Today, we had a department retreat to discuss next year’s goals, calendar, etc., which was led by our new director. This new director has caused a lot of anxiety and difficulties for me as of late and has not made any attempt to get to know me, either personally or professionally, before immediately enacting a bunch of procedural changes. Meanwhile, this is the busiest time of the year for us, and she just continues to pile on the work.
She started the retreat with an icebreaker in which we each selected a strip of paper that contained a question that we needed to answer, and we went around and around in the circle, selecting strips of paper and answering questions, until we’d answered all of the questions. The questions ranged from extraordinarily serious and deep to humorous and silly. I was the second staffer to select a strip of paper:
Obviously, only one subject came to mind, and clearly, as this person has taken zero effort to get to know me at all, I haven’t told her about the fact that I am about to become a mother. I decided to just say it, because, well, I will eventually have to. I gulped, took a deep breath, and said, “Well, I’m sure we’ll talk more about this soon, but, well, my husband and I are expecting a child in the coming year and my main non-work related goal for the coming year is to be the best parent I can possibly be.”
Her response? A very surprised, “Ohhhh…!” There wasn’t time to talk about this more in-depth, which was frankly preferable, and I laid the groundwork for a slightly less awkward continuation of the story.
It’s so funny because I’ve been fretting about how to find a way to bring up this subject in the near future when she hadn’t bothered to try to build any sort of relationship with me. The universe responded. I could have drawn any mystery question, even the one my coworker selected about what role she would be if she worked in the circus, but the one I picked magically allowed me to easily address what felt like an impossible problem. It was a great way to end a very long, tiring work week.
Another one is right around the corner… Is this year over yet?