About what matters

Writing about what really matters

Tag: grateful

At last

Yes take 3

This was my exact gesture when I got off the phone last week after verbally accepting a job offer I’m really excited about–a gesture I’ve repeated several times since. This moment has been a long time coming …

I realized nearly a year and a half ago that I would need to make a change–I hoped sooner rather than later. I went on a couple interviews then, and could have made an immediate change. But my gut feeling was that I hadn’t found the right opportunity yet, and also that (as much as I wanted to leave) my presence was needed to help stabilize the situation for others. Power and fear can be a lethal combination, that’s for sure.

There have been other interviews along the way, other offers I didn’t accept. One came quite close to what I wanted. I loved the people I would have worked with, but the job would have come with a cut in base pay along with a significantly better potential annual bonus. I was a little surprised at exactly how much I didn’t like the idea of a pay cut!

The interview process for the job I’ve accepted began two months ago, and has been slowed by a number of factors, so I was thrilled when the offer finally came through. I’ve taken my drug test–nothing like peeing in a cup while a couple of lab employees wait outside your door to keep your feet on the ground–and dug up various paystubs, W-2s, offer letters, and phone numbers for the background check.

I told a couple of friends at work that I’d accepted an offer, both of whom were surprised–which could mean I’ve finally perfected my poker face! One said he was sure I’d really enjoy handing in my notice. I was a little surprised to realize I won’t … there is no ‘charge’ around this for me. Likewise, I don’t remotely have any guilt about leaving. All of which must mean this is the perfect time for me to move on.

The really outstanding, difficult-to-match feature of my current job is my commute. When the stars are aligned and all the lights are green, I can get from my driveway to the parking garage in two minutes. Four minutes is more usual. Obviously this has allowed me to go home at lunchtime most days, which has been great. My new commute will be about half an hour and will involve tolls–assuming I want to take the fastest route, and I do.

But in virtually every other respect, I expect my new job to be an improvement over the old one. Better pay, better benefits, better bonus (which I happen to know this company actually pays, because I’ve worked for them before). I’m really looking forward to being challenged again, not to mention working with highly competent, bright, professional people. I’m also going to be doing the work I want to do in a really beautiful place–a former headquarters building with beautiful grounds, landscaping, water features, and art.

I’m so grateful for this positive change, and truly looking forward to all that happens next.

This post is illustrated with the SoulCollage® card I made today, Yes!

SoulCollage cards are for personal use, and are not for sale, barter, or trade.


How to handle a narcissist


You might assume that the way to come out on top is to focus relentlessly on your own agenda, desires, and needs–but that’s what narcissists do, and narcissists are not effective players in the game of life. Self-obsession will take you only so far. –Phillip McGraw

I don’t like to brag, but I consider myself somewhat uniquely qualified to address this topic, as I’ve been associating with narcissists since the very moment I was born. And for the past year or so, I’ve had one within a few feet of me at the office. I sincerely hope that you, dear reader, find yourself with less expertise on this particular topic.

First, how to identify the species? I was well into adulthood before I realized what was ‘off’ about one of my family members. It may be that you, too, are an expert, and don’t even know it!

  1. The narcissist is deeply engaged with what other people think.
  2. But the narcissist doesn’t care about much else. S/he may tell you that you care too much. (I sometimes wonder if a narcissist coined the term do-gooder, for those who, you know, care so much they actually try to do something about it.)
  3. It is all about the narcissist. Not about you … never about you.

Any questions? (No, it’s still not about you.)

I recommend the following strategies for dealing effectively with narcissists:

  1. Keep your distance. Need I say that a narcissist is never going to improve the quality of your life? So arm’s length is good, and much further away than that is ideal.
  2. The narcissist is likely to attempt to use and/or manipulate you, and will likely be frightened if these attempts fail, because the world isn’t working the way it’s supposed to. Your mission is to ensure that these finely-honed manipulation techniques do not work on you.
  3. To this end, let it be known that you are serene in the face of judgment and insult. Let it be known that you don’t much care what other people think. Let it be known that temper tantrums don’t affect you one way or the other. Let it be known that you do not accept double standards or unreasonable boundaries.
  4. Some experts say that the narcissist may have became one due to an emotional wound. So have compassion for the narcissist, as this cannot be a good way to live, and may in fact be a hell on earth … cut off from others, from caring about all that’s truly important in life, from knowing that we are all one, and that ultimately, love is all there is. Be grateful that you have dealt with your issues (I assume you received your share) more productively.
  5. Remind yourself how truly lucky you are to not be in the narcissist’s shoes, by engaging in one of the many activities unavailable to him or her. Reach out in love and kindness to someone else, expecting nothing in return. Look into the eyes of someone different from you and say to yourself, I am you, you are me. Hug or kiss someone and feel the love flowing between you.
  6. Realize you are truly blessed.

A pantry feast

There’s something life-affirming about good food.

As I recover from the flu, I’m grateful for every delicious morsel yielded up by my refrigerator and pantry. Thankfully, this malady isn’t affecting my digestion, so while my sense of smell is not all it could be, I’m still well able to enjoy food.

Like purple asparagus and mature white cheddar. A nice Chardonnay. Sweet home-grown pomegranates from a coworker. Onions, sweet potatoes, carrots, and eggs from the farmer’s market. Good Parmesan cheese and pecans.

Housebound, I’m starting to feel like improvising. A menu plan can be a lifesaver during a busy week, but with all the busyness subtracted, the food looms large. I take it as a good sign that I feel like being creative. A pantry spaghetti sauce would be delicious. With butter, onions, tomato sauce, and basil from the garden, not to mention good pasta, Parmesan, and the last of the wine, a feast fit for the gods is well within my grasp.

Looking on the bright side

I’m an optimist by nature. I believe the difficult thing I want to do that needs to be done, can be done. I believe the ‘impossible’ just might be achievable, given the right approach.

When something with both obvious negatives and positives occurs, I prefer to focus on the positives, sometimes with amusing consequences.

Once at work I was told I was being transferred to a new position, and when I met with my ostensible new (and prior) manager to discuss this, I mentioned only the benefits of the change. If I alluded to the drawbacks, I glossed over them in comparison to the upside.

There was some pushback from my current manager, who didn’t want to lose me, and I was given the choice of making the change or not. Based on the discussion where I’d highlighted the positives, I believe it was assumed that my ‘choice’ was a foregone conclusion.

Ah, the dark horse. While I didn’t focus on the negatives, I certainly hadn’t forgotten what they were, and ultimately I decided to stay where I was. Apparently this came as an unpleasant surprise to some, who were unaware of my habit of accentuating the positive.

Once again, a change has cropped up that certainly has significant negative aspects. However, I am focusing on the positives …

  1. By spending less time in my home office, I’ll save money on all kinds of things–water, electricity, gas, office supplies, paper products.
  2. I’ll get a chance to wear the fun and beautiful things in my wardrobe more often.
  3. I can revert to my former habit of going home for lunch each day. No more cold, repetitive sandwiches and bananas from the deli downstairs.
  4. My dogs will be thrilled to see me when I come home each night.
  5. I now have an excellent reason to take the time necessary to clear off my desk at work. Now it’s no longer a nice to have, it needs to be done.
  6. As with all non-positive work developments, this provides additional motivation for me to change the way I earn my living and put myself back in the driver’s seat in terms of designing my work schedule and environment.
  7. Being physically in the office more probably makes it easier for me to be more of a positive influence on others, as well as the overall vibe.
  8. Working an earlier schedule will make it easier for me to get to weeknight dinners, lectures, fashion presentations, and other events I want to attend.
  9. With an exact schedule being provided for me, I’ll be motivated not to work overtime, which means more time for my real life and other important pursuits.
  10. Isn’t it great that I live only a couple of miles from my office? This gives me another reason to be thankful for all of the intentions and decisions that made this possible.
  11. The newly-reconstructed bridge near work has reopened just in time! Now it’s easy to get an emergency coffee in the late afternoon–which I may not ever need because I’ll be leaving promptly at 5!–as well as visit other nearby restaurants and businesses that have been difficult to access for months.

And there you have it … the bright side.

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