Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Greatest

Yesterday, TR sent me an email asking if I would take first crack at writing a paragraph justifying my need for a leave of absence. In fed-speak it's "LWOP" aka "leave without pay." Did you know that "AWOL" is also a classification for fed employees? Kinda cool in a nerdy way.

He said he would do it if I didn't feel comfortable but he thought I should put my "writing talents to good effect." Now, I don't know if you can resist such flattery, but I certainly can't. Ideally, he'd write it but this is better. I can write the first draft and then he can add all the flattering/embarrassing stuff later.

He stopped by the office a little later and we joked a bit and he said, "I know I'll have to add the good stuff, but I'm afraid I might forget something so I thought you could take the first crack."

We also talked about the justification. When TR took his leave/rotation many years ago, the reason was that his wife wanted to move back to their home state. That's easy. Saying to want to go live in Paris for six-months just 'cause isn't quite as compelling.

I said, "Can we just say that I need to take time for personal reasons and this is the right time in my career to do it?"

"Yes, that's good. Make it so they won't ask about the why."

"It's not really their business anyway. We don't need to tell them I'm hanging out in Europe!" And then I made TR uncomfortable, "I could be going on a world-wide sperm donor search! It's not for them to know!"

TR laughed uncomfortably. "Heh. NO!"

I said, "Hmm. That doesn't sound right. Sounds like I'm whoring around. Not exactly me."


Right. Let the inappropriate workplace behavior begin!

After he left, I started drafting the paragraph. I had these guidelines:

(a) Explain why you need the LWOP and how you expect it to refresh you for a return to the department in 6 months

(b) List out your talents and experience that are especially valuable to this office (basically justifying why we should hold your full-time position)

This is what came out:
Why I am the greatest employee ever

How can I explain my greatness? It is so vast, words can hardly do it justice. Why would someone as great as I am need time to "refresh"? Sadly, even one as great as I can be subject to burn out. But, my talents will not be wasted! I will use the time off to pursue greatness in other areas. My outside greatness will only bring future greatness to this humble work place.
I didn't quite get around to answering (b) because I was so amused. I know, I'll have to write a real response to this question soon. I can't explain where all that "greatness" talk came from. I think I'm fine and all but I don't need to shout about it, I figure you can come to your own conclusions after you get to know me or see me at work.

But, if you've ever seen Muhammad Ali speak--seen him boast and brag--you have to agree that there is something charming and exhilarating about it. And, in a way, my request for leave is along those lines. Aren't I saying, "I'm so good, you'll hold a place for me"? You'll save my spot because it will be so hard to find someone as good as me and it's worth it to you to take the hit. And, whatever the hell I plan to do, even if it's not designed to further the skills that I bring to this job, it is still worth it because it's what I want and you have to respect that--because you want me--because I'M SO GREAT.

Ha! I AM the greatest.

Grateful for: confidence.

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