Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Natural Selection

Before I left for Indiana last Tuesday, I was going to water the lawn. As I went to put down the sprinkler in the front yard, I noticed a duck sitting in my garden bed. She had burrowed into a little space behind a large hosta plant and next to the rhododendron. As I stood quietly by my front porch trying not to spook her, she looked up at me matter of factly and then went on about her business.

I called my Mom on the way out of town and told her about the duck. I wasn't sure if I should water the lawn because I didn't want to disturb her. My Mom pointed out that the duck is probably used to getting wet, so she offered to stop by and turn on the sprinklers later that night. The next day my Mom called again to report that she had brought my niece over to see the duck. My family was officially on Duck Watch 2011.

On Friday evening when I arrived home from my trip, the duck was still sitting there. I am not sure why she decided to build her nest in the middle of my front yard. There must be other spots in my neighborhood that are more secluded. I like to think that my house presented a hospitable environment for her. Or maybe she felt it was a safe spot because I am never home.

In a short time, I have grown very attached to my duck. I told the Boy that she built a nest in my yard and we started to talk about what it would be like to have a bunch of little duck babies scurrying about. Over the weekend, I kept checking on her every time I came or left the house. I don't know if she even noticed me, but I would nod in her direction and say hello anyway. Rain or shine, she just sat there peacefully. Sometimes I would catch her taking a nap, but most of the time she was awake.

On Monday morning before work I went to visit the duck, but she was gone. Her nest seemed to be in tact, so I assumed that she had gone out to get some food or water. Meanwhile I had a big day at the office. I was going to interview for a new job within the Company. My Indiana project will be ending in September, so I have been trying to figure out what to do next. I had a meeting with one of our Executives about a job as a Practice Leader, which basically means that instead of having my own customers, I would be helping other teams by doing research and writing proposals for their customers.

The interview went pretty well. Several people at the Company had already put in a good word for me, so he basically asked me a few questions and then asked when I could start. Going into the interview, I had one nagging concern. My former Boss had also taken on a role in Practice Leadership a few months ago. So I was understandably anxious about the potential for our paths to cross again.

While I didn't want to bring all of the sordid details about my former Boss and her Daughter to the interview, I knew I had to say something. I tried to explain that, although I like and respect my former Boss, I don't think we should work together in that capacity. He just laughed and said that wouldn't be a problem. Apparently my former Boss told several people within the Company that she would never work for him. "So, if you decide to take a position within my division, I can pretty much guarantee that she will never be your boss again," he promised.

That was all I needed to hear. We wrapped up the meeting and I went on about my day. It wasn't until the drive home that I remembered about the duck. I couldn't wait to get home and see if she had reappeared in her secret nesting spot.

When I pulled into the driveway, I didn't see her. As I got out of the car and walked over towards the nest I saw an eggshell laying on the brick pavers and another one behind the rhododendron. The nest was empty and my duck was gone. I could only assume that while she was out getting food this morning, one of the neighborhood predators discovered her little hiding place.

I didn't have the stomach to look any further. I just went into the house. That night on the phone, I told the Boy that my duck was missing. And I asked him to come over one night this week and help clean out the remnants of the nest. It was just too disheartening for me.

The next morning on my way to work, I thought about my former Boss not wanting to work for the Executive. The Company was in the middle of a massive re-organization. So if she didn't want to work for him, then who did she decide to work for? A quick search on our Colleague Finder tool gave me the answer.

Colleague Finder is our internal corporate version of Facebook. You can search any person and find out their office location, current projects and where they fit in the organizational chart. I looked up my former Boss and saw that she was now reporting to the Vice President of Sales. Some of you may recall that I had a little run in with the Vice President of Sales earlier this year. More specifically, he hounded me until I told him everything that happened with my Boss and her Daughter. Then he made me cry.

I could not believe that my former Boss was working for him! According to the chart, she was still a Vice President, but apparently he had been promoted to a Senior Vice President. After all those months of her torturing me, she finally lost her power to someone that is even more evil than she is. I can only imagine how unhappy she is about her new situation. Of course her ego would never allow her to admit it. I am sure that she is strutting around like a peacock and lying to everyone about how this is exactly where she wanted to be.

Whether it is in the workplace or in your own backyard, I guess we are all just part of the food chain. There is always someone more powerful than you to hold you down and break your spirit - or your eggs. I closed the Colleague Finder and turned my attention back to the pile of e-mails that had come in throughout the morning.

When I got home tonight I was dreading the inevitable clean up. The Boy was feeling sick, so he wasn't coming over until later in the week and I knew that I should probably dispose of what was left of our baby duck fantasy. I picked out some thick gloves, a plastic bag and a little garden rake. I just needed to get this over with.

When I got out to the yard and looked a little closer, I found that the egg shells were empty. There was no mess to clean up, or at least not the type of mess that I was expecting. I took the empty shells and put them into the bag. Then I scooped up the feathers and the remnants of the nest.

So, maybe my little duck and her babies survived after all. While the Boy says that is impossible, because they would have to stay in the nest for at least a few weeks, that is what I choose to believe. And that is what I will tell my niece when I see her this weekend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"We are all part of the food chain" ... if only it wasn't so true. Love this post.