Guest Blogs

“Uh-Oh (The Warning Letter at Work!)”

The boss is on the mark with my anxiety, disinterest, lack of focus. Can I blame it on ADHD?

The boss asked me to stay and chat with her after the weekly meeting today, and, please, close the door. Uh oh. Every time I hear “close the door,” it freaks me out. I imagine that I’m being kidnapped and about to get the guillotine.

She said that she got two phone calls in a week about sources (aka clients) who were concerned that I didn’t understand what they were talking about. Shit, because they are so right, she is so right. I’ve been bored and not interested in the stuff for the past few months. I’ve been anxious about the writing, about things, about the people around me. I’ve been jittery about my nemesis leaving and where that would leave me. I was freaking out, my thoughts scattered-and now I was caught and forced to face myself.

She said, from an outside point-of-view, I seemed anxious again; nervous, jittery, why was this happening? She thought that it might be one of the reasons why I don’t get the material. If my anxiety is code red, how can I get the stuff, and on top of that, if I take no interest in financial journalism, how can I further my knowledge in things? She has this image of me as a nervous squirrel trying to gather nuts for the winter. I had to laugh at that one.

I also marveled though at how she could read me so well. It’s brilliant in many ways even if I am an easy read. She is on the mark with my anxiety, disinterest, lack of focus, all of this energy being directed nowhere, all of this talent going nowhere. She’s right. I could be so much better than I am. I sat there frozen, thinking I could blame it on the ADHD.

At the end of what seemed like eternity, she took out a three-page letter that basically outlined what she said, and asked me to sign it. It was protocol, she said, but on the other hand, it would be helpful to both she and I. The letter was a bit funny though; it seemed to be addressed to someone else, and secondly, we didn’t really have a plan of action, did we? That’s what made me wonder if she was just trying to ax me; after all, I play one role at that place.

I got sad and started thinking, “I’m going to just give up,” but it isn’t me. I’m not willing to give up without putting in a good fight. She asked me, please do less-but look into things deeper. I thought to myself, why in the world is she waiting to do this now. Why didn’t she do this a month ago or even two months. When someone doesn’t reassure me or show interest, I tend to back off. All I wanted the whole time was a pat on the back, some attention, and now I was getting it, in the worst of ways.

Somehow though, it always ends up this way. It’s such a struggle to get things done, it’s such a struggle to focus. All of this talent for what? I wanted to burst into tears. For comfort, I left work and turned to the pseudo-boyfriend who is really a very good friend. He cared enough to meet me at a bar and talk about the predicament, even though I ended up paying for the meal. Who cares, at least he showed up? Over cosmos, beer, hamburger and chef salad, he told me to chill out.

Yes, getting a warning signal isn’t optimum, but it’s also an opportunity to make lemonade out of lemon. I should go to her and say, Ms. Boss Woman, here is an option that I have, but I need some time to work on it and I guarantee you will see changes; can we agree on this? The friend guessed that this was her way of lighting the fire under my ass and also covering her ass. After all, complaints from the outside can’t be good, but why in the world wasn’t she protecting me, too?

Anyway, the cosmos felt good, as did the salad and such. For a while, I stood in the middle of the street thinking that I wanted to get run over by a taxi. (It would make life so simple?) On the other hand, the thought was fleeting and finally I’d arrived at the conclusion that nothing is permanent. At the end of the day, the ball was in my court. I either needed to give it my all or leave.