Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Monday, September 13, 2004

You Do What You Gotta Do

Today BeeBee had a Post on ‘Nice’. Well, actually it’s a post about her commenting that someone thought she was nice and then the men in her life laughed. Evil Horrible Wicked Men! *Grin* That reminded me of a story. Surprise.

About a year ago, my sister and Mom were in town and a group of my friends wanted to meet them. They thought it would be nice if we went to tea. These were my three best friends in my DAR chapter… women I can call on for anything, women I call just to see how they’re doing, sometimes once a day. Their ages respectively are 52, 73, and 80. And I say that only so you get a better feel for the group. My Mom is early sixties my sister is early thirties.

Well the tea turned into a huge lovefest tea of me. These three friends of mine kept going on and on about how much they loved me and how sweet I am. My Mom is just sitting there smiling. I know the face. It was a combination of pride and astonishment. My sister, the twerp, is staring at them aghast, eyes wide open, looking at them, then at me, but when she heard, “And she is so diplomatic” she nearly lost it. She looked at them and said, “Are we talking about the same person?” It has become this big family joke now. A seriously big joke that my sister brings up at every get together.

She goes on this tirade something like this, “And then they started describing this person I don’t know. I wanted to say, ‘My sister? What are you smokin’?’ She has them all snowed. I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to bust out laughing.” And on and on. My Mom is nicer. She doesn’t say anything. I think when I go on one of my tirades at home though, and she remembers back to what my DAR friends said, she is probably thinking, “I do believe I gave birth to Sybil.”

Even my husband laughs at all this.

I’m known as blunt and insensitive to those around me. I like to think I’m mellowing, but my sister doesn’t think so. I was Regent of my DAR chapter for two years. We’re an old, active, and large chapter. It was an honor when they asked me to take the helm to fix some serious problems and it was a lot of worthwhile work. I was good. I brought a cohesiveness back to the chapter that had been lost in the previous two years due to some bitter infighting.

I learned while working in the corporate environment that one of the most important things a leader can do is communicate. I created an awesome newsletter and anytime something significant occurred, I e-mailed everyone. You also have to have good people working for you to be successful, so you don’t want to alienate. It’s about making them feel good about themselves, perpetually giving credit where it is due and motivating the people around you. In a volunteer organization you WANT people to WANT to be part of the team. So there were times when I would get so angry at someone I could spit, but I would bite my tongue and carry on. Nobody was being paid so it’s not like I could fire them. I had three lists committed to memory: those I could trust to get things accomplished, those I could never trust, and those I wanted to take a chance on when the time arose.

There are many women considerably older than I, most actually, but I worked well with them. It just seemed like a natural fit. I attended funerals of members, spouses and unfortunately, children. I made hospital visits, and many a phone call checking on women I was worried about. In essence, I became the Mother figure to everyone for two years. Me at 36… most of them at 70 – 80 years old. Age never crossed my mind. I don’t see age anymore. I met some perfectly capable wonderfully active women at age 84 and some completely incompetent, wouldn’t trust them to make me a PB&J sandwich at 35.

So I developed a reputation amongst my women. And I say ‘MY’ because I still feel like they are a part of me, although I have only been out of office for 4 months.

When I worked for pay I was not so diplomatic. I was known for many a tirade and I threatened more than one person to pull his tongue out his ear. I had a boss who loved to come get me when people were infighting during meetings, nothing was getting done, then he’d throw me in a room, tell me to fix it and close the door. He said he always felt like he was dropping a bomb in the room. He derived way too much perverse pleasure in that, now that I look back upon it. *grin*

But working for pay is a bit different than working in a volunteer organization. I don’t want it to sound like I wasn’t a good team player at work, I was, I just didn’t take any crap off of anyone and I hated BS. I learned a lot from my best friend Deb… I used to watch her manage her people. Every situation is different and therefore what can be tolerated is different.

And contrary to what my sister says, I can be diplomatic and nice… I just don’t see any need to be so with her! Phht!


Blogger Tammi said...

The first time my sister met any of my friends down here, she did the same thing your's did. The first time my family met my "work family" same thing.

Yes, I'll admit I am a bitch at work. But only if you are not functioning in a way that is best for the team. If you are, I'll take you down. In a heart beat. Otherwise, I agree with you on how to be a leader. I'm good at it. I encourage, mentor, develop, coach and prod. But do something that puts a wrench in my team and you have taken on more than you realize.

My nickname is Bam. And it's for the obvious reason. If I'm comfortable with you, know I can relax my filter - what you see is what you get. In all other situations, you get the "other Tammi". :)

BTW - I think you are sweet and helpful and kind and diplomatic (ok, so no, I don't want to be on the opposite side of the table from you, but let's just make sure that doesn't happen!)

11:36 PM  
Blogger Quality Weenie said...

I surprise the hell out of people at work when the "bitch" comes out.

I am very easy to get along with if you play nice with me. The minute you break that trust I get hard nosed, if you break that then the bitch comes out.

I actually went all bitch on a supplier one day and they actually called my boss back and apologized to him for them acting that way to me and said they were afraid to call me right then so would he relay the message to me.

Boss man came to me laughing so hard he couldn't stand straight. He nick named me the pitbull.

7:48 AM  
Blogger VW said...

Ok, just once I want to be a fly on the wall at one of these meetings where you are being diplomatic. Grin. I must say, you do have the patience of Job with children... so maybe you can transfer some of that to diplomacy with irritating people... just maybe.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Lee Ann said...

I'm very sweet and nice and there are times I have to be a bit more "firm". Very few times has the "bitch" come out, but when she does, she gets things done.

I've been told by many people that I can be intimidating...I don't see it. I'm a pussy cat. But if you don't want me playing by the same rules, don't tell me them. Once I know them, I'll play just as hard.
{lol} GAME ON! :D

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm ALWAYS nice. To EVERYONE. ALL the time. 'Cause that's just the way I am.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Boudicca said...

Phht. Who do they say I inherited my lovely personality from??? HMMM, TGOO?

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What gets me still was the laughter those two guys enjoyed. Sat at my table and just about died laughing. Both of them took turns saying "nice" and then they would start laughing again. Men.


2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who on earth has ever said you were nice?
Not even Ivan would make such a statement.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Boudicca said...

Ha! I know who posted that last comment! *Grin*

4:48 PM  

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