Saturday, November 13, 2010

Taking Control

Last night, as I was wandering through Facebook (not sure how one does that, but I did), I came across a very, very large number of people I used to know in a former worklife.

I was somewhat stunned to realize that there so many of them; literally several hundred people with whom I once interacted on a regular basis. (I came across them as Facebook friends when I stumbled across just a few people I once knew as members of an organization I once managed.)

While I was never best buddies with any of them, I was fairly close to a few and I sent those three of four people "Friend" requests from Facebook. This morning, I'm wondering if that was a good idea. When I left that organization, it was under unhappy conditions.

I had grown increasingly unhappy with its board of directors and had found the board, to which I reported, populated with not-so-bright people with big and unwarranted egos. Finally, my disdain for them was obvious and we went head-to-head and, of course, I lost. They were, after all, the board that controlled the organization. While I was the CEO, I was only an employee. They refused to renew my contract and asked me to leave. While I left on financially solid ground (they had to buy me out for the remainder of the calendar year, which had about 10 months left in it), I left with a bitterness that has never completely dissipated. So, that's why I wonder whether it was a good idea to reconnect and, consequently, reopen some pretty nasty feelings I have tried to leave buried.

Even though the people to whom I sent the friend requests were not on the board at the time (I would sooner eat hot coals than give any member of that board the time of day), they remain engaged and connected with those board members. So opening a connection to those people might open a connection I don't want to open.

When I left that organization, I learned that all the "friendships" I developed during my seven-plus years there were based on my position, not on myself. When I left, I felt as if all the people with whom I had been (for me) close simply switched off the power and switched it on again with a new relationship with a new person (my successors) who had some value to them. My confidence in human nature, which has never been terribly strong, was shaken to the core. Oh, I've always believed people are usually dependable and reliable when it comes to family and a few friends, but I've also believed that dependability and reliability ebbs quickly once outside that sphere. But I had been lulled into believing that sphere had been enlarged. And when I left that organization, the sphere collapsed as though it were a balloon that had been suddenly ripped open to have its supporting structure of air removed.

None of this is getting me anywhere, is it? I've opened the door and will just have to ensure it doesn't open too wide. I'm a believer in the principle that others don't control your emotions unless you let them. I also believe I tend to let them. I must take control of my own for awhle.

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