Monday, July 02, 2007
Just Another Manic Monday
On my way to work today I dropped by McDonald's to buy my favorite breakfast. Brewed coffee and Sausage McMuffin. While I was walking to my building I was already mentally going over my day. I remembered I had a lot of things to sign that needed to be released today, I also needed to write three memos, prepare for our usual Monday meeting, two more meetings in the afternoon. gosh! I also needed to go to the bank to pay my bills! (sigh)...a gazillion things to do!
By now I was half-walking half-running wondering to myself how I could cram all the things I have to do in my 10-hour work day. Stress was building up and I havent' even reached my desk yet. The elevator kinda sucks in my building and missing the last one would mean a 5-minute wait and I was all steamed up to get the day going.
I was not even able to get one bite out of my sandwich when I was called by my boss. I was hoping to start the day right...but it seems she has other plans. She did not look happy so I figured this was going to be one of those days again. I could feel my stomach begging me to fill it up but it looks like my perfect breakfast was not going to be eaten after all. "There was a complaint", she says, "and it was addressed to the President of the company, you have to fix it right away", she says. It was only 8:45am. I looked at my sandwich and my steaming coffee and somehow I lost my appetite. I don't even want to tell you how the next four hours went by, I could not even remember it. "Hey, are you ready to go?", my colleague asked. "Go? Go where?", I asked. "Lunch with the President in 5 minutes."
I forgot all about that! I was half looking forward to it and half dreading it after the complaint that I had to fix this morning. But nonetheless I was intrigued by this new guy. He was only appointed as our new CEO two months ago and the people who were able to talk to him says he is very nice and gentle. But that remains to be seen, I said to myself.
Lunch was a revelation to me. Most of the middle management team were invited to this "getting-to-know-you" lunch and our new President/CEO was amazing! He is from Bombay, India and this guy had a lot of nice things to say. He was a little shy and seemed a little uncomfortable with the whole affair, which was really surprising for a person in his position. And when he started to talk, I was enthralled.
He said, "I would like to thank all of you today for skipping your usual lunch date to eat with me. This is my first time to become a CEO, I know I don't know everything and I won't pretend that I do." He goes on to say something about his stay in our Singapore office and how he misses having a home, he misses India he says. What really struck me was what he said next. He said, "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing."
"I don't care much for fame and for being told I am nice. What I care about is are you happy working here? Are you happy doing what you are doing right now? Or do you want to do somethingelse? Are just stuck here because you do not have a choice?", he says. Pretty strange things to be said by the president of a company, don't you agree? I now call him the gentle giant. What surprises me is how much humility and soul this man has. A stunning contrast to our previous retired president who was bullish and a bit unapproachable.
This man looked, not at what we did wrong or right as managers, but at the person behind the actions. Our actions he said are sometimes reflections of who we are and how we feel about our jobs. If I was happy doing what I was doing, he said, then I wouldn't want to be anywherelse but here.
And how right he was. Suddenly my manic Monday has given me a sense of purpose. Suddenly I realize I love what I do. Stress and all!
I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
~Edward Everette Hale~