At this exact moment, my blood is boiling. Over Shabbat I alternated between anxiety and relaxation, and – other than the amazing Game Night on Thursday where I laughed so hard I cried – last week was overall stressful.
My blood is boiling because of the most recent email exchange I found after I turned my phone back on after Shabbat. An exchange with one of my organization’s founders – mind you, the one I’m speaking to because he’s far more civil and empathetic than the other founder, who I like to call Donald Trump and whom I haven’t spoken to directly for a year – but who caused me to decide to leave the organization.
I never gave the full story of what happened with my organization, and it would take many pages. So I’ll give the headlines/juicy bits: Our founders left the organization four years ago, I took over, have given my heart and soul and most of my waking hours since. I stabilized it, grew it and infused it with integrity. I have no doubts about my contributions.
Our founders stayed on the board, contributed pretty much nothing and flare up a couple times a year to fight against me. (It’s a separate question why they’re still allowed to be on the board). This year, we explored a merger process with 3 other organizations, pursued a LONG due diligence process and ultimately determined that we wanted to merge into one of the other partners. Our founders supposedly ‘gave their blessing,’ but ultimately saw the details and immediately sprang into action, fought hard against it, cut me out, and sought their own strategy. In the midst of all that I decided to leave – why should I be treated like dirt? Why should I answer to board members who don’t appreciate my vision and work, and who go behind my back to manipulate me?
Once I started to really truly feel these feelings day in and day out, the energy and motivation I had to run the organization deflated. It felt like I had taken a huge breath five years ago and kept running to do everything that needed to be done. One of the pieces of feedback I got during LP is that I was so ridiculously consistent. I never dropped the ball, missed a call, etc. I kept my commitment and did what I said I’d do. I’m the same way with work – I can’t even think of a single ‘off’ week I’ve had in the last 5 years.
So, now I have 3 more weeks until my official last day. I feel like I have about 3 years worth of work to do, and have not yet transitioned from my normal day to day job to transitioning the work away from me. My mentor said Friday it seemed like I was still acting like the CEO rather than the outgoing CEO. I didn’t realize that was a thing.
We’ll be announcing the merger this week, and while the press release doesn’t blatantly say I’m leaving the org, it’s clear if you read between the lines. And in the midst of all this, of course, our email server crashed and our Israel team decided to launch a beta (really alpha) website that makes us look absolutely awful.
Is it 5 o’clock yet? Or December?
On Friday night the stress overwhelmed me, and Hadar did the honors of supporting me while I curled up into a ball and cried. It was too short to be fully cathartic, though, so more to come. I’m stressed thinking about the insane amounts of work that need to get done before I leave. Stressed about what the heck will happen to the organization once I do leave. This isn’t one of those ‘no one else can do my job because I’m so amazing’ feelings. This is ‘there is no plan to replace me directly because we’re merging but have no idea how or when and our board is too checked out to care.’ I care about my team and our work and don’t want to see things fall apart.
The reason my blood is boiling is because of the latest email from the founder who essentially asked, a few days after not doing what he said he was going to do to move things forward, do we really need to do that? (e.g. I don’t care enough to do what I said I would do.
History with this guy tells me he does his usual pattern – gets incredibly passionate and dominating about what he feels things need to be, then he loses interest and allows things to dwindle. History with the other founder is that he gets incredibly passionate and dominating about what he feels things need to be and then manipulates the situation to win. These are really stand up guys, let me tell you.
What I’m committed to doing is drawing very clear lines in the sand about what I will do between now and November 30 and what I will do afterward. At the moment I plan to offer some part time consulting hours (at twice my hourly rate now) through December 31, to help ease the transition. It may be that I don’t do that, ultimately. That I realize it’s unhealthy, that they’ll need to move ahead without me anyway, or that they don’t want me. That wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
I haven’t yet drawn these lines, clearly, and it is so important to do so!! (What is keeping me? Probably for another post…)
The other things taking up space in my head continue to be the other 2 huge things going on!!! My job search and the IVF process. While IVF is slow so far, we ate dinner with a couple Friday night that did it and I got more details than I wanted about the injections I’ll be getting for weeks and weeks, starting this Friday. I haven’t even made the time to call back one of the three pharmacies calling me to handle the medications because I’ve been so busy at work. As I said to Hadar on Friday, work is still taking up 80% of my brain space, which is starting to make me angry.
As for the job search, while I’ve had radio silence in response to the applications I have submitted, I have been setting up lots of meetings. And on Thursday, in the two meetings I had – one with someone I knew and one with someone I didn’t – I received interest in moving forward. One was an informal offer to consult to an organization part time this spring, and the other was an interest in interviewing to see if it’s the right fit. Exciting!! I love researching these consulting firms and connecting with people. I wish I had more time for it, but that’s what December is for.
So, thank you – again – for indulging me in this long post, which itself serves as incredible catharsis during a tense time.