Thursday, October 11, 2007

Timing is Everything

I've been thinking a lot lately about the timing of my surgery and if I can actually get everything to happen in a timely manner. Timing has been on my mind for the past few weeks ...I work for a large organization and am on the staff of the CEO’s administration. Technically, I have 4 bosses. Kelly is my direct supervisor – she’s the office manager. Bob is the speech writer / media dude for the CEO – I’m his secretary/assistant. Nancy is the human resources director – I’m also her secretary/assistant. Then there’s the CEO who is also technically my boss… so that makes 4.

For the past couple days, I had been having a big discussion with Kelly about the scheduling issues surrounding my surgery. Right now she’s trying to deal with all the requests for time off from other staffers around the holidays and since my surgery schedule is still up in the air, it’s causing problems for her and might result in some people getting denied for their holiday time off requests. Which would not be good because she’d have to deny their request but not be able to tell them why (since I don't want the news of my surgery to be shared with anyone in the office besides my bosses until I actually have a date).

Another Snag --- the big annual, year-end speech by the CEO is scheduled for February 7th. This is probably the single biggest project/event that my boss (the speech-writer & the CEO) deals with throughout the year. It takes Bob about 5-6 weeks worth of research, writing and editing to finish the speech and pass it off to the CEO in time for him to make any additional changes before the final version is complete. Bob normally starts interviewing managers and department heads by early to mid-December to begin his research. I deal with the scheduling of those 20-30 meetings. Then he writes the first draft of the speech over the Christmas holiday and returns afterward with about 6 tapes of dictation for me to start typing. Then for the next 3 weeks or so he edits the first draft dramatically… with me making all the changes to the typed copy. And in the midst of all this speech writing/editing, I’m dealing with the organization for this huge event. So yeah, it’s just a speech, but it’s a pretty big deal --- lots of logistics that need to be dealt with, committee meetings, signing, department display booths, reserved seating for 350+ guests of local dignitaries, media coordination to help with, tv crews, big party afterward to deal with …… and since I’m the assistant to the speech writer, I get to deal with all those details. So I can’t be gone during that time. I need to be in the office between about December 20th and February 7th for the bulk of this work.

Something else to consider ... I know many people say that they have been back to work within 2 weeks after their laparoscopic surgery. But I don’t want to go back that soon. I am planning to take 4 weeks off after surgery. Why so long? A couple reasons –

  1. My job isn’t close to home and I have a 90 minute commute each way. So I’m gone for nearly 12 hours per day just to work a normal 8-hour day. I don’t want to push myself too quickly and end up too fatigued when dealing with the long days. And I have read that most people notice a dramatic difference in their energy level at about week-4.
  2. I haven’t had a vacation in 2 years because I have been hording my vacation and personal time for the surgery. I do have short-term disability, but will also need to use some of my vacation time to make up the difference. While I have the chance, I want to take a little bit extra time to really acclimate myself to the changes I need to make without feeling rushed to go back to work. I also want to progress to the soft-food stage before I even think about going back to a 12 hour workday.

Because of this decision to take a full 4 weeks, it is causing some of these scheduling issues around the holidays.

So I’ve made a decision about the date and timing of my surgery.

If I can’t secure a surgery date that happens before Thanksgiving, so I can be back before Christmas, then I’ll postpone the surgery until after February 7th.

No. I am not happy about that decision. In fact, it makes me a bit teary just thinking about having to wait another 3 or 4 months. But I know it’s got to be done. And by making this decision on my own, rather then being told by my boss it’s what I have to do… it makes it easier to accept. I've told Kelly about this decision and she was very appreciative of my willingness to be flexible.

I know that the magnitude of this speech project needs to be dealt with and to ask someone else to handle the huge event isn’t fair – not fair to my co-worker who’d have to step in and deal with it; not fair to my speech-writer boss who would have to take on the added stress of training someone new at the last minute; not fair to my office-manager boss who would need to juggle the holiday schedule of all the other employees to accommodate my schedule and not fair to my co-workers who want/need time off for family obligations during the holidays who wouldn’t get to take the time off they’ve asked for because my spot would need to be covered.

So I’ll postpone if I need to. But I’m going to do everything in my power over the next 3 or 4 weeks to get a date secured before Thanksgiving. I really want to begin my WLS journey. I’ve waited long enough. I’m anxious to start.

More later …

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