Recent Posts

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Keep Your Chin Up

I've worked as an assistant in a variety of settings for over 10 years. From the mean streets of new york city, to the misogynistic psychopathic accountants to my current non-descript location, I've done a lot.    I like to think that my collective experience has made me pretty good at my job.  Recently, I've been feeling fairly spread thin as I am supporting my team (who I love and adore) that is currently, and has been, without a deputy director for going on 5 months, which adds its own level of complications. It's like all decisions are made by committee which adds several layers of diplomacy and multi-perspective decision making, which is not efficient, trust me. Additionally, I've taken on the Director of our TB team which is like starting the job all over again with new players, new acronyms, new strategies, new science, new priorities to learn, and team members around the world increasing complications.  Oh and it's strategy review season with TWO new presidents on board.  It's a lot. So much so that I can feel things slipping and the hyper-self-critical and overly-sensitive overachieving perfectionist (classic Virgo...gets you every time) in me tends to rear its ugly head more easily. 
All of that is to say:

Today I received an email from an assistant in a partner organization that absolutely shook me to the core.  It was rude, unprofessional and completely uncalled for. It was regarding how I was doing my job of which this woman has no insight or perspective on.  Another woman cc'ed on the email called me within 60 seconds of receipt in complete horror and shock and apologizing for how I was being treated by this third person.  She was ready at my defense which soothed the sting a little and placated the anxiety attack creeping up.  

Upon receiving the email, I read the email several times just to make sure I was reading it correctly and that my reaction wasn't misinformed. I was completely beside myself that my first reaction was to respond back with scathing and absolutely venomous force. This I know how to do and don't find it to be one of my better qualities. And I wanted to respond so badly. Badder than bad (but with better grammar than that). However, better judgement, and a lunch date I was already VERY late for, stopped me. 

While at lunched I decided wasn't going to respond.  Ever. I was going to chalk it up to her having a bad day.  I was going to let it go that I was just a casualty of her circumstances and perspective.  So this is me, on the high-road....the longest hardest highroad walk I've taken in quite sometime. Real hard.  

Tomorrow we head into all day meetings with the government of Canada and Canadian health ministries to discuss strategy and pipeline for HIV vaccine efforts in collaboration with Canada and their potential capacity and capabilities.  Meanwhile we'll also be hosting our second largest TB grantee for 2 days and still trying to do my day job getting my team to 3 different places around the world.  I'm so tired after the first of 3 14 hr work days this week (I suspect). And right now, my biggest worry is my head hitting the table in mid-nod off and leaving an unsightly bruise across the forehead.

In the meantime, I shall keep repeating:

PS. This is also to say that if we have encounters where I seem a little less pleasant/stable/friendly/hilarious as usual, just note it is likely because I'm being held together by a very fine thread of grace and fear of totally falling apart at any moment.  You've been warned.


Post a Comment