Friday, September 5, 2008

What Would You Advise?

What I'm about to describe isn't necessarily a real scenario. And it isn't necessarily my scenario. But it's a scenario that deserves more than flip answers. I ask you, if you choose to comment, that you try to understand that this could be real. So don't treat it as unimportant or trivial. If it's real, it's not trivial. It is so goddamned NOT trivial.

Let's assume you run a small business.

You have commitments to your clients and customers, your staff, and your suppliers. Because the company is your livelihood, you have commitments to your spouse with regard to managing the company effectively and ensuring that it brings in enough revenue to provide a decent salary and, if you're lucky, to cover your health insurance. You have obligations to your staff to provide, to the extent you can, health insurance and vacation and time off.

You have commitments, too, to your landlord, the company that holds the lease on your photocopier, the company with which you have contracted for local and long distance telephone service, your insurance company...you get the idea. You have a boatload of commitments.

Now, let's assume your business is a professional services firm that, while not rocket science to operate, is not a easy "market" because prospective buyers would be paralyzed at having to learn what, to them, seems exceptionally complex and very, very high tier. So, selling the business is a long-term prospect that may never work.

Finally, let's assume that, as owner of the company, you have burned out. Totally. Completely. You wake up dreading the trip to the office. When you get to the office you procrastinate to an extraordinary degree. You dislike what you are doing and you dislike your clients and, yes, you dislike many of your staff. You don't like what you're doing. But you're trapped and you don't know how to get out.

Getting out from under this morass of leaden boxes and agonizing interactions seems impossible.

Now, with all of that as a backdrop, what do you do? Who do you disappoint? Who do you let down? Who do you write off? Who do you abandon?

Yes, of course, you long to load your clothes into a van, hit the road, and work in national parks and diners to get by. You envision yourself doing what you didn't do as a new college graduate. But you know that's more of a dream, an impossible dream, today than it was 30 years ago.

How do you react to this environment that strangles you and chokes you and causes you to seek the solace of a bathroom with a fan so your sobs and tears and choking cough don't become the center of attention?

Do you buck up, get a grip, and soldier on? Do you actually abandon your responsibilities and hope for understanding? Do you try to get through the worst of it by taking a few days off and hoping the respite will enable you to cope, knowing that, eventually, a solution will present itself?

Again, bear in mind that this scenario might well be manufacturered...from the ground up. But you don't know whether it is or it isn't. Assuming that it isn't, what advice would you give to the business owner?

4 comments:

bee said...

follow your heart. it will show you the way. not necessarily the easy wa, but a way nevertheless. if you are not content, you cannot make those around you content. all the best.

Springer Kneeblood said...

Thank you, bee. That's good advice, but I wonder how many of us really know where that leads.

YourFireAnt said...

You cannot make those around you content even if you are content. But, that's not your job.

Sounds like your life is calling you.

FA

KathyR said...

This sounds like how I felt about practicing law. I'd come out of the bathroom and head back to our suite and wish that the floor would open and swallow me before I touched the doorknob. Getting my name on the door did nothing to improve that.

I agree with Teresa that while you may have responsibilities to all of the people you mentioned, you aren't responsible for their happiness or contentment. You don't have that kind of power.

No assvice from me. I just wish you luck.