Will Unwound #849: Humble PieNovember 1, 2013
When I went to library school back in 1970, I never expected my professional career to culminate the way it did. In 2000 I was promoted from library director to city manager of Tempe, AZ. In my new role I was responsible for 16 city departments, 2,000 full time employees, 1,000 part time employees, and 4 public service unions. It was a big job and I was proud that the Mayor and City Council had the confidence to hire me for it.
But when I retired in 2008, I didn’t miss it a bit. In fact I was relieved. The pressures had gotten to me, I was burned out, and I knew in my heart of hearts that a national search would produce a new manager who would do a better job than me.
It is now 2013 and I have enjoyed the freedom of not having to manage employees. I sleep like a baby. Today the expectations for managers are unrealistically high. You have to get the job done, and you have to make your employees happy. Jobs are way more than a place to get a paycheck. They have become clinics of self actualization. I’m glad I’ve escaped Maslow’s dreaded hierarchy of needs.
But then two months ago I got back into management in a small way…as an assistant soccer coach to my son Stephen. We coach a boys and a girls team. We’ve won 80% of our games. So it’s been fun except for the fact that there is one boy who reminds me of some of the prima donnas I used to have to try to make happy. He’s disruptive at practices, feels that he has special talents, and refuses to be a team player. He’s also very talented. Sound familiar, managers?
And the girls? The girls are a joy…not a diva among them. They do, however, love to feed me some much needed humble pie. Yesterday my son was in Boston and so I was the Interim Head Coach. I thought we had a good, fun, productive practice, but at the end of the scrimmage they looked up at me and asked, “When does our real coach get back?”