Hard Questions

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“So, should I box up my desk now?” This was the first question she had for me.  I was doing a one on one meeting with one of the younger and newer members of my group and her biggest concern is, obviously, the future.  While nothing definitive has been communicated to me, being the newest member of a group is not the most comfortable place to be during a time of layoffs.

Her only “crime” is that she’s not done enough to gain visibility.  And when your fate is being decided by higher ups, it is much easier for them to justify removing someone they don’t know.  After all, if they don’t her, then it becomes easier to downgrade her skills or assume someone else can simply do the job better.  After all, if she was a “star”, then they’d know who she is.

It brings up one of the ways the corporate world can be stacked against introverts.  Yes, it is important to do your job but it can be more important to self-promote and network which are generally not high on the list of favored skills for introverts.  In an ideal world, there should be no stigma attached to people who really aren’t interested in career advancement and who have other priorities.   A team of talkers still needs people who actually do things.

Its a minefield because I don’t know anything and, as a manager, I’m not supposed to be negative.  But I’m not good at giving out false hope.  I can read the writing on the wall as well as she can and I can also make the connection that she’s likely on top of the list of those who will be considered expendable.  All I can do is tell her (and others) that it isn’t a reflection on her and that the work she’s done has been valuable and important.  It probably won’t ease the sting if the bad news comes but it is really all I have to offer.

There is a lot of gallows humor and stoicism and people who are assuming the worst so they can deal with it when it happens.  But, nobody really wants their lives upended so there is still a great deal of fear and uncertainty and hurt.  And there is nothing I can do to really make it better.  Anything that can be done is just a distraction.  For example, we were talking about Halloween which is due to come up right around the time the decisions are made.  As it so happens, a well known furniture store with a blue and yellow theme is opening a branch in our city in a month.  We all got to joking about how we should dress like new employees of that store for Halloween.

Well, I don’t want to go too far down that dark hole of doom and gloom.  There was dancing yesterday which started off great but didn’t finish so great.

I do sometimes get an idea of how much I just “know” from having danced as long as I have.  The group class was cha-cha and we were doing a syncopated step.  After a few tries, OwnerGuy stops us to tell us that the step is too fast to get your heels completely down so it is more toe/toe/flat.  Which is what I had been doing automatically.  Also there was another part where the lady was bouncing off us and OwnerGuy was telling the class that we, as men, needed to keep our frames solid and that the movement was not with the arms.  Again, something I was already doing.  I suppose I don’t give myself enough credit for all these little things I’ve picked up over the year.

Oh, I should really mention this as well.  I got there a bit before group class and I had put my shoes on and was sitting and watching some of the other lessons.  Z was with Tex and he was struggling with some part.  They were all the way on the other side of the floor from me so she first turned to NewestGirl and wanted to use her to make a point.  She stops, looks over at me and asks if I have dance shoes on.  I say I do and then she asks me to come over.  Basically, the step was just a run to an explosion after a basic and the point she wanted to make is that if you turn away and stretch the connection all the way to the end, then you have to pull more to make anything happen.  So we did it “wrong” one time (I needed coaching to do what she wanted) and then we did it “right” with me still looking at her so I wasn’t totally turned away like he had been doing.  Still had a good connection but not stretched too tight.  Guess the thaw is real.

As luck would have it, Kid T and I started with Viennese Waltz and it was great.  The talk about “Sway” seemed to help because I was sort of creating some and it greatly improved our momentum when we did a series of open naturals.  It was good to feel like flying again.  The Cha-Cha was next and there were some stumbles in some of my usual spots.  My legs continue to feel “heavy” which was also probably because I was doing some lower body stuff at my workout.  It just made the Cha-Cha feel slow and clunky.  Bolero was next and then things went off track because I couldn’t remember parts of it and even when Kid T was showing me, it didn’t feel right.  Started to seriously overthink which carried over into the Mambo.  So a day that started with such promise turned into another episode of doubt and frustration.

I will say it didn’t get to me for too long though.  I’ve signed up for four of each dance with two opens and two closed.  That means I’m only doing each dance twice.  That’s maybe three minutes out of my life.  Is it worth stressing out over?  No, but that’s just the perfectionist in me that so wants to do well at this.  But that part needs to get put back.  The drive it gives me is good.  The doubt and fear, not so good.  And, besides, I’ve paid for the event so there is no backing out now.  And I’m going to be OK.  I know these routines well enough to make them happen.  I’m better than I give myself credit for and it is just time to pack the doubts up into their boxes and focus on just dancing and having fun.  That’s really what Showcase is supposed to be about.

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