It’s Friday and I’m going mad

Things in my life that are currently driving me mad:

  • Maternal guilt
  • Explaining Performance Objectives, again
  • The inability to control everything, including my own brain
  • Useless meetings
  • My inability to come up with post material beyond a simple list of things
  • People that have phone conversations on the bus
  • Teenagers

Interestingly enough, I think that most of the item in the above list could also be titled “Things that I do that drive other people mad”.

 

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Losing control

My blog frequently meets at the intersection of Parenthood and HR.  Oh I know, I know…these ARE two very different things…I mean after all, most of our employers are potty-trained.

So when I make the comparison, it’s usually with respect to how I approach and/or handle situations.  This can mean that my kids get the HR-version of me or managers and employees can be on the receiving end of my “mom look” (hey, it’s effective).

What I have come to realize is that my greatest challenge in both situations is accepting what is out of my control.  Even harder is letting things play out when it’s ridiculously obvious to me how it’s going to end.  Potentially badly.

I’m not talking about watching a manager do something potentially illegal without speaking up anymore than I would watch my child run down the lane-way into traffic.  However, there are many, many times both at work and home when despite my counsel, a decision gets made that I don’t agree with.

For the record, I don’t say “I told you so”.  I mean, what’s the point?  It doesn’t change anything, I don’t feel better, and it just pisses people off.

What I have been known to say is “In the future, we can save a lot of time and effort if you just recognize that I know what I’m talking about.”  Strangely enough, that still pisses people off.  Huh?

If I’m being honest, what I’m really struggling with is my innate need to fix things.  I wrote about that before here.

And I AM learning.  I don’t step in as quickly, I listen more, I speak less…and it seems to be helping.

However, in some cases…my heart and my head refuse to stay on the same page.  In my head, I know that I’m doing the right things – letting go, supporting not leading, and biting my tongue.  But my heart…oh my heart, it’s having a hard time with this.  It’s crying out that I need to do more, that I can’t just sit there…I need to say something.

In no other situation is this more pronounced than with my daughter.  She is weeks away from graduating high school, and then months away from starting off in a new direction which will take her away from home.  I’m both excited and nervous for her…I completely support her decision, but also wonder whether she’s ready.   And in the middle of this are the normal things that 17-year old girls do that make absolutely no sense and are counter-productive to meeting the goals that have been set.  Stuff like making boyfriend priority #1 or deciding that it would be a better use of your time to re-organize your closet than study for your math test.

And so I listen, I provide counsel, and I smile and nod when I all I want to do is cry.

I refuse to step in and take over – after all, most life lessons need to be experienced to be appreciated.  But this is really hard to do…I’m literally losing sleep over this.  I have family and friends (both with and without kids of their own) that get this, but others that don’t…for some there is this perception that as a parent I should be holding her hand the entire time and never let her falter.  People that imply that she couldn’t possible make these decisions and that it’s for us, her parents, to step in.  And when we don’t…we appear uncaring.

If only I wore my heart on my sleeve – you would see otherwise.  You have no idea what my internal struggles are – please don’t assume.

And so in the realm of HR, there is a similar perception.  Where was HR when this was decided? Why didn’t HR step in?  HR should never have let that happened.  HR doesn’t care about people only the numbers.

There are generally many, many layers to a decision and HR’s involvement and input is only one of these.   In some cases, it’s a very thin one.

So, at the risk of being repetitive: if only we could wear our heart on our sleeve – you would see otherwise.  You have no idea what our internal struggles are – please don’t assume.

The value of outsourcing (RT #37)

I’m a bit of a DIY kind of person and like to try my hand at making things from scratch, so imagine my delight when I found a relatively easy recipe for making homemade almond milk – my latest obsession.  Seriously – soak almonds for 24 hours, blend with water and a few other additions, squeeze the crap out of it, and voila! Homemade almond milk.

At this point I should point out that while my husband supports my eating lifestyle he did have to ask whether it was worth the trouble?  He started to point out the cost of the almonds, not to mention the time and effort involved…and “pfff”, said I.  Did I mention it would be homemade? Can you put a price on that?

So fast forward to Sunday morning…oh about 10 minutes after I have blended my almonds, and a full 24 hours after having soaked them….I am standing in my kitchen with almond milk and pulp in my hair, all over my clothes, splattered all over the walls, spilling from the counter top into a wonderful pool on the floor.

You see, in my excitement to jump from the blending to the wringing out stage, I took the lid off the blender and then reached over to unplug it…accidentally pushing my elbow into the buttons which brought my blender back to life and basically repainted my kitchen (and myself) with the stuff.

I know.

NOW the cost of my homemade milk was well beyond the price of the almonds, the filtered water, and my efforts…I now had to add the cost of the rolls of paper towels to clean the mess, the cost of running the laundry to clean my clothing, the cost of the hot water for my second shower that day, the amount of time it took to clean almond mill/pulp off of my walls (hint: 2 days later and I’m still wiping), and the sheer aggravation of now only having a fraction of what I thought I would have of my wonderful elixir.

So ask me if homemade almond milk is worth it?

Of course it is, but I was reminded that if you don’t take the time to prepare and do it right it can go so very wrong.

There’s a temptation to assume that if something is being done by others, then it must be something that you can do too.  Well, of course you can, but will you do it right or will you make an absolute mess of it.

A wise person will learn when to put the blender away and go to the store.

 

 

 

Live and die by the calendar

It’s not really an exaggeration to say that Canadians are a little obsessed with the weather.  We are.  It’s just who we are.

This is particularly true in my part of Canada where we have four distinct seasons:

  • Impatient for Summer
  • Summer
  • Mourning the loss of Summer
  • Winter

The truth is our “true” summer is only really about 8 weeks long.  And that’s in a good year.

Weather doesn’t really follow a calendar….snow in May? Oh yes. Heat waves in March? We’ve had that too, so it boggles my mind that people who live here will actually dress and plan activities according to a date on the calendar and not what’s actually going on outside.

This morning on my morning commute it was 5C and windy and yet the amount of people wearing sandals, flip flops, or bare legs was incredible.  And why?  Because the calendar says it’s May 5th and it should be nice out.

Well, yes…but it’s still cold out.  It really is. You shouldn’t ignore the obvious (it’s cold) because of a date on a piece of paper.

It’s also that time of year for performance reviews, which means that because of a date on a calendar (along with pleas…I mean reminders, from HR) managers are dusting off performance evaluation forms and getting ready to meet with their employees.

Again, they are reacting to an established date on a calendar rather than an actual need.

Could it be that it would have been more appropriate to have met a month ago when things were heating up? Or maybe three months ago when they were cooling off?

Maybe, but according to the calendar it wasn’t time yet and so you waited and now that it’s “officially” time you are left standing there in 5C weather with your flip flops on wondering why it doesn’t feel right.

Oh, and for the record, you look pretty foolish too.