Learning

Curveballs. I’ve never hit one. I learned that my college sisters were all lefties so our team was Lefties, Inc. No-one who mattered ever showed up to challenge us so we ended up in the finals without ever playing. Yes, we lost. I was the pitcher and a switch-hitter. Ambidextrous is the word.

While my husband thrived on mechanics, how things worked, science and math I looked at people. Soc/psy was my bailiwick. Perhaps that’s why we get along so well, we’re different, smart thus somewhat similar.

Let’s just say that I choose art museums and he chooses others for planes or motorcycles. We both learn when we go together but getting him into an art museum is a chore.

Know how to meet and greet your neighbors. Who is best at that task? Old dog Zoe. Everybody knows her and pets her. Years ago when an old elected official tried to hit on me I asked how daughter Sally was doing in art school, and how is his wife Judy? It was so good to finally meet her. If you want to nip something in the bud without saying anything about it, I found it was the way to go. Learning about life. And politics.

Life and consulting can be different. Often there are different factions, the Board that hired you and the administration who has to deal with you. My new car was keyed, then when the miscreant was named executive director he fired me and took my key to the office. The next day he called me and demanded everything I had on the organization including confidential data I promised the Board I would never disclose without their approval and me in the room. I said “I’m fired. I don’t owe you anything.”

A few moments later I was at the Chairman’s office and we laughed. The guy was gone at the next Board meeting. That’s learning. Both of us learned. The Chairman played everything and everyone and I ended up on the Board, working hard for free. That was probably part of the plan. He got canned and I got “knocked up” to supervise the enterprise that is thriving today. It is difficult changing from consultant to Trustee. But I’m a proven multi-tasker. Ask my husband, who is not.

Another story. I told my park woes to a confidante so he made me a VP of another board, one where the chairman spent meetings reading mail. Snore-fest, indeed. It was over lunch-time so everyone had to bring their own and there were some sodas and iced tea. My hips are getting better but I don’t know if or when I’ll be back. Pass it around the room, spend ten minutes of my day. Let’s get to an agenda. Let’s do SOMETHING.

I learned to formulate off-the-cuff motions and order them. Second. All in favor. Passed. For years the Minutes show that I made all motions when ripe. My favorites, J, K and S agreed and seconded. Unanimous votes followed. I re-wrote their by-laws, spent months of “free time” and they were passed after significant opposition by an opponent. That is how I spent my single life. With a dog and two cats. Now I’ve a husband and an old dog and things will change once again after 16 years.

Before I went to those park meetings I would de-compress in a free museum nearby, upon which my recruiter and fellow VP friend was on the Board. I sat in a room with my favorite Italian altarpieces and just breathed for 15 minutes before the Board meeting. Then I could be gracious to those who denigrated me.

My husband always says that my life was easy. He has to deal with profitable organizations. He doesn’t know the half of it. Non-profits can be really good, or snake pits. They keyed my car. Dee

 

 

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