Every now and then, my youngest niece and I get to have a whole day of staying in for a movie marathon. (By the way, it has been much too long! hint…hint…hint!) Mostly what we watch are older movies, many of which were made before she was born. One of our favorites was filmed before I was even born. The movie is “Pollyanna,” about a little girl that changes a whole town with her positive outlook on life. She just took each day as it came and made the best of each one. She had a game that she played called, “the glad game,” where she would attempt to find something to be glad about in most any situation. I generally have a pretty “Pollyanna” attitude. I like to look for the good in people and I do not go around seeking to find the bad. Of course, sometimes that just does not work out as well as others, especially when you end up in crazy situations because you trusted someone that was lying to you.
I was working for a company that was involved in documenting the hazardous waste cleanup at a very high-profile location. Myself and a co-worker traveled frequently, to locations where the documentation (letters, reports, memos, meeting transcriptions, photos, maps, videos, voice memos, etc.) that had any relevance to the record of the activities taken to clean up the area was located. Our job was simply to gather information, document it, catalog it and make sure we touched all areas associated with this activity.
The job was interesting, with lots of travel through the east-northeast from Virginia, Washington D.C., to Rhode Island, Massachusetts up through Maine. Did I mention the cute military guys in uniform that escorted us through a great deal of this adventure? Definite perk! The job had a lot of long hours and the activities could be very tedious and tiring. I learned more, way more, about hazardous waste than I ever wanted to know; but it has made me think a little more about how I dispose of even small amounts of hazardous waste substances even today.
The person I worked for was someone that I had worked with for a short time on a similar activity at another company. When they were given this project, they invited me to come over to the new company they were working with and take the lead research role on the project. It sounded really interesting, and the travel sounded amazing.
As I have mentioned before, I have a tendency to document things to the umpteenth degree. This was especially true in my work life, and especially this particular position where the job itself was documentation. Not only did I document the work items; I also documented the work process. I kept a professional, hard backed journal going at all times. In those journals I recorded all of our travel, meetings, daily activities (to include any outstanding incidents or issues). Anytime a significant request from someone was made, the requested details and the date of the request was carefully documented, especially when this request came from someone with lots of stripes and bars on their uniform! This information was passed along to those in my chain of command that could provide the answers. Let’s just say that I traveled about three weeks out of the month, so most of my life was probably documented in those journals!
Well, it just so happened that a chunk of someone else’s life was also documented there. After we had been going as hard as we could for about ten to eleven months, I started noticing odd little things that just did not add up concerning some of the activities that the person I was working for were supposed to be involved in; which ended up, more and more often, being things that my coworker and I had to make sure ran smoothly to the end. I was becoming more and more frustrated because I was being put out front and center; and just remember…I am the self-proclaimed wall flower. I like being in the background. I will work as hard as you need me to work and probably some more, but please let me do it in the background!
This frustration built from mild annoyance to complete disappointment in this self-same person. During one of our weeks when we were actually “in the office,” we worked on a big presentation, to include maps, charts, posters and other supporting documentation. They were finishing up the official presentation slide show. They were to bring it and the other physical items to the meeting location. This was a meeting, representing our company and the company we were teaming with. The presentation was a status update to a group that included some very big military brass. This was not a meeting that the research person was supposed to be handling….was not supposed to be!
The day of the meeting dawned. I was there, my co-worker was there. The representatives from the company we were actually working for were there. The customer, which included those aforementioned bars and stripes were there. Oh, they were especially there! But the person that was supposed to be the mouth piece was not there. Late the evening before, they sent the finalized electronic presentation to me and to the other lead representative from our partner company. There was no excuse, no, “My child is sick.”, “There has been a horrible accident on the farm.”, heck, not even a, “I’m not feeling well.” All we received was, “I will not be able to make the meeting.” Seriously? They were supposed to have driven a van up with the physical presentation props. I have no words! None of us had prepared to lead this meeting. The gentleman that ended up being the presenter had me sit close by, since my co-worker and I had been heavily involved in the research portion of the project. This poor guy took a beating and we all ended up looking very unprepared and unprofessional.
That stung. That stung extremely, badly. It stung so badly that when I got back to the office, I went into the president of our company and resigned my job. He was totally blindsided by this. I had to bring him up to speed on everything that had been happening (and not happening lately.) He told me not to resign, that he wanted to keep me as an employee, but he understood my position. I believe the reason he so readily came on board to my side was that he had already been hearing grumblings from other fronts.
It was a crazy time. He did allow me to stay with the company and move to a different location and a different job, which ended up being awesome and I stayed with that project until it finished up. I had been on site in the Washington D.C. area for a couple of years after that. When I was back in town for some meetings, I ran into the person that had been forced to take the lead on the disastrous meeting that day. I walked by his office and he yelled at me to come in and sit down. He had something he wanted to tell me. So, obviously, after the meeting where we all got our wings clipped, he was very upset. He was also upset because the lead person that had most of the knowledge of the project had resigned when she did (me); but, in a round about way my resignation helped him be able to have the this person relieved from her duties and taken off his project..sort of…permanently.
Remember those journals that documented a chunk of my life, well, they also documented a number of activities that did not line up with what had been presented by this other person. Not, deliberately trying to get anyone in trouble, but definitely covering mine and my co-worker’s back sides, my entries were quite detailed. For me, I was mostly venting my frustrations to the journals. After I resigned, the partner company requested all of my records and documentation so they could pass them along to the person taking over the project. It just so happened that they actually read the journals. <EEK!> I did find out that repercussions were felt!
Oh my goodness, what did I learn from that whole mess? Long after the fact, I learned that there were so many lies surrounding this person. As sad as it was, they, actually, were a habitual liar. I had never met before, and I don’t think I have met since someone like this. Even a lot of the life stories they had told us as we were getting to know them and develop a relationship were lies; but they remembered them so well and told them with such clarity! I just have to shake my head still. It was one of the craziest times that I have lived through. I felt quite duped that I didn’t see any of it sooner. Even my youngest brother, who met this person one time, told my mom that he could see through them. I have to say that I try to be a little more jaded regarding when I think someone is telling me the truth or not; but I still want to look on the positive side and hope for the best and hope that I can retain a little bit of Pollyanna to make life a little lighter.
God is very clear in His Word how He feels about not telling the truth. (Check out commandment number eight.) Yet, fabrication, misrepresentation, tall tales, white lies, what ever you want to call them, is so prevalent in our world. Mostly, as we go throughout the day-to-day business of life, it is not big, bold face, outright, in-your-face lies. It is the around the edges, avoiding the reality, hiding the truth that seems to be the norm in our every day language. How did we get so far away from the truth? How did we get so far away from The Truth? How did it become OK for someone to just whip out a lie without batting an eyelash and never consider the consequences? Then when it is turned around and someone lies to them, they are offended greatly! Go figure!?
So, though I generally confess this at the beginning of a post instead of at the end, yes, this is a soap-box day. I promise to try and find something really fun and funny for next week!
Seriously, be the truth you want to see. It is the very best sleeping pill you will ever find!!
“You shall not testify falsely [that is, lie, withhold, or manipulate the truth] against your neighbor (any person)”. ~ Exodus 20:16 AMP
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue,..” ~ Proverbs 6:16a ESV
“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” ~ Colossians 3:9-10 ESV