor, I decided, somewhat bemused. Maybe things do happen when they're supposed to happen.
God's will be done.