05 April 2008

Letter 5

Dear Dad,
Growing up I always wanted to be you...except for the smoking thing. I always thought you had such a great mind, a great head on your shoulders, and a wit that was awesome.

I've been thinking about you a lot this week. It's not an anniversary of your birthday or deathday or anything like that. It's just a lot of things happening in my life are making me think about you.

One of my memories of you is going to the tiny city hall when you left the city council. We were all gathered around and the mayor gave you a plaque for all your hard work. At the bottom it had a quote:

"Well, it's only my opinion but..."

I chuckled at the time because as a young kid I laughed because the adults laughed. I didn't get it. But this week I really felt the full impact of that quote.

The funny thing about that quote is that you were really a quiet man. You contemplated things. You were one to think before speaking (I really wish I could learn that trait). But when you spoke you always started with, "Well, it's only my opinion but..." and you'd continue with your thoughts. What was interesting to me is that I know when you said those words your colleagues would sit up straight and listen. At that moment, they wanted and needed to hear what your thoughts were - whether they agreed or not.

I decided this week I need to adopt this statement. As I said, I don't have your tact to think first before speaking my thoughts. It often gets me in trouble - venting about something to the wrong person and when later rereading the issue I find that it wasn't as bad as I initially thought. Or when I start to comment about a situation - even on an email - and people take it as if that's what has to happen. It's a little scary to think that people would even contemplate that if I speak it becomes law, but lately it seems like that.

Of course, part of this is to CMA*, as we say, because one of my colleagues has this great habit of replying to all on emails - or adding in additional people. Example: we're looking to find individuals in our workplace who meet a certain criteria. I mentioned one person and said I was going to talk with Boss1 and Mungie Boy about other persons. Well, this colleague replied to all on the email and basically criticized my idea.

It was frustrating - not only because my idea was immediately ground into the ground like you used to do with your booted foot to your cigarette - but because it wasn't just to me, but to everyone. And I still believe my idea would be a good candidate.

But despite that, I'm really going to start using your statement - "Well, it's only my opinion but..." because then I can at least feel better about my comments and maybe not feel so pathetic every time I make a comment.

I'm also going to really try to think first before I speak, and vent only to my venting post. It seems anytime I speak to anyone else, it comes back to bite me in the ass. I need to rely on my trusted agents and only them.

God, I miss you, Dad. I could really benefit from your guidance these days. I love you.

p.s. I'm going to check with mom and see if she still has your plaque. Maybe I can get it and hang it in my office as a remembrance. Maybe that'd help.

*cover my ass - you can do that too!

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