Thursday, August 25, 2005

But I don't WANNA be a grown-up! (she stomps her foot for emphasis)

Today, I have a yearning to go to summer camp. Not as a grown-up, with responsibilities for caring for children or anything like that, but as a kid – a full-fledged carefree kid. I want to go to a place where all my needs are cared for, the bell rings when it’s time to eat, someone has lined up activities for my whole day so I don’t have to think, I can buy something from the tuck shop every day with my Mom’s money, and the greatest effort I have to put forth is to put my sleeping bag and suitcase in order so we don’t lose points for cabin check.

Some days, being a grown-up feels like more headache than it’s worth. Yesterday was one of those days. I had to be grown up ALL day and it was just too much for me. And not just a grown-up, but I had to be a leader all day, and that’s even more taxing.

I’m a manager at work, so I have to make a hundred decisions every day, solve problems, discipline employees when there’s a need, and in general act like I’ve got it all put together. Mostly I like being a manager. Yesterday I didn’t. For one thing, we had to meet with an H.R. consultant about a very sticky situation with one of my staff members. It’s messy and I don’t enjoy it. Then, in the afternoon, I had to do an annual performance evaluation of another one of my employees – not something I enjoy much either. If it’s any comfort for those of you who have sat and squirmed while their managers did their annual appraisal, believe me, it’s not a lot of fun on THIS side of the desk either. It particularly doesn’t help if you have employees who are forever judging your performance as well, looking for things to nail you on.

After that fun-filled day at work, I rushed home to have supper with the family and then role #2 took over. Mom. Marcel had had a rough day and has cooked most of the meals lately, so supper preparation had been left to me. Actually, Julie wanted to cook supper last night, which means that the Mom role is even more involved in meal preparation. I can’t just shut everyone out of the kitchen and go to work, I have to be patient with her and let her learn without taking over completely. And, as every mom knows, the minute you walk in the house after having been away, the demands are thrown at you faster than you can take off your shoes. “Can I invite RenĂ©e over tonight? Can we watch a movie? Can I go for a bike ride? When are you going to take us school supply shopping? Why didn’t you fix my pants yet? Can we go for a Slurpee?” Just once, I want to walk in the door, and have someone meet MY needs instead of demanding I meet THEIRS!

Supper had to be short, because role #3 needed to take over. Grab my purse, kiss the kids, and rush to church. We had a leadership team meeting, and I’m the leadership facilitator, so I run the meetings. Again, it’s something I enjoy doing, so I’m not complaining, but yesterday if felt like yet another demand piled onto my shoulders. At least with this role I don’t have to dole out discipline or take responsibility for too many decisions – I’m just helping other leaders reach their own decisions. But…I’m not sure if it’s because most of them are introverts and therefore don’t get or give out much energy in a group setting, but MAN it’s hard to get some of these people excited about anything. You present something, ask for feedback, and you’re met with a bunch of blank stares and folded arms. Am I gettin’ through to you? Does it make any sense? Don’t get me wrong – I like the people in the group – but at the end of a meeting like that, it’s really hard to judge whether there’s been any value in it or not.

So today, I want to find a playground (the camp is my first choice, but I’d settle for a playground) to play in, hang on the monkey bars and swing as high as I can on the swings, forget about all my responsibilities, and just be a kid again. Just for a little while – that’s all it will take. When it’s bedtime, I’ll be happy to be a grown-up again, because I don’t want someone else to tell me it’s time to go to bed!


Anvilcloud said...

I was only twice on the other side of the fence when it came to interviewing for a job, and I didn't much like it.

Maybe a good stiff drink or a little trip to the movies.

Dale said...

Kids. They don't know how lucky they were until they're forced into adulthood. As Jonie Mitchell says, "You don't know what you've got til it's gone."
I'll bet you felt better after writing this post.

Suzanne said...

Let me know when you find that playground. I'll join you.

(Performance appraisals and icky personnel issues were the things I liked least about being a manager, too.)