Tonight I went to one of those dreaded "work things". This is where a group of my peers from work get together for social interaction, in this case, dinner out. As much as I dread such things, this one was okay. I feel closer to this particular group of peers than I have in the past, and aside from my very out-going boss, I feel like I actually have a lot in common with most of them.
Several months ago, during one of our quarterly (and sometimes more often) meetings, we participated in a very hard exercise where we shared what makes each of us tick, which included sharing with each other some very personal information about ourselves. This was difficult for me, since I knew I would end up talking about the death of my wife, and I knew it would make me emotional. I was able to hold off until the end, but only after all the others went through the emotional wringer. When it was my turn, I tried to present things as calmly and steadily as I could, but I knew, when I began to talk about her death, my voice grew shaky and unsteady, and I tried to choke back the tears. Given what everyone shared previous to my turn, though, we were already primed for it, and the tears were flowing before I could even get the words out. Everyone felt that way. I hated it. And I was angry that we had to participate in this stupid exercise. And I felt awful just as I do every time I have to tell that story. It hurts.
On the positive side, the exercise did do what it had intended, which was to bring us closer to each other. There are nine of us in this "inner circle" of managers, and I do trust them, for the most part. At one time, I think there was less trust, mostly because of the competition that existed from trying to gain resources and promote our groups ahead of each other's. No one thought "corporately." That's changed. We do look at the organization from a corporate view, and it has made us stronger, and we work together pretty well. Our employees, too, see the entire organization for what it is, instead of just focusing on what their groups do. This makes for a healthy organization.
So today was kind of a big deal. We are split up in two different locations geographically, Oklahoma City and in Silver Spring, so most of the time, when we have meetings, it's by video. But at these "Two-Days", we are all together in one room, face-to-face, and it really becomes a more valuable time for us. There's just something different about being together. After a couple of fairly successful meetings, we were asked to make some time for dinner with each other, and most of us participated. One, who lives locally, told us he needed to get home to his sick dog, who was sick due to eating a bird. It sounded like an excuse, but these things aren't mandatory, so there wasn't anything we could do. And we had a good time.
Tomorrow we continue with our meetings, which will actually stretch over three days. I'm making sacrifices for it, since my daughter is staying with my parents tonight, and will again tomorrow. She's pretty understanding, and with Thanksgiving coming up next week, we'll have plenty of time for each other then.
In the meantime, I'm exhausted. I've been stretched a bit thin over the past few months, and these kinds of days really wear me down. I hope tomorrow goes well. I'm looking forward to seeing my little girl, too.
Good night, everyone.