A wooden heart kept his office door propped open, an invitation to enter. Monday morning, his boss knocked briskly on the opened door, then poked his head in.
“Remember the performance review this afternoon, s.h. Lot’s to discuss”…and he was gone.
s.h. sat at his desk, his head bowed. What was going on? This project that had flowed seamlessly for months, even years, was suddenly presenting problems.…and not just simple problems.
s.h. sighed. This project, a small but necessary area he was responsible for, was simply not working. No matter what he tried, s.h. was at a loss to discover the key to the problem.
I don’t understand, he whispered. What changed? Day in, day out, I ran this project without even thinking about it. Nothing with the project has changed, so the problem must be…me.
At the performance review, s.h.’s boss was bewildered. “Figure it out, s.h.! Enough messing around. Just get it done!!”
s.h. returned to his desk, more frustrated than ever. His boss just didn’t understand…and frankly, neither did he.
The days passed. The issues with the project remained unsolved. s.h. began to dread his boss’s entrance into his office.
“Don’t forget the performance review!”
How could he forget? His failure to perform was always on his mind, especially as he saw others continuing on effortlessly in their projects, projects that once came easily to him as well. What was wrong with him?
“s.h.!! What is your problem? No one else is having these issues! Look…” his boss’s voice softened. “I’ll give you a nice bonus if you get the project working again!
“Grrrrrr! s.h. wanted to scream. In some ways, the incentives made the problem worse. You think I am trying this? I want that bonus, yes, but I can’t get it because I can’t change the problem…because I don’t know what the problem is!!
Before long, s.h. found himself growing tense each morning, anticipating the need to confront both the project, and his failure, once again. Tense, anticipating his boss’s knock on the open door. “Performace review coming up today.”
How s.h. related to his co-workers changed. His inner struggle exploded on those around him. The confusion, plummeting self esteem, and his hopeless future tangled him up inside.
He used to love going to the break room, laughing with his co-workers and catching up on their progress with their projects.
But now he found it easier to stay in his office during breaks. It was easier to try and forget his failures. Easier to block out the pity of others and their obvious success.
One day, s.h. finally kicked away the doorstop and closed his door.