I’ve been MIA from this beloved blog lately – belated welcome to new members, appreciation to guest post authors and interviewees! – and I’ve missed you all, terribly. You see, IRL I work at a small not-for-profit, and we are currently merging with another small not-for-profit. It’s the right thing to do for both our companies, but as with most changes, there are challenges.
Many, many challenges.
There are two that are foremost in my mind right now. The first is managing the change, with all of the emotional peaks, valleys, twists, turns, frustrations, anticipations, and so on that come with change. Keeping my team focused on the operational work is tough during this time of anxiety and unknowns; tougher still when I don’t have the answers they crave. The second is the merging of two very distinct cultures. We’re a New England-based company. We’re merging with a southern company. Both are lovely, full of hard-working, dedicated employees who believe in the work that they do.
But, we do it very differently. We’re in different geographical regions, have compatible but different business models, and very different histories. It’s a fascinating, challenging, and sometimes (often) overwhelming process. Because we’re located in very different places, merging our cultures will take an extended period of time. We don’t have the opportunity to see each other much, exist in each other’s spaces, learn by observing and interacting. We have few departments that overlap, and while that’s good from a “I get to keep my job” stand-point, it also means we’re merging without merging. Relationships are growing more slowly than we might wish, and there’s a significant level of confusion while the executive team works out details in the background.
Which means that right now, I’m not doing a lot of anything that isn’t work-related. I work until I’m too tired to think, and then I read because I’m too wired to sleep, but also too tired to write. A few blog posts back, Kait talked about her challenging summer, and how she came to realize that it was okay to pause, to perhaps focus on reading instead of writing for a bit while she healed, physically and emotionally. My challenges are far more mundane and impersonal, but I realized that I too need to give myself permission to pause. It’s okay to just read for a while, and enjoy the many beautiful, amazing stories out there.
When it’s time, I know I’ll have a overwhelming basket of story ideas and characters and situations that will emerge from this crazy time at my company. Personal drama, potential intrigue (we have none, but I can see where it could exist), culture clashes – oh, a giant merger picnic, with everyone bringing regional dishes and then something goes wrong and. . .so many ideas! Suddenly, I’m envisioning a corporation-based mystery series, kind of Dilbert-meets-Key West Food Critic (that’s a compliment to the amazing Lucy Burdette, who writes the amazing Key West Food Critic series).
While I’m at this point of low creativity, I’m binge-reading. I’m behind on my Diane Vallere and Becky Clark books, and I’ve got a Kellye Garrett burning a hole in my TBR pile. Plus, the latest Hank Phillippi Ryan, the new Paula Munier, the. . .well, clearly I have choices. Suddenly, this time of pausing doesn’t seem so bad! I’m looking forward to having a more settled existence, but until then, I have plenty of reading to keep me grounded, entertained, and inspired. Aren’t I lucky?