Mid-last month, while in a meeting with colleagues, I heard a distinctive voice I recognised.
A new colleague 'Jarad' was heading up the project. I remember thinking, 'I'm glad he's on staff to manage this.' It is a project that has seen several changes of staff so far. Unfortunately, as he stood up and walked to the whiteboard to map out the flowchart, I heard that familiar voice say
'take notes. He's not going to be here for much longer.'
I have a fairly robust interaction with this particular Messenger, and my mind was instantly reactive (if not a little combative).
What the fuck?!! What do you mean by that? Where is he going?
Jarad's enthusiasm about the project was obvious and I quickly became angry. If he wasn't going to see the project through, I immediately thought he was deceiving us about his commitment to the role.
Are you saying he's lying to us? Why would he do that?
For the remainder of the meeting I struggled to take notes, while at the same time I was firing off my questions, listening to the answers and also attempting to scan a couple of my colleagues I was sure also heard the initial voice. (I look back on this moment with amusement. Typical in these moments. Argue. Debate. Who else heard?)
By the end of the meeting I was convinced Jarad honestly didn't know he was not going to see out the project.
Sometime over the next 24 hours, he heard from relatives overseas and he booked to fly home for family reasons. Within the next 48 hours, he'd put in for a few weeks off work.
A short time later, a colleague who'd been at the meeting asked me what I thought about the project and specifically about his role in the project. I thought it was a really odd question to ask. She also asked me three times in about five minutes.
After deflecting her twice, on the third time I told her what I'd heard and what I knew to be true - he was not returning from overseas anytime soon. She sighed. Deeply. In that moment, I suspected part of her knew.
I said, 'there's nothing you can do based on what I've just told you. You'll need to wait until you hear from him directly, before you can take any action or make any decision.'
She nodded. For the first time I understood the discomfort someone else might feel to have the experience of knowing or understanding things before they happen.
I am familiar with the time-lag. That folding-in of time. Eventually. That ‘mean-time’.
The waiting. Suspending action until other events, people or decisions manifest before taking action or responding to what I know, seen or heard is going to occur.
We didn't wait long. Just over two weeks later he'd resigned.
On the one hand this 'knowing' is an amazing privilege. It's also a tension. I've lost count of the times where the outcome or impact of a decision or an action. To speak up about it, has always been an invitation to be maligned, ignored or worse.
In the meantime, I keep these moments of forth-telling and fore-telling to myself.
There's also a part of me that asks '...and so?'
21 November 2017