Pancakes with Professionals

Every few weeks, a friend who is also a young businesswoman and I meet for breakfast at a local favorite grub spot. I always order the buckwheat pancakes, and she gets a fancier kind.

So last week I was surprised when we met. First off, my friend plunked herself down on the wooden dining chair and varied her order. What? Something is seriously wrong, I gathered.

Wanting to get off on the right foot, I began our meal together by talking about a web show I was watching and enjoying the heck out of it. But, unfortunately, my professional friend wanted no part of it. She wasn’t having any creative ideas or encouraging news or show watching or good anything!

She had me dead to rights because, in the past, our mid-morning breakfasts together were filled with ideas and plans and possibilities.

This morning, it wasn’t going so well, and I was puzzled.

Some background here is necessary. You see, this young woman has always been the life of the party; she doesn’t have a bad day, ever. And now this?

As we talked, I asked a few pertinent questions, and she blurted out the truth. She hates her job, period.

She. Hates. Her. Job.

I sat stunned because this young person had never talked about the negatives of her job; it had always been more about other staff, vacation, benefits, and working from her home office.

So what changed? We talked some more. As I understood her explanation, she is looking at the possibility of going back to the office workspace quite soon. She will be leaving her pets, working in her cubicle while older managers glance over their partitions to ensure her eyes are on the screen and she is working.

I called it out. This office environment has serious micro-management tendencies from managers who haven’t figured out that many employees can work independently and get their jobs done on time, every time.

On the one hand, this is her dilemma. She is a qualified, well-compensated woman doing the work and getting to it every day, without fail, earning high marks on projects well done, still clocking in by the internet, and focusing on performance standards. But, on the other, she can’t stomach the thought of spending her professional life in an office being visually monitored.

I hadn’t a solution that morning, but what I did do was hear her out. And as she spoke, she came up with possibilities. And that was precisely what this pancake breakfast was about, spending time with a friend, listening to problems, and after some minutes of back and forth ideas, waiting for one or a few solutions to show themselves. She came up with a few, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that one works out.

By the way, I didn’t recommend the web flick.



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Marleen Geyen

Marleen Geyen

The best part of me shows up in my writing about business ownership, leadership, family, personal relationships, travel and what I learn from human interaction.