Well, I can finally report that I no longer want to put my rubber cowboy boot up the "exit only" of an agency director and her wingchick. But it took me almost 5 days to get there. I cannot even begin to express how grateful I am for your all's positive thoughts, prayers, and general rock-it-till-it-hurts comments. And y'all are right…God closes doors and open windows…but until He pops the lock on a Pella, it really kind of sucks. I won't go into the whole who/what/where/why/how the Hell could you's of the situation. I will simply say that:
- Neal is not a sugar-coating individual. If you want rainbows and fairies blown up your ass, you don't ask him for it. You get it from somebody else. But if you want the facts, served up with a side of vision and ambition, he's your guy. And Neal had, up until Thursday, only had 3 jobs his entire life. He just celebrated a 40's birthday. So, obviously this approach worked for the majority of his employers.
- The directors in this particular agency tend to last about as long as a mild case of poison ivy. Therefore, they spend very little time starting from scratch on personnel, projects, and goals. The last director skipped over the meet-n-greet and asked all of his general managers to complete a personality profile. Neal's was alarmingly spot-on and I wish I had read it before we got married (just to skip over the arguments about money, cleanliness, and deadlines…not because it would have kept me from marrying him). If the agency director and her cohort had bothered to spend 5 minutes reading it, they would have known exactly the kind of person Neal is and not expected him to prance into their office and spray a nice coat of gold over everything. But some people get lost in the forest and end up using the trail map for toilet paper. That's unfortunate, considering it could help you get to your ultimate destination.
- This will end very well for Neal and very badly for them. If you choose to "dismiss" the driving force behind a department for 16 years, especially one that is constantly changing (like, say, technology, for example), you could easily deflate morale to the point that your only choice left is to hire a whole new crew. And this is what leads to the vicious cycle that is state government. It tends to go a little something like this:
Why do I have to go to (insert state capitol) to do this? → Why can't I update this information on a website? → State government is SO inefficient. → An agency director comes in and immediately starts making drastic changes, including firing a very progressive and motivated general manager of technology. →The entire staff of the department begins to fear for their own jobs, thinking "if they fired HIM…." →Staff begins to look for new jobs. → Staff leaves department to take on new, more dependable jobs. →Agency director must begin filling all of those slots with fresh college graduates who are far less experienced than the staff that had been there for 20 years. →New staff starts at Square One which, usually, does not involve progressive and innovative projects. → Why do I have to go to (insert state capitol) to do this?
And round and round we go with tax payers complaining about their wasted dollars and strong employees like Neal sit at the house and update their resumes. La Cycle of Life.
And here's what I know:
- Neal quit being happy at the agency the day they quit respecting his ideas. When I met him, he nearly skipped into work every morning. He worked on his BlackBerry the entire time we were in St. Lucia and on our honeymoon….ignoring all of my passionate pleas and finally threats to launch his CrackBerry into the damned Caribbean. When he came home at noon on his birthday, I knew it was just a short journey to unemployment or complete madness.
- Neal is very marketable with skills that are in high demand right now. He will probably be employed before I can relax long enough to actually enjoy having him home all day.
- I am not giving up Daisy & Elm. For about 10 minutes when he got home on Thursday, I played the "well I guess I can go get a job at Hobby Lobby or Cracker Barrel" card…but the truth is, I love my business. I am 31 years old and I've had 36 jobs (I know this as fact because I had to go through a security clearance once and list them all. That was a very dark day). I love making beautiful and affordable jewelry. And I would have to say that I'm no worse at it than I was at anything else (including cleaning cars, answering phones, personal training, being a massage therapist, and waitressing at a truck stop). Plus…I work all of the time. I would work in the car or in a bar…near or far or for a Czar…And I owe this little piece of realization to Shana @ Fumbling Towards Normalcy. She just finished The Happiness Project and has been re-evaluating her own happiness. Her thoughts on the matter caused me to evaluate mine and I decided that I would rather sell our house, our cars, our big, expensive furniture, and a kidney before I give up Daisy & Elm. So…that's kind of saying a lot, considering I probably need both kidneys to offset the abuse of my liver. Good-bye tanning bed package, cable TV, wine club membership, Champagne Fridays and perhaps my BlackBerry…but hello doing what I love and loving what I'm doing (and not dreading Monday mornings, for a change). It's so easy, it's hardly a sacrifice.
- Neal now understands what my days are like…which does not include lying on the couch, watching One Life to Live and finding out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop. SCORE!
While I have not yet started clipping coupons (which is mainly because I forgot to pick up the Sunday paper yesterday), I have given up my clothing budget and pillaged my house looking for crap to sell. And in the process…I found my oil change coupons!!! So, that's like making $60. Maybe I can bring Champagne Friday back for just one encore?