Monday, November 21, 2022

Debriefing My Departure

Dear Dyan,

My last email offered no explanation. Here is the background.  I think it important to share this with you.

Nancy told me that she was bringing on a paid social media consultant. She later told me to make a list of any questions I had for the incoming consultant. I’d been through a process with the consultant who set up our Facebook account, to learn how to manage our page, so I thought I should try logging and looking around in case questions about Facebook emerged. So, I did.

When our page opened there were an immense number of friend requests, so I accepted them all. Then I clicked on the Friends sidebar, I discovered that the Federation had 1,800 friends—friends that have not heard from us as far as I can tell. 

I told Nancy, and suggested we post something and together we concocted a meaningful post and posted it. For you, I had just completed an ad to go in next week’s Sounder. I used that copy to create a second post, and I attached a QR code, and posted information I’d been directed to circulate by you to our 1,800 new friends.

In the draft of the Decision Note that you asked me to write, I proposed that we post twice a week—once in the voice of the Foundation, and once in the voice of the Be Our Doctor campaign.  I received no reply. I’d also asked you about the Foundation’s relationship with our members, and we agreed that members should get preferential access to our public information. I thought the same should be true of our Facebook friends.

After I posted the second time, I wrote to inform you and Nancy. Nancy wrote to me about the need for a communications policy and copied you. You then wrote to me (gently and warmly) about adding such new policies for our communications plan. 

Nancy’s email made me feel like a rogue operative needing to be restrained. It felt unfriendly—not collegial. And let’s not forget that I am a volunteer. 

FND makes me vulnerable to emotional distress. I became a festival of symptoms and I felt absolutely dreadful. I waited 2 days. Late on Saturday, I had a glimmer of hope and thought I might make it through my distress. But that night, my symptoms kept waking me up keeping me from sleep for long periods of time. And my symptoms hurt. It ain’t cancer, but it ain’t nice either. When I got up Sunday morning, I sent you my resignation letter.

A big word in my world is safe/safety. A sense of feeling safe eliminates my symptoms. That’s why I speak best here at home with friends. I had just gone through a days of reading files, sent to us by the person who created our page and who is no longer working with us, and found the Facebook access codes. I’d found 1,800 new Facebook friends, and what happens? No one recognizes the importance of the bringing our Facebook friends into our communications policy. Instead, Nancy writes an email that felt strategic due to copying you. She didn’t write to me like a colleague to ask why I’d posted. 

I didn’t feel like I was part of a cohesive team. Nancy was not acting like a team player. She wanted to engage you to constrain me. I could have replied to you this way, “I proposed Facebook policies in my last email to you.” You could have replied to Nancy saying: “Chris was acting in accordance with Facebook policies he’d proposed to me. We have the communication policies in hand.”

My neurological condition magnified my emotional distress, and a shitstorm of symptoms emerged in my body. And, to quote Matilda, that’s not right!

I blame my having to quit on my condition, triggered by being treated in a way that I would never treat a colleague. I’d been enthusiastically supporting Nancy for a few months. It felt like I was swimming with sharks. I’m team kiddie pool. Perhaps, something like this might have been inevitable. I don’t know. 

When I wrote the federal civil servant exam a billion years ago, I passed and was taken into the placement program. The woman handling me asked me which ministry interested me. I said it didn’t matter and that what I wanted to do was to be a right-hand man to someone brilliant who was doing really good things for the country. That is how I’ve felt working with you, helping our community, not the country. It’s been fabulous working with you.

What happened was no big thing really, but my condition requires of me that I avoid triggers to be symptom free. That’s why I moved out of the city and to this idyllic community. I knew I was taking a risk when I replied to the Foundation ad in the Sounder, seeking volunteers. Engaging with people is risky for me, not because of the people, but because of my condition.

I am profoundly impressed by the Foundation board and its members. I had to withdraw due to my condition, not due to people or their actions. 



I’m going to work on the script of my monologue, finish reading the last Bruno book, get counselling. Then it will holiday season will be full of great Christmas movies. Do you recognize sarcasm when you read it? And I’ll hear about the monologue festival. If I’m in, I will be starting the new year by memorizing and rehearsing my script. Then it will be Springtime, and time to start a series of 30 books about a detective (I think) who works in Venice. Donna Leon.

I have a wonderful memory of my childhood. I’m in the oversized stuffed chair that’s covered is a loose-fitting cotton with purple piping, and I have the matching hassock pushed up against the chair. The chair becomes my day bed. And over my legs is my snuggly, a white mohair blanket of a very, very loose weave, of yellow and blue fibers in a plaid pattern.

The sun is on me, I am smartly dressed for an eight-year-old, and reding about the Hardy boys. It’s a favourite memory and may be why I like all these series of crime novels so much.

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