Wednesday, December 26, 2012


In the early evening of December 13th I was trying to balance a retirement party for a dear acquaintance and former colleague, and dinner with my future mother-in-law. A meeting at work ran late and I decided to skip the retirement party, rationalizing to myself, "I'm terrible at big parties (which is true) and I can make a date to see my friend later."

The person whose retirement party I missed had a heart attack the following day, on Friday, December 14th. He was hospitalized, and died eleven days later, on Christmas morning. His name was Peter Lee.

I never sent Peter a card.

I'll never have the opportunity to catch up with Peter one-on-one afterwards.

He wasn't a close friend. But I'm pissed that I didn't stand up for myself and leave that work meeting when I said I would leave the work meeting. Instead, I let the slow-talking consultant take an extra 25 minutes of my time, when I had made it clear I didn't have the time, to reiterate points to the assembled group that I already knew. I did this because I had been arguing with the consultant about the soundness of his practice and his inability to define his deliverables and his timelines ahead of time. Because I felt bad about being firm with him on the phone, I politely acquiesced when he took extra time at the meeting on December 13th.

And now I've missed the opportunity to tell Peter Lee how much I appreciated working with and learning alongside him.

I'm pissed at myself for once again letting my work relationships get in the way of my life relationships.

1 comment:

Meg said...

Making my own priorities a priority is not my strong suit. I feel somehow like I'm ditching someone or letting someone down when I want to choose my own life over my work life. Maybe it's a function of having overly self-sacrificing parents, and thinking this is what hard work or a good work ethic "looks like."

But no one is going to remember or care if I left on time when someone else made things late, and if they do, that's a problem THEY have, not me.

Why is that so hard to remember?

I'm so sorry for your loss.