Feeling the feels.

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.

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3 thoughts on “Feeling the feels.

  1. I have read this a few times and honestly don’t know where to start. I know the feeling of wanting to do your best and make sure that you will transfer everything but.. Where is the win-win? This totally looks like a Lose / Win and you are the loser in this case. At least this is based on what you have shared and the stress that you have. You are giving your 100 percent of everything and yet you are coming home stressed. I can imagine that you want to do the right thing in giving 100+/- so you know that you gave it your all. It’s also clear that you care about your staff. However, would 80% be good too? Will these people treat you the same if you do 100 percent and/or if you give 80%. Is there something you can do to alleviate this stress? Is it worth staying on after you leave? Can you communicate through someone else after you leave? Also I have been doing some meditation and trying it at different times. Like I listened to some of the mediation program while I was in traffic today. It actually helped. This is a lesson for me. Is there anything you can do to help alleviate the stress during the day? Easy for me to say as I am trying to bring mediation into my daily life.

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  2. You have so much going on emotionally. I am so impressed with how well (even if it doesn’t feel that way) you are identifying and feeling your feelings. You are deep in the ‘being’. This will take you far in the long run.

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  3. I think it’s really hard to let go of something you built and invested so much time in–especially when your departure was not prompted by a desire to move on so much as unhealthy relationships with these board members. It’s a tough way to have things end. I left my first job in a similar way–I wasn’t a CEO, or even a senior lawyer, but I had “grown up” in that job and had emotional attachments to my mentors there. Honestly, I still need to go back and clean that up. I left for a competitor, angry and self-righteous. There are partners who I should clear with (even now) that I never did–not for them, but for me. I’m not saying that’s the case with you, it’s clear you’ve been mistreated and I believe in taking a stand for yourself, but I will say when you leave and there’s still “stuff,” it tends to linger a loooong time.

    On the IVF stuff, bleh re the injections but I think keeping your eyes on the vision will get you through it. I would just take that stuff as it comes. I have a bad habit of needing to know every detail about what’s ahead, but I find it’s often a lot less draining to just stay present and “cross that bridge when we get there.”

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