Thursday, November 14, 2013

Yardstick

This artist card hangs at my desk at work, courtesy of the talented and generous Nicole.

I got an unexpected phone call yesterday that led me to a meeting today in an office I'd never before entered. Today I found myself on a new project at work, an exciting one, a daunting one, one with limitless potential but difficult odds. It's a fabulous opportunity for me and takes me in different directions from my everyday assignments. I will be challenged. I will be very challenged. (That doesn't scare me, you know.)

This is how whirlwind my days are: I finished that meeting, feeling all kickass, explaining to two of our agency's topmost officials how I have to skedaddle so I can pick up the girls to turnaround to come right back to our work building to get the boy, who couldn't have been gotten first because he was still napping, to drive directly past the girls' school to swim lessons. You guessed it: the lovely husband wasn't in town today. And skedaddle I did, turning on a dime from sought-after employee to child chauffeur and Mama, he poked me/Mommy, her elbow is on my side! negotiator. Ahh, the glories.

[juice box straws and oral recitation of spelling homework and that pointer is not for poking and no, you can't play on my phone and conjuring distant memories of back roads to avoid a standstill on 270 and quick stop at CVS for posterboard, green, not pink and hold it, because this is not the CVS that lets desperate little girls use their bathroom [jerks] and stop talking and eat because you need energy for swimming and need time for your food to settle and please don't keep crackers in your jacket pocket and what happened in class? and what happened in class?? and what happened in your class? and I didn't know that and please don't interrupt and I don't know but I can look it up later and I asked you please not to interrupt and give me the pointer and yes, you can have it back at home and goggles that won't let water in and goggles that won't make raccoon eyes and x-back bathing suits and braids should be before goggles, take those goggles off and I know you're cold, that's why you have this towel and I know you're hungry, that's why we need to get you dry so we can all get home and eat dinner and more spelling homework? and no, there are no cooked noodles and yes, I know you're starving and no, it's not later yet, I can't look it up until we're out of the car and everybody's settled]

[[but nobody's ever really, truly settled, are they?]]

I've always been quietly good at the day-to-day skills of my job, but since the advent of my mothering I've become confident at the project management skills I now have, too. I can quickly assess a situation and analyze it agilely; I can see the bigger picture and remain dispassionate about the smaller emotional claims; I can wield the differences between 'fair' and 'equal'; I can speak persuasively and stay on message and work toward the greater good. Some people hone those skills in executive MBA programs. I sharpen my skills every single day as I go back and forth along the Beltway.




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