[Disclaimer: there is a lot to unpack here; for the sake of brevity, I’m omitting a few things…things that might make this make more sense, frankly. If my attention span allows, I may clarify in an epilogue of sorts. Or not.]
Part A: I Think I Have Issues
Because of an evening meeting I had to attend, I did not get off of work on Friday until 9pm. I had arranged with The Husband to meet at one of my favorite restaurants for a late dinner. Over dinner, I lamented about my lack of work/life balance, how—at this point—it truly is self-imposed, and that I need to do better. I went on to confess that, ashamedly, I project my work habits on others and I form opinions of colleagues based on MY (some could say unrealistic) expectations.
After relaying a few examples that illustrated my warped perspective, I proceeded to try to convince The Husband of my latest theory: that I reallywould do a better job at creating balance if we were together during the week. My logic was (is) that since I don’t have “standard” obligations like others (i.e children), I choose to simply work until I’m tired and then go home. I tried to convince him that if we were together Mon-Fri, my behavior would absolutely be different. FYI: he wasn’t buying the bridge that I was selling. At the end of the day he opined that I don’t have boundaries and that, until I erect said boundaries I will continue to let work occupy such a large space in my life (get a load of this guy).
Part B: The Definition of Irony
During our entire dinner conversation, I was glued to my blackberry. I was waiting for an “important” phone call from a senior property leader that I had to take that evening. Earlier in the day, my direction was to connect w/said leader on a particular matter prior to Saturday. At this point it was around 10pm; The Husband and I had just finished dinner and were enjoying our drinks when I received the oh-so-anticipated phone call. In the middle of our conversation—around my lack of boundaries—I jumped up from the table, said “I have to take this call”, and hurried out of the restaurant.
Part C: The Straw
During this phone call, I relayed some information to the leader on the other line. Much to my surprise, they were very displeased w/said information. Their voice started to escalate and the tone of the conversation took a turn that I was not expecting. I calmly tried to de-escalate the conversation but had no success. At some point, it became veryapparent that this call was not going well and that the individual on the other end of the line was not happy w/the recommendation that I had relayed. There were a few choice words used, again, much to my surprise.
And then it dawned on me.
It was 10:00pm on a Friday night; I was trying to enjoy a nice dinner w/my husband whom I only see twice a week. I don’t need this.
So, I said as much. Minus the “I don’t need this” (though, it may have been implied).
After the person’s last ummm…passionate utterance, I finally said:
“You know what, I hear you. And…it’s a Friday night…I’m having dinner with my husband who I only see two nights a week. I’m going to go back to dinner now. I will regroup with Susan and Barbara* and we can reconvene on Monday. Talk to you later.”
That was the end of the call.
I walked back inside the restaurant, threw my phone on the table, and put my head on my hands. I said to The Husband “I think I may have just gotten myself fired.”
Okay, okay–that was a tad dramatical. The good news is that sentiment lasted for about 30 seconds. Then, I sipped my glass of wine and…exhaled.
You see, it took that exchange for me to (finally) realize what was most important. I had walked away from dinner with my husband—whom I had not seen in five days—and an important conversation to take a work phone call that ended w/no resolution (I STILL haven’t solved world peace) and resulted in someone giving me the business, to boot.
i·ro·ny [ahy-ruh-nee, ahy-er-]
1. the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning: the irony of her reply, “How nice!” when I said I had to work all weekend.
a. a technique of indicating, as through character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated.