And I work on one, as well. It’s this working bit that is proving to be, by far, the most interesting and challenging experience here. Since I arrived on this island in the Indian Ocean, I’ve acquired a great tan; but I fear that I may have also picked up the ‘I haven’t a clue’ attitude about work.
It’s not that the job I am doing here is different than what I was doing back in the States. Granted, there are some very key differences, but these only add to the intrique of living and working here. It’s just that I have learned over time that I am, quite simply, unable to function in the same ways that I did back in the States while at work. This has become my reality and every so often I feel a knee-jerk, kick-up about the whole, gosh darn thing.
I used to think, ‘Ahh. Tropical island. Beach breezes. Fruity drinks. Easy living.’ Now, I blurt out loud to whomever will listen, ‘Why? Seriously?! Why?!’ It was while ranting before the Christmas holidays that I was forced to make a decision. The Frenchman, who I was forcing to keep up with my break-neck, rapid English, informed me during an after work blab-fest that, “Your job is sort of wrecking your life here.” And the cold water hit me in the face.
I could either let the stress of not fitting in here while continuing to try to find success at work keep me in a tizzy or I could adapt and let go of whatever ideas I had about trying to change the world one project team at a time. It seems silly, now, when I look back at my ‘yes I can’ attitude. No disrespect to the new man-in-charge, but I think sometimes there needs to be a sequence of steps leading into the full ‘can-can’ dance. Have I become world weary or world wise? And how am I to know the difference?
I was full of such hopeful energy when I first arrived and started working. Yessir! I had my project methodologies and my tips and tricks for writing meaningful business emails (draft in such a way as to read across the horizontal, don’t you know) and my project plans and plans for plans and org structures and other such items of structure and documentation that I, and countless others over the years, have used to achieve rocket-level moments of success.
But, after the first few months of the project starting here, it became painfully evident that I could have had a stick of dynamite strapped to the top of my head with a box of matches at the ready, and it still wouldn’t have been enough to render a slight glance – not even sideways. And so, now, the goals that I am declaring ‘yes WE can!’ to my teams are as follows:
- Try to attend meetings no more than 15 minutes late.
- Try to take at least one page of notes per meeting.
- If you don’t know, do not make something up as an answer.
- Asking questions is a plus.
- Your team mates are not your enemies.
There’s that bit about Rome and that other thing about running following a good long walk. And that Bill Murray movie about a guy named Bob.
I’m going to turn the volume down for a bit and sip on a fruity drink.