I am a very good writer.
At work, that is. And please, don’t start picking apart my blog. I write very differently here, and often don’t fully proof-read stuff.
I mentioned in a past post that my Work BFF had encouraged me to connect with my boss. Key word – connect. Not just touch base or email him, but connect with him. Like a human. Composing an email full of feeling isn’t exactly my forte.
When I’m writing an email at work, it is something I perfect. It’s not that I am dispassionate. My essays and papers in university were the same. I learned over the years that it’s necessary to eliminate all emotion wherever possible, and convey only the facts.
I do this for two reasons. One, because my job isn’t typically an emotional one to begin with. Everything is legal, business, policy. I’m conversing with clients, government bodies, professional agencies, and of course, my superiors.
Second, I am a young woman working in a man’s world. This post is not about to get into the politics and feminism (although, for the record, I am proudly feminist). But the reality is, I need to be a little on the aggressive side in order to get the respect I need (and deserve) in order to do my job.
In short, my emails are cold, clinical. Objective.
So, as you could imagine, when I needed to switch gears and write in a subjective voice, it was difficult for me.
Not physically difficult. I mean, I once I began to write with emotion, it just poured out. I actually had to go back and delete some of the superfluous parts so I didn’t come across as any more unstable than I actually am (ha). But the idea of using that tone with my boss? A man whom I want to take me seriously, view me as professional? Someone who’s in charge of my future and my financial wellbeing? My career fulfillment? That was difficult.
I had to be vulnerable.
It took me two days to hit send. I read and re-read that email so many times before I felt it was ready to go. This wasn’t something I could accomplish just by going through the motions. I had to make sure he interpreted it the way I wanted him to.
But I did hit send, and left it up to the universe. I had to let go of what his reaction might be, because it was out of my hands either way. I knew that if I let myself think about it, it would evoke nothing but panic and anxiety.
I napped after I hit send, because I also knew that I wasn’t exactly capable of shutting my thoughts off. I wish I could say that I took this as an opportunity to rework my thinking, shut off my Ego and look at the situation from a place of Trust. But I wasn’t up for it that morning. And that’s okay, because sometimes you just need to call a spade a spade and skip the inevitable.
I can’t say I was thrilled with his response, but I can’t say I was surprised either.
The email was not full of bad news, and he did not say I was being replaced. He accepted a return date I suggested (although I told him it was too early to make any promises).
But he used words and phrases like mitigate, accordingly, by design, undue stress, continuity, efficiency, growth and success.
In other words, he wrote the email the way I used to.
I have to admit that it cut deep, given how personal of a subject it was, and what I revealed to him. How out of my element I was. I was really hoping that if I changed, my vulnerability would be recognized and that he’d dance the same dance with me. I thought he’d meet me at the same level. But he didn’t.
So now I have to accept the fact that I tried, and it didn’t work. I could not draw a human out of my CEO – he is still just presenting as the boss.
I can’t blame him – he needs to be professional and be careful with me. The last thing he needs is to say the wrong thing and end up with some kind of employment lawsuit. I mean really… if I were him, would I be dealing with an unpredictable employee the same way?
I’ve had to deal with ex-employees and employees who have been contemplating quitting. I’ve dealt with coworkers who I considered friends, who were let go, and I had to flip a switch. I get it. I know where he’s coming from, and I feel it too. I feel empathy.
I guess I’ll just need to take that information and plan accordingly.