Sunday, September 11, 2016

case studies in stoicism: the short friday that turned into the long friday

on thursday afternoon, while reviewing my calendar, i noted that friday, september 9 was looking to be a great day.  i was going to play basketball and then casually walk into work, read a bit of email, attend two morning meetings and then ease into the weekend.

friday morning at 4am, my alarm sounded.  i got up, assembled my things, got into my truck and drove to the gym.  i started my routine of 30 minutes walking on the treadmill followed by walking downstairs to the basketball gym and began warming up to play basketball.  as the other players walked into the gym, i noted that we would have 5 on 5 and be able to play on the full court.

i played well.  wednesday morning ball was really good for me and i was hoping to have another good day.  we played several games and i felt really good.  i had good shots, was aggressive and played solid defense.  it was a good day of basketball.

after cooling off and cleaning up, i headed to the office.  the morning started off as expected.  then things began to change.  two meetings turned into several.  i had expected to interact with just one customer on friday, but as the day progressed, i ended up fighting several fires for four of my five customers.  and these were not minor issues.  all of them had big issues that needed to be dealt with - and all the issues needed to be dealt with at the same time.

i remained calm and focused.  i tried to remain indifferent about the entire situation and tried to cooly and dispassionately assess the issues and deal with them accordingly.

by 4pm, the last of the issues reared its head.  and while my co-workers were starting their weekends, i was just beginning to settle the final issue of the day.  after the initial wave of the issue passed, i got off the phone and began my analysis of the problem.  by 5pm, i was ready to send an email to the managers when one of the called.  he was suggesting that we meet saturday to discuss, but i informed him i had completed my analysis and that we could meet immediately.  we reconvened in the 2nd manager's office at 520pm.

while walking over to his office, i mused how a year ago, if i had been in this situation, i most likely would have been a bundle of anxiety and fear.  however, after a year's experience on the job and after trying to consciously practice stoicism, i realized i felt calm amid this seemingly big storm.

the meeting lasted about 90 minutes and after much discussion, the managers' concerns were settled.  i was leaving work at 7pm on a friday evening and i still had my calm.

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