Exit Stage Left

Marsha:  John?

John: Yes Marsha?

Marsha: I know that our relationship is ending because you have decided to move on, but I was wondering if I could ask you something…one last small, teency-weency thing?

John: What is it Marsha?

Marsha: John, I know it didn’t work out between us, but I was hoping that you would take a few minutes to tell me why it didn’t work?  Can you tell me what I did or didn’t do that might have contributed to the demise of our love?

John: …

Marsha: And while we are chatting, could you also think back about what I did well, what did I offer you that might appeal to my future partners, and what I need to improve on.

John: …

Marsha: I’m very serious John.  You can tell me.  Was it money? Was it too much attention? Not enough attention?  Did I not tell you I love you enough?  Was my cooking unsatisfactory?  Were the living conditions less than desirable?

John: …um…

Marsha: John, I don’t want you to hold back.  This feedback will be incredibly important for my development – how else will I be able to learn and grow if you don’t share with me.  I know that we are over, but I’m thinking about how I might be more successful in retaining my next partner.

John: …well…

Marsha: I mean think back to when you first met me – what was it that attracted you to me?  Was it my looks, my brains, my reputation?  And when did it change for you…it was after our first anniversary wasn’t it…you told me not to make a big deal about it, but I knew that you were just saying that and that deep down you really want me to go over the top.  I still cannot believe that I embarrassed you, but I had to announce our love publicly.

John: …oh, but…

Marsha: So John…will you do this for me?

John: So let me get this straight – you are asking me now…now that we are finished…what you could have done to keep me? You are asking me to help you be a better partner for the next guy that comes around?  You want me to share all my frustrations and memories now that I am walking out the door?

Marsha: Why yes…

John: And you will listen to what I will say? And you will actually do something about it?

Marsha: Exactly!

John: Yeah, I don’t think so – that’s kind of messed up.

It is isn’t it?

Food for thought

I know that the last time I popped in, I implied that I was coming back.  I wasn’t trying to be a tease.  I honestly thought that I was ready to come back, but I wasn’t.  I frequently thought about blog posts – I composed them, developed them in my ahead and then filed them away.  I just wasn’t ready to commit to writing them down.

Initially I thought I was just getting lazy or even bored, but the reality is that I was dealing with some house-cleaning items that required me to focus on other things.  I know I’m far from the only person to experience this – from what I’ve seen, it’s pretty common.  In fact, it’s the people who never take a break, those that are constantly producing and constantly on that I wonder about.  It seems so exhausting.

So, I will put it out there that this blog post is not going to be very HR-ish.  If you are someone come across my blog because of searching HR, or if you have been here before and are looking for HR insight, you may want to take a pass on this.

This blog has always been for me – I make no apologies for that.  As such, I am taking the liberty to work though one of the many reasons I have been on hiatus (doesn’t that make it seem legit?).

Would you believe that it has to do with food?  Seriously.

It would be so much easier to say that I developed some disease, disorder or allergy that left my in such a state that I was not able to function normally; however, the truth is that I started following a new path and I kind of got lost. And confused.

I have posted a few things about wanting to clean up my eating (which is a good thing) and try to improve my health and energy level.  These are all good goals to have – I don’t think there is anyone out there that would disagree with me on this.  I made a few changes on my own and then started looking for meal ideas and inspiration and came across the Whole 30, Paleo, and grain-free eating.  I Googled and Pinterested my way through some great recipes and started using ingredients that I hadn’t before.  I decided to take the challenge and cut out all grains, exploring the paleo options, and see where this took me.

It went well, I didn’t feel like it was that big a deal…I was pretty much convinced that this was the real deal and was okay with constantly having a modified version of whatever everyone else was having, be it at home or elsewhere.  I was good with my choices.  This went on and well for quite a while – I became more aware of what I was eating, more devoted to my way of eating, and constantly looking for another recipe.

And then almost a year and half later I hit a wall.  I realized that I no longer enjoyed food because it had almost become clinical to me.

One day I was running late and needed a bite to eat. I didn’t have time to make anything and took a quick look in my cupboards.  I froze.  Despite the fact that my kitchen was filled with food, I couldn’t convince myself that there was anything I could eat.  Looking at half a baguette from my family’s previous evening’s meal I was mentally unable to make myself cut a piece to eat.

This was bread made with five ingredients, all of which I could pronounce and identify, and I was treating it like it was a jar of Cheez Whiz.

As a reminder, I do not have any food allergies, I have not been identified as having gluten sensitivity, and have not nor do I have issues with my health or weight.  And yet, I could not bring myself to eat things that I had allowed myself to believe were not food.

The worst was this was creeping into so many parts of my life.  Other things that I previously enjoyed did not appeal to me.  It’s like I was associating anything that I liked doing before with being bad for me.  This left me even more confused about what I wanted and even more, what I needed.

What I do have to admit is that I developed a really messed up relationship with something that I formerly enjoyed.  And I did this at a time when I was deciding to leave my job.  I then decided to join a new organization, a situation, which at its best is stressful.  I did this at a time when I threw myself into a completely new culture, with new people, new expectations, and new challenges.  I did this at a time when I was sure I made the right choice in leaving, but was unsure about where I had decided to go.  Throw in a couple of teenagers and a partner dealing with his own work-related and health issues.

I think I was looking for a way to have control over some part of my life when the rest of it seemed somewhat chaotic and unpredictable.  I became consumed with my consumption and absolutely unsure of whether I was making good choices.

Over the past three months I have had to let go of many things and people and embrace new and sometimes uncomfortable realities.  It was only when I decided to trust myself, things started to smooth out.  I have not gone 180 because that would negate all the things that I have learned both about myself and food,  but I have started to relax and enjoy things again.

The final step in all of this actually wanted to sit down and write, not because I was supposed to, not because I read that I should, but because I genuinely wanted to talk again.  I realized that I needed to start with all of this, which is probably another reason why I’ve put this off.

Again, I am sorry if you were in search of recruiting or employee engagement advice and rants.  Those will resurface, I assure you, but for today I just needed to chew on this.

Cheers!

Addendum: Okay, I couldn’t just end this without some sort of tie into HR.

What I have seen happen in HR and business in general, is someone becoming completely fixated on a new idea, new movement, or new philosophy to the point that they lose sight of why they were doing it in the first place.  It is easy to set off on a path where you are aiming to improve the employee experience or performance management, but then you can easily cross over into zealot-land…a place where you are unable to consider other options or even traditional approaches.

The end result of a situation like this is not unlike what happened to me.  Failure to progress, loss of creativity, and lack of enjoyment.  It’s a hard lesson to learn.  And take it from me, humble pie is allowed on all diet plans.