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Unstuck 3.5: Yet

The production manager had just finished confiding a dark secret about her problem with another member of the management team. She beamed with the glow of recently expelled demons as I asked, “What did he say when you mentioned this to him?”

”Oh, I haven’t spoken with him, and I won’t. I don’t do stuff like that.”

”Like what?” I wondered.

”I wouldn’t want to embarrass him by bringing it up.”

”But he doesn’t seem aware that he’s bugging you to distraction.”

”Well, he should be! It’s not my job to increase his self awareness,” she insisted.

Stuck, she’d explained her long escalating frustration, boxed in by her insistence that the simplest resolution was beyond her repertoire.

”Well,” she continued, “what are you gonna do about this. You’re the consultant.”


”But you’re an expert in resolving these kinds of problems, aren’t you? I thought that’s why the CEO brought you in.”


”Why not?”

”Because if I stepped in, I would be stealing your opportunity to resolve your own problem. Imagine how embarrassing, let along unethical, that might be. I’ll let you resolve this one.”

”But I told you, I don’t do that kind of thing.”


”No, I really mean it. I do not do that.


”No,” she insisted with a nervous giggle, “I really, really don’t.”


”What’s with these ‘yets?,” exhaling sharply.

”I’m just finishing your statement. When you say you don’t, I believe you. But who knows, couldn’t it be different in the future?”

Now it was her turn, “Nope.”

”Okay, then, this must not be that pressing of a problem ... yet.”

”No,” she insisted, “It’s really terrible. I mean, he’s driving me crazy.”

”Apparently not crazy enough for you to speak with him about the issue ... yet. But I have a feeling that’s changing.”

”When will it change?” she asked, skeptical.

”That might be up to you,” I replied. “But probably not long.”

”Before you leave?”

”Could be. That’s really up to you.”

”But I already told you, I don’t do that and I won’t speak with him about this!”


”Will you shut up with the ‘yet’ already? I DO NOT DO THAT,” she almost screamed!

”Yet.” This earned me a world-class eye roll.

By Friday, the issue was resolved, or had enough sunlight shone on it that her co-worker had received the message, taken ownership, apologized, and promised to shift his behavior. Someone else had brought it up. Very publicly, in an all-hands meeting. Nobody died. The complainant admitted then, there in that all hands meeting, that she’d been bothered by this behavior for a very long time, apologizing for not bringing up the issue earlier, and thanking her co-worker for accepting responsibility to change.

No, she never did do what she’d insisted she never does, but she’d caught herself holding herself back. Next time? Who knows?

Proposing yet enlarges the shadow of future possibilities. Seems strange that anyone might enlarge that shadow at any time without time traveling forward then back. I can more fully acknowledge what I can’t or won’t or don’t do without ceding my potential to change.

Who knows what tomorrow might bring? I mean, it’s not here ... yet.”

©2012 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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