Thursday, May 31, 2007

What a Day!

Yesterday was a full day for me. In our pre-meeting for today's Management Review - yes, I just admitted to participating in a pre-meeting - I fielded lots of questions. Meanwhile, I'd been given a pressing task that absolutely had to be completed by the end of the day. Sitting in the conference room, with managers talking around me and firing questions at me, I just could not concentrate. Finally, late in the day, I moved back to my guest cubicle, put on my headphones, and listened to a calming collection of sacred music to help me focus on that task. And when I heard someone approach to open a conversation in a nearby cubicle, I'd start singing along softly - just my subtle way of saying, "Leave me alone." :-)

At lunchtime yesterday, I escaped to On the Border at the Reston Town Center to meet a fellow blogger. It was great to meet him for the first time, after corresponding for several months and learning that I'd driven past his parish four different times on my way from our office to the ODU distance-learning center up here. We had a great talk, and though we come from different perspectives, shared our sadness at the way our beloved church is tearing itself apart. It was nice to recognize our different perspectives, but acknowledge that all of us are needed in the body of Christ.

And for dinner last night, I met three long-time friends (and three accompanying family members) from the Magdalen email list community. We had a great meal and wonderful conversation, and it was so great to finally meet these people I've known for years. At least one of the three friends is someone I've known since 1997, but had never met face to face. We've been members of spiritual online communities together since then. It's amazing how the internet can bring people together in this way, especially since I came to Northern Virginia for business, and took advantage of the opportunity to meet friends while here.

When I got back to my room after dinner, I was exhausted! For an introvert, six hours in the conference room, plus a blogmeet and a listmeet - this was quite a full day! Today I'm participating in the management review, and have been relieved that the executives aren't in the room with us this month as we iron out some tough issues. As tiring as this week is for me, I really enjoy being part of these sessions, helping the managers understand their numbers, digging into the data to unearth answers to questions that bubble to the surface. I've been told by more than one person that I work very well as a "right hand man" - that I'm gifted at being the person behind the one in the spotlight, who knows where all the information is, who knows how to make the right stuff happen, who comes through to make the leader look successful in front of his or her bosses or customers or employees. And that's what this week is about for me - giving the managers the support they need to look successful in front of program management and the executives.

So thankfulness, gratitude... I'm thankful to be working in my role right now, as hard as it can be to define and explain. I'm thankful to have a supportive boss, and to support internal customers who show appreciation to me. I'm glad to be able to have the opportunity to come up here once a month to meet with my teammates and to get some face-time in front of my boss and executive management (scary as that can be sometimes). I'm grateful to be able to meet some of the friends who have been the companions on my journey over the last ten years.