Thursday, November 14, 2019

Upset Debbie

I met Deborah today. She had a very specific need to come back and get her car at 2 pm. She cannot leave her destination before 2 PM and she needs to be picked up at 2 pm. At 2 PM.

She’s very angry because her service was only supposed to take an hour and now it’s going to take four hours. She already talked to her service advisor and our service manager about the expectations set for her and the new, apparent reality.

And I, of course, tried to gently give her the idea that there were five advisors making promises for one (1) shuttle driver. Me.

I asked her to do me a favor and call her advisor again. I said it doesn’t mean as much from me as if you tell them yourself.

I told her I liked the way she comported herself.  Her directness. The delivery of ideas and speech.

"Oh let me guess," I said "you have something to do with negotiations or teaching or ..."

She interrupted me and said "Oh, I’m just gonna let you roll on."

And I said "you're an attorney?" which was the very word I was going to say before she interrupted me.

I got it exactly right. No wasted guesses. She is a negotiator. She was a French teacher. And she went, at the age of 32, and had some career counseling. The first two hits were off - she was too old for the military service. And the second one was an IRS agent. Not her at all.

And the third one (I called it on the nose) did not fit her idea of herself either. And so she said she was going to have to tell her husband how I read her like a book.

So she went to school to be a French teacher. And it wasn’t what you thought it was going to be. She did not tell me how long but she didn’t like the minutia, the paperwork, the babysitting.

All of the downside of teaching wasn’t what she thought and she decided to get out. But friends and relatives were chastising her about wasting all that education and she said it right out loud "No education is ever wasted." She said "In my job now I educate all the time. I educate on a daily basis. I need to explain things to people do what I want them to do. So there was no waste in my education."

After a stint in the family business it became clear that her father was not going to let go of his baby, not even to a family member, certainly not to a daughter no matter how many times they all drew up plans for succession.

She didn’t think 'the law' sounded like her either but she thought she would give it a try. She wasn’t going to fall victim to that completion trap paradigm. "if I don’t like it I’ll bail." she told me.

At any rate she applied to Marquette. They said they were going to take six weeks to process her application but the next day she got a phone call or a message that said not only do we want you but 'we have money for you'. She said "I’m very pragmatic. I don’t believe in signs from the universe. I don’t think that things happen for a reason necessarily. But this does seem pretty clear to me."

So at six months in, one day in class, she had the thought that she enjoyed the law. She enjoyed it. After that she put the idea of not finishing to rest and went right ahead.

As an attorney she negotiates contracts and employee / employer arbitration cases and may never see the inside of a courtroom on the job.

We had a lovely discussion about her father with the broken hip at 93. He can’t wait to get on with his therapy - he’s on two bowling leagues. He’s very motivated to get back to his regular life.

She and her siblings are trying to make things happen for him. Life is going to be different. She and her three siblings are all getting a little loopy because they’re all double teaming the dad and the facility and they’re not sleeping either.

She talked almost the whole time. I did not share or describe myself ,my life, or my background. None of it. She wasn't interested. I’m actually kind of proud of me.

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