We’re moving. Again. By again I mean for the third time in a year, and for the 12th time in the past ten years. But who’s counting?
The dual move last year had a strong endgame–we landed 1 ½ blocks from the beach. The timing wasn’t quite right from when we got booted from our old house (sold) and the other tenants scaddadled, so we found a spot for the in-between.
Two months ago I got a text from our current landlord informing us that he was selling. “It’ll be worth it for you to move twice…” he said. “You can stay here forever…” he said. When I hear “forever” I tend to imagine a longer timeline than ten months, but I am an optimist.
I reacted to the text in my normal way, tapping into what I teach. When hit with a shocking event, I take a deep breath. I reminded myself to pause. I told myself I get to choose my response to the situation. I calmly went to tell Mike.
OR REALLY I forgot all of that and screamed OMG MIKE YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS so loudly that he later commented he thought I was being murdered.
After that initial freakout, I have remained fairly calm. I did start to practice what I preach and reminded myself to control what I could control. To believe a better outcome than I could imagine was possible. To take action to that effect.
I’d grade myself a B+. But I gotta tell you, it’s been hard. It’s been exhausting. It’s been unnerving. It’s been unsettling.
Will it sell? When will it sell? Will we have to move? Will they, no, wait, how much are the new owners going to jack up our rent? Should we wait it out? Should we pack up and go?
Not to mention the people parading through our house constantly. Don’t get me wrong. We keep a clean house. But there’s a difference between every day “oh-look-at-that-tumbleweed-of-dog-hair-everyday” clean and the “showing your house” clean. High pressure.
The other emotions buzzing under the surface were frustration and feeling dismissed. We were at the whim of other people’s decisions. Like we didn’t count. Like no one cared. Like we were the least important people. Like we were collateral damage. Probably because all of those descriptions were true.
We are the least important people in the selling of the house equation. We’ve been at the mercy of the market, the sporadic communication keeping us posted on what’s happening, the vague updates about how much our rent will increase. I get it–it’s every man for himself–but man, it’s a crappy position to be in.
They don’t HAVE to care about us, but it would be nice–human–if they did.
A week ago Tuesday when the funk of uncertainty had swept over me, my phone buzzed. “Hey Erin, are you guys still interested in renting our place? Our tenants just told us they’re moving out.” 😳
I’ll spare you the details (although they are sweet!) of that serendipitous text and timing and give you this detail: we’re moving to a more beautiful, charming, and fabulous house mid-October. Four blocks away. Same distance from the beach. #blessed
When we made the decision to pack up again and pay even more rent, I felt my shoulders drop. A dull ringing in my head quieted. The slight queasiness in my tummy vanished. I took a deep breath for the first time in months. I felt grounded. I don’t think I realized how much I’d been clenching and tensing my way through the uncertainty.
The difference? We made the choice. We had agency in the decision. There was no more leaving our fate up to someone else who did not even have “Erin and Mike’s Fate” on their list.
It got me thinking about how many people live with that constant uncertainty at work. When you think about it, as leaders, we hold people’s fates in our hands. When they’ll be promoted. What project they’ll work on. Whose team they’ll be a part of. When they’ll get a raise.
How much uncertainty do the people we lead have about their current status? Their future?
How many people do we keep out of the loop? Stick in silos and hope for the best? Give ‘em a yearly performance review and hope that lasts…forever.
How many people feel like the least important people in the equation at work?
While the players in the house situation did not have to care about Mike and me, as leaders, it’s our job to care. Our job is to show we care by checking in, by over-communicating, by sharing that encouraging word, by asking, “How’s it going?” If there is uncertainty at your work, acknowledge it. Let them know you get it and you understand.
Because without knowing you care, they might just make their own choice and move on down the street to the next company that does.