On Quiet Power: A Diamond in the Rough

It was 7:00 a.m. at the specialty care hospital. I was visiting my dad before my 20-minute drive into the office. He asked me how things were going with my job. I shared something that I was having a tough time with, a decision I felt was being forced upon me. I told him about my plan to speak up for a change today, instead of just going with the flow. He had words of support & wisdom for me, or as he would often joke, “words of wit from a nit wit”. I kissed my dad goodbye for the day. I did not know it yet, but these would be the last words I hear him speak in his solid, strong tone before his voice turned into a whisper later that day. As I am walking out of the door. He is smiling at me & he says, Go kick some butt, baby! & gives me the thumbs up

I had heard rumblings that my boss wanted to shuffle me hastily off project A at a critical time in project A’s juncture. -off Project A and onto Project B. He also wanted me to do this while at the same time training up a new software tester.

It was the 1st time in a year that I was really into and excited about what I was doing, I was solely focused on software testing. Actually testing & sitting alongside engineers again. I was having a solid impact helping the team. At that time, I knew that training up the new tester would be taxing on me and on the project. I was not in the habit of saying “no” or “not now” to my boss.

I did not do anything dramatic, but I did something differently. I had already had one-on-one discussions with the engineering lead & product management lead about my proposed move. I had their buy-in. They wanted me with them for 2 more months & we agreed on why it mattered. I had a deferred proposed ramp-up plan for the new tester. These 2 guys sat beside me in the discussion with my boss. I said “no, not now & here is why and how”. And I had these guys for backup. Simple, right?

My boss said “ok”. Oh, wow, it’s that easy!? I thought.
What my dad knew already, which I was only beginning to realize at that time, is this. Though I am an outgoing, yet calm & quiet person, I do have influence, I do have power.

*Musical accompaniment: My Morning Jacket’s Victory Dance

Closing comments on this exercise

Hunter, my now husband… when I first met him, complimented to me that my own dad was a “Diamond in the Rough.” He had just spent an hour visiting with my dad and uncle. His astute observation about my dad prompted me to take notice of him. This post – a StorySkills Workshop prompt and part of the WriteSteak challenge – seems to be a continuation of a love letter to my dad that had its start in the altMBA.com.

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