I just got home from spending the day at an ESOP Conference up in B-Town. What is an ESOP you ask? Employee Stock Ownership Plan (look it up!). Yup, I work for one… and went to a conference where they had seminars and stuff about them… which also had me start my day at 5:30am with a nice little drive across The Green Mountain State. It was one of those beautiful drives where you would crest a hill to see a bed of fog at the bottom of a green valley. It’s funny to think that the hills are gonna just get more green… “make you thirsty” green. Anyways, the hills made the postcards proud this morning.
Honestly, I’m not exactly sure what this is about. I was about to go play some guitar in the garage… because I’m sure my neighbors really enjoy it when I do!… but just felt I needed to get back to this… Thirty Days of Mo(u)rning. I had a thought I wanted to get down, but by the time my computer got all booted up… it was gone… or at least morphed into a mish mosh of 25 other thoughts! That seems to happen a lot lately. Almost 14 months into this and the overwhelming/confused/sorta lost aspect of losing Kateri hasn’t diminished as much as I expected. The loneliness aspect is starting to set in again. I’m staying on top of everything I need to and there are things I enjoy… but it currently still sucks balls.
I was going to throw something on FB saying I was heading up to see if anyone was around… but I didn’t. Then after the conference I was gonna text this person or that person or swing by that family’s home around the corner… but I didn’t. I just wanted to get home. One strange thing about this experience is I want to reconnect with so many people… I want to start spending time with friends and meet new ones. I want to do fun things like camp or hit a show or simply have a nice dinner. I want to keep people in my world and not let them slip away because we were all just “living our lives”. But at the same time… I want solitude. I want to be alone to have the peace and quiet as my mind tries to wrap itself around what it is that I’m actually doing with my life… what it is that makes me happy. I feel I need time to take care of all the things that need attention, which cuts into time for other things… like people. It’s kinda messed up.
OK… back to the ESOP Conference (Yes Keith… ESOP). I really enjoyed it. It was informative. They had comfortable chairs. I liked everyone I was there with. It was nice to change up my week. I learned something at every workshop that I’ll be able to take back to work with me and hopefully have a positive impact on my department as well as the company. But what has been on my mind since the last twenty minutes of the last workshop was… the last twenty minutes of the last workshop.
The Best Way to Engage Employee Owners: Tell a Story… that was the last workshop. In the last twenty minutes, the last exercise was that we were to tell our partners our story of why we work for an ESOP… why we stay working at an ESOP. Jay told me a story that happened the other day which reinforced his reasons of why he works at our company and when it was my turn… I told him I would have to go with what the company was able to give me when Kateri was sick, when she passed, and afterwards. Time… and that whole story.
After this little exercise is what has been on my mind. Once the room settled down and was quiet again, one of the speakers asked if anyone wanted to share their story… silence. You could see the panic in some people’s eyes… and I heard my muffled name come from the peanut gallery behind us as a fellow KAFer egged me on to tell a story. The speaker took a few steps up the center aisle and asked, “Is there anyone willing to tell their story?”. Again… silence… and I said fuck it! (I didn’t literally say it… just in my head) I figured this was an opportunity to see how I would do standing up in front of people… while talking. It was an opportunity to push the ol’ comfort levels. It was an opportunity to share something that adds humanity to the conversation of business. And to be frank, if I want to see where TDoM takes me…? if I really do want to get my story out there…? I need to tell it… so I took the opportunity to do just that. When not a single other person even made a hint of wanting to ramble off a random story… that they had just formulated in the last five minutes… in front of 40-50 people… I did.
Now… I think it may have been a little heavy for the audience. I don’t think anyone was expecting an Axeless Mountain Dwarf to stand up in front of them and start with, “I came to an ESOP for the benefits, quality of life, blah blah blah…” and then take the turn into how our company, “gave me time… when my wife got sick. They gave me time to hold her when she took her last breath. And they gave me time in the weeks afterwards.” I spoke about why I am forever grateful to the people I work next to, day in and day out, who have supported me through this big pile of shi… poop… and why I believe the culture an ESOP fosters is just as important as the retirement fund it creates. Nope… I don’t think they were expecting that. But neither was I.
I’ve gone back and forth for the last few hours wondering if I should’ve just sat there with the rest of the crowd… but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m happy I did it. It was a good thing for me to do. Although I hope I didn’t put a damper on everyone’s day, I’m comfortable with the experience. After the workshop was over, I was approached by Barbara as she thanked me for sharing my story. David (the other speaker) also stuck around and the three of us had a conversation. David has authored a couple of books and after my whole blog and “book” idea (which I haven’t done anything about) came up in the conversation, he gave me his card and said I could use him as a resource… networking!
The conversation with Barbara and David after getting up in front of strangers to tell my story is one of the reasons I’m glad I decided to say “Fuck It”. Was it a bit much of a story for that environment?… maybe. Do I regret doing it?… no. Do I think it people took something away from it?… yes. What that is?… I’m not sure.. but by the looks on people’s faces… it made an impact!
Widower Notes n Thoughts:
- My phone says the Bruins are still playing… so I can’t trim the beard. I still have no idea about hockey.
- I haven’t checked to see if Kateri’s emails have reached 6,000 yet.
- Fire pits are wonderful things to sit by and think. It doesn’t hurt that burning things is fun.
- The geraniums finally went outside and I cleaned up the front room… and then brought one geranium back in… because I’m afraid of killing all three! (picture is before I brought it back in… there aren’t any geraniums in that picture. There’s a Brugmansia, Hibiscus… if I remember correctly, Aloe that I finally put in a pot… but no Geranium)
- Being alone kinda sucks, but its probably for the best when you can smell your own feet… and it grosses you out.
ps… yup, smack the little follow button if you want…? or maybe the like button…? maybe…?