It’s been two months since I got the new gig and to be honest, It’s felt more like eight years.
“Hey Shenequa, on Thursday, print out all your task assignments and writing you’ve done so we can talk about your progress thus far.” Bossman said.
A sharp-hot fear ran down my spine. He didn’t drop the E-word but I knew this “sit down” was a pre-game to an evaluation.
Throughout the week I gathered all my assignments I completed, and finished some I never got a chance to start.
“Shenequa, you ready? Let’s step outside get some coffee or something.”
The sky was bruised with blotches of purples and strawberry-reds as the sun was setting. Bossman wrapped his arms around his chest and fought through the cold while we made our way to a cozy bakery.
“You want something? Coffee? Tea?
“Tea with honey, please.”
Bossman walked over to our window seat which overlooked Midtown during rush hour. It was then I put my manila envelope with assignments on the table.
“So Shenequa wassup? How we doing? How we feeling?
“I’m well,” I said.
“Yeah. I’m good,” I said as I sipped my tea.
“I know you well enough to know when you’re hiding something.”
Bossman was right. Between trying to balance writing at the gig, being his assistant and the constant meeting-after- meeting vortex I was being sucked into, I was having a hard time getting all my work done.
PEEP: Bossman Diaries: I’m Not Going To Tell You You’re Great.
“I think I need to get better with my time management,” I said. “That, and I hate the editing the process.”
“What do you mean?” Bossman asked while peeling a banana.
“When I was in my old newsroom, my editor would give me an assignment, I’d do my reporting, hand the story in, she’d edit it and that be it,” I said. “Here, I can do a story, and then go through two or three edits and it still not be right. I wrote my Lincoln review four times!”
“Well listen,” he said in between bites of his banana” “It’ll be right when it’s right.”
“You’re a good writer, Shenequa. You’re not great so it’s going to take several edits before you get it right,” Bossman said. “So this one-off shit you think is going to happen…”
We both laughed.
“But I feel like I’m wasting time,” I said.
“You’re not wasting time. Writing is re-writing. You know that. It took you four times to get your story done because your voice wasn’t there. When you put your voice there, that’s when it was right”
As usual, Bossman was right. I tried writing that particular review the way I thought it should be written, not the way I would normally write it. Okay, two points for him.
“The only thing I can say is now you aren’t as focused as you were when you got here.”
*Uppercut to ego and work ethic*
“What do you mean?” I asked already knowing the answer to my own question.
“Look, for the most part, you’re doing great work. But when you first got here, you had this laser-sharp focus. Now it seems like you’re a bit all over the place,” Bossman said.
If you’re a career-hungry Jane like myself, hearing that your focus has fallen off, even slightly will place you on suicide watch. I could’ve argued I have more responsibility and all the meetings I have to attend, but that’s a portion of it. To be honest, I’ve gotten to know my co-workers and we’re a chatty bunch. Every time a topic or conversation pops up, I’m right in the middle of it. If I would like to remain employed, that’s gotta stop.
“Okay,” I said finishing my tea. “I’ll get back to that laser-sharp focus.”
“Good! So, you’re gonna stay with me for another month or so?”
“Bet! You’re gonna up my pay?” I asked.
“Yeah, aight.” Bossman laughed.
Lesson Of The Day: Stay Focused. Don’t Mess Up A Good Thing