View Full Version : Corporate Meeting Reveals Much...


VoxPopuli
05-31-17, 03:16 PM
I just returned from a 3 day mandatory corporate meeting - attended by the senior management team of my company, middle managers, and peers. Presentations were made by the president, 3 VP's (for operations, human resources, and sales), and my manager. After the presentations, we are encouraged to participate in Q&A's. The management staff uses this participation to determine engagement, identify talent for managerial assignments, as well as to assess financial, operational, succession planning, and sales performance. Careers can be defined, started, or ended at these meetings.

I used to get in to trouble for talking too much, or saying the wrong thing, to the wrong person, in the wrong venue. My job performance has always kept me safe, my managers decided that a few of those from me wasn't worth correcting - now the company has grown and attracted a new hotshot VP of Human Resources . This is one of first times I went into these meetings cognizant of the idea that my executive function impairment may have deteriorated further than I was comfortable admitting.

It's also the first meeting of this kind since I was called to the corporate office to explain an inadvertent email. I had attached a comment intended for a couple of colleagues - but I instead hit the "replied to all" button. It's happened before, this was the one that almost cost me a 14 year career of mostly exemplary work. As a matter of fact, that was the "wake up call" I wasn't expecting to start taking my ADD more seriously...because either the company was getting LESS tolerant towards my goofs/gaffes, or I there was something s-e-r-i-o-u-s-l-y wrong with me.

Needless to say, I found out it was a bit of both. So ever since, I've been really anxious, discussions with a few of you over the past few months really helped a lot, and I appreciate it. It helped me develop a plan, and with one exception, it worked!

Unlike my remote job, where I travel and set my own schedule, for these meetings I had to submit to an agenda I didn't create, and timelines I don't normally keep. Besides the extra attention from senior management during the two daily meetings lasting 8 to 10 hours - the evenings with peers and managers held the potential to stretch the days out another 5 to 6 hours (for dinners, team-building events, and friends heading out for a stress relieving drink...in a city well known for it's music). I had the decision many of you have no doubt faced after Day One: "...hmmm do I take additional meds to make it through the entire 10 hour Day Two schedule, set up in the same room, filled with another day of multiple presentations and meetings, a corporate dinner, and entertainment...heading into Day Three (a travel day) - or do I call it quits, early?

The first day was no trouble, I set a silent alarm on my watch that buzzed my arm every 15 minutes. The purpose of this was to either NOT talk, or to finish talking as soon as I felt the alarm. The first evening I made sure to call it an early night & headed back to my room by 8:30pm/9:00pm, asleep by 10:30pm. Up by 6:30am, downstairs by 7:00am for breakfast before the 8:00am kickoff to the Day Two meetings. Day two was more of a struggle, I was engaged in more conversations, the meds wore off too early (about 2:38pm) and the meeting/Q&A ran long and I interrupted my own comment with a thought mid-sentence - that totally crashed & burned. It's pretty clear that I've maxed out on my career path - I can keep my job - but during Day Two I came to the realization that it's pretty much over for me - for the next 10 years I'll need to be the best I can possibly be at the job I already have. I like the job, I just had designs on more...

I was concerned I'd oversleep (it's happened in years past, back then I had a pact with someone to wake them up if I didn't see him half-way through breakfast - and he did the same for me - now he's my boss...), but the 3 different alarms worked fine, I was up and showering between the 1st & 2nd alarm, on my way downstairs by the 3rd. Day three was a little more trying as dinner the night before lasted till 10pm and I couldn't get to sleep till 2am - and while this was not a day filled with meetings, it was a full day of travel, and it started with having to be in the lobby at 4:30am to catch a ride to the airport with my boss...fortunately I stopped by the front desk to set a wake-up call before heading up to my room - because somewhere around 1:30am while tossing and turning, I decided to just stay up...I turned on my laptop and began aimlessly googling...I awoke about 2 hours later to the phone ringing next to me, I had forgotten where I was and what time I was supposed to meet...but everything was packed and the clothes I laid out were for travel...so I calmed down got my shower and headed down to the lobby...

It's strange to feel like you have/had more to give, only to realize your window closed and you won't get the chance - because you can't really make peace with the voices inside your head, and that monster that lives under your bed, doesn't really want a friend...

So, while my first complete plan worked great for 1-1/2 days of the 2 full days of meetings, it went off about as well I could have expected. In the end I may have just realized that my path never really was determined by me. Maybe that's good, maybe I wouldn't have liked/been good in the leadership position I had been preparing for & wanted, but I'm still doing better than I could have imagined so many years ago...sure I wanted to get more, but I'm looking forward to heading up to some cooler weather and the little piece of property and that 30' used camper I bought way up north for some much needed downtime.

Yes, I know there are folks who achieved their Master's, PhD's, etc., and professional/executive careers - but they achieved those advanced degrees EARLY on in their lives when they had a LOT more energy, fewer disappointments, and they were no doubt responding well to a treatment plan. They will eventually face what I think I'm having to acknowledge now - much earlier than my peers - and no, I don't think I'm giving up, it's that I'm afraid I'm beginning to recognize that my mental dexterity/certain executive functions are beginning to deteriorate more rapidly than I expected - heck, until these joining these boards I DIDN'T expect that. I just know that it's recognizable and I need to develop an exit strategy much earlier than what I intended. I may not need it, but I don't want to be surprised. It may mean that I'll have to learn to live on a lot less than I envisioned, but if I start now, maybe I can mitigate the fallout of retiring early.

I'm not given to panic, I'm used to being the person people turn to when they don't know what to do - but one time this week, immediately after publicly embarrassing myself by interrupting my own comment with an intrusive thought (after the meds wore off), I got a momentary feeling of bewilderment - for the first time in my life I didn't know how to recover, just dead air...and a room full of laughter. I'm not sure if this newfound concern is due to the trauma I was forced to endure whilst trying to save my job from the email debacle a few weeks ago - or if I really have slipped further than I was prepared to admit? I know medications can only help so much, and only for so long...so I scheduled another visit to my doctor when I got home from this trip. I'm concerned.