My apologies for not writing more often over the course of the past few months. My mind was not in a good place. I was … angry for lack of a better word. Now I know what you’re thinking “But Don, you write your best posts when you’re angry.”
Not like this. I have different levels of anger and this was getting close to the top of the scale.
At the bottom end is the angry I get when I stub my toe or when I approach the parkade where I park and realize that I left my pass at home. Along with my wallet. Kind of an “annoyed” anger.
After that I have the anger where I realize that the city is funneling four lanes of traffic into a single lane and thinking that rush hour is the perfect time to dig up that one remaining lane. Or when you realize that they have rebuilt that overpass three times in the past five years and they still didn’t get it right. Frustrated at knowing that there is a better solution if someone would just get out and drive the route that you took. I particularly like the excuse “That’s the way it was designed”. So what? The design was wrong, fix it.
After that is a much more frustrated anger, where you know that there is a problem, a big problem, and that everyone around you can see it, except for those that can steer away from the problem. Kind of like this scene from Dr. Strangelove. (Yes, despite the title it is SFW.) This was where I have been for a number of weeks.
The last stage of anger? I’ve been there three times that I can remember. Twice in stores (my wife walks away at this point) and once at work. Yup, at work. I had to come in to the office on a Sunday because the deployment that we were working on was taking longer than expected. The deployment analyst had been working since Friday at 6:00 PM and had gone home for a single 6-hour nap in that time. This was now Sunday afternoon. The project manager refused to let him go home. They had implemented what needed to be done for Monday, but the project manager wanted more features working. I came in, told the deployment analyst to go home and then tore a strip off of the project manager.
So that third stage? That’s not a good stage for me either. I tend to be more blunt than normal. (Yes, I can be more blunt, just ask the people I work with.) I also have a tendency of being a little more forceful. I know this and I work really hard at backing off but it’s a fine line I walk. I can do some of my best work while precariously balanced on that line as the adrenaline pumps through the system and all the neurons are firing.
It’s also tiring. Very, very tiring.
As I was saying, I hadn’t been writing these posts recently because I was in that third stage and while you may have been entertained by the posts (I know in my mind that I was entertained by the posts that I could have written) they have been a little too blunt. Too “in your face”.
But last week I had an epiphany. I was at the kitchen table working away on catching up on work email (my daughter was playing World of Warcraft on my machine downstairs) when I realized that no matter what I said, no matter what I did, people just weren’t going to listen. I had written thousands of very passionate words on a topic only to have them fall lifeless to the ground.
I was numb. I had poured my heart and soul into trying to create meaningful change, something that anyone could be proud of, something that would stand the test of time. But nothing. I wasn’t devastated, but I realized that for the events I was concerned about, I had no control. No input of mine was going to change the course of events.
So I basically said “**** it” and slept much better that night and every night since.
There are some things out of your control, things that you cannot influence even if someone says you can. This was one of those situations. This is why that scene from Dr. Strangelove, someone riding a nuclear bomb as it falls to the Earth, resonated with me so well. I can see the end. I can see that it doesn’t end well. I might as well not bother trying to stop worrying and love it.
I haven’t gone that far, I don’t love the change coming my way. I don’t think I ever will as it is counterproductive to everything that I have been reading for the past two years (stay tuned for the next post for more details) about inclusion, caring for people, respect for the individual, excellence, and all those other trite words that actually mean so much when you don’t have them.
So I’ve backed off from level three anger and I’m slowly working my way down the scale. It will take me time to level out, but in the meantime I will be able to share with you all the good stuff that I’ve been reading.
Thanks for listening and stay tuned for more.