Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Petunia is sleeping a little better- she's only been up twice a night for the last few nights. (Of course, now she'll wake up 5 times tonight, just to prove me wrong.) However, she has started drinking more milk than I am pumping again. I am hoping this is a temporary disturbance due to her illness, and not a sign that I'm about to have to start pumping at night.
I'm starting to find my footing in my new project at work. I have a long way to go, but at least I feel like I'm making forward progress. No one seems to have noticed that my first two weeks on the project were completed in a haze of sleep deprivation. I am learning a lot, and feel like I have started to make some actual, although small, contributions. For the most part, I don't mind this unsettled feeling. I recognize it from past times when I've started a new project that stretches my skills, and think it is good for me.

However, today I was sitting in a meeting because of my new role at work. The meeting included my boss, the other VP on the research side of our organization, one of the scientific founders of the company, and several of my peers. The other VP, the scientific founder and one of my more annoying peers were in a conversation about a new research direction that we might take. I have no disagreement with us taking this direction, and in fact think it would be a good thing for us to do. But they were making an assumption about what some data we might collect would show, and that assumption was wrong, or at least incomplete. I wanted to say something, but didn't. I don't know why. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am correct about what the data will actually show. I strongly suspect that the scientific founder and at least one other person in the room would have recognized that I was correct. But I sat there and didn't say a thing. Why? I don't think I can blame this one on sleep deprivation. I suspect I was afraid of the probable defensive reaction that speaking up would have provoked from my peer and the other VP.

I left right after the meeting (actually I left before the meeting ended, as did another working mother who needed to beat traffic to day care, a couple of men with no real reason to need to leave other than their desire to escape a meeting that was devolving into pointlessness, and my boss, who I watched practice yoga breathing exercises to dissipate his frustrating as he left the room).  I was kicking myself for not speaking up all the way to day care. But then Petunia greeted me in her usual joyous manner- she gets a big grin on her face, bounces up and down, and make a sound that can best be described as a chortle- and all was right with the world for awhile.

As I drove home, I thought about a trip to a new park that I had taken with Pumpkin yesterday. We met some friends of mine, and I was busy talking to my friend while Pumpkin played on a single person merry go round. I thought she was laughing, but then realized she was shrieking and crying because she was going too fast and couldn't stop. I stopped her, and hugged her until she stopped crying. She went off to play on one of the climbing toys for awhile, but then came right back to the merry go round and tried again. Before I could say anything, she figured out that she could put her foot down to slow herself down. The grin on her face was beautiful to see. I was so proud of her for going back and trying again, and she was obviously proud of herself, too.

Tomorrow, I'll find a way to tell someone about the problem with their research plan. And next time, maybe I'll speak up in the meeting.


  1. Way to go! Sometimes we can learn from our children too, if at first we don't succeed. . . . And sometimes it takes a minute to step back and analize the siutation, plotting out the appropriate course of action, whether we are sleep deprived or not!

  2. I miss work.

    And I totally get the reason you didn't speak up. I've done that. And other times I've spoken up and gotten that defensive reaction from peers/bosses/higher-ups.

    But I've been told by a person I respect who's higher on the ladder than me that the speaking up is why I've been promoted in the past and why I'm in a fairly high position in my company. Because speaking up, when it is for the good of the organization (NOT for the good of the individual) is almost always recognized by others as such, and usually the people whose opinion matters are also those who know that they're in the positions they are in because they did (and do) the same.

    That said, I've gotten some dirty looks from VP's for calling out their mistakes in meetings with others, and I know I'm not in all the VPs' good books, but I'm in the P's good books for it which is obviously more important.

    Good luck with your project! Oh, and did I say I miss work? Man I need a project that doesn't involve children.

  3. I am also a speaker-upper (I think I just made that word up!), but I have been in the same place before. Sometimes, you just don't want to deal with all that comes out of speaking up in a meeting. Especially when certain personality types are getting all worked up about what you are about to disagree with. I'm guessing you will find a better time to point out the issue with what they were discussing, either to everyone in another meeting or to certain people in smaller groups.

    I'm sure you will go back, try again and find the peddle to slow it all down to the right speed. Just like Pumpkin did!

  4. Well, the moment is not altogether lost. You can still make your point. Say you were thinking about it further, and...

    It's been a while since I worked in an office. I miss it a bit.


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