Prologue: (Mother Sayer always wondered why people practiced the art of self-pity? There was a time when she didn’t understand a lot of things, but it was at an age, 9, that everything began to happen for her.
Mr. Sayer married her mother, the former Shondra Mae Douglas, and he became her father in every meaningful and structural sense of the words father and daughter. While most men would not immerse themselves in the upbringing of children born of the blood of another man, Mother Sayer’s father was a detailed and business oriented man. Mr. Sayer was a man who lived life by a set of rules honed through many years of living in a flawed America.
He always said to her, “Pointing out the obstruction in front of you doesn’t make you a victim nor does it elicit sympathy from God or men. It simply tests whether you will use that brain on the top of your body to defeat the stop, or not.”
Mother Sayer began at that moment to understand what maybe her mother didn’t realize she had. Mr. Sayer was an enabler. He did not believe in despair because someone said he was born into a skin color he had no decision in choosing. He found it offensive to ever give place or standing to such a thought!
Mother Sayer matured rapidly from the age of 9 at the speed of learning as much as she could and as fast as she could from her father. She thinks this is what walled her mind into the impenetrable fortress it is to this day.)
Mother Sayer: Nicole, can you bring me the morning attendance roster, the weekly sales figures and order some fruit and nuts from the kitchen with tea and coffee.
Nicole: Yes Mother, would bananas, apple slices and green grapes be okay.
Mother Sayer: Excellent choices. Make sure the mixed nuts have real salt and not that fake seawater kind.
Nicole: (Laughs) Of course Mother. Will be in with the tray in 15 minutes.
Mother Sayer: (How long has Nicole been with me now? Has it been 5 years? Her evaluation luncheon is coming due soon and I hope she decides to stay on with me for many years to come.) Don’t bother knocking just come in when you have our order.
Nicole: I sure will Mother.
(The door opens and a staff member from the kitchen, Eric, helps Nicole place the food and beverages on the table and spread out all the cups, napkins and eating utensils.)
Mother Sayer: Ah, good. Let’s sit and talk for a while. How are your children doing? What are they 7 and 12 now?
Nicole: Yes Mother, Jeremy is 7 and Angie is 12. (How does she keep up with the ages of my children? Their father doesn’t even remember their birthdays let alone how old they are now.)
Mother Sayer: (Mother is never surprised anymore by the look on her people that resemble bewilderment over why she keeps up with the lives of her employees. This is the time when matters become serious. Nicole must be bombarded with responsibilities and critical projects. I need to know the limits of her abilities now. Mother sighs to herself. It must be done.) Nicole, I have a project I want you to manage for me.
Mother Sayer: It is run out of this office, with some travel required between here and South Korea. Are you interested?
Nicole: (I have been waiting for 5 years for Mother to offer me something I can expand my reach and prove my worth. I wonder what it is about. I have paid attention to the office gossip on how to handle this moment, so let me play the matter a little reserved until I know all the details.) I appreciate everything you’ve done for me Mother. I am honored that you think me capable of handling more responsibility. Tell me about the project and what I must do.
Mother Sayer: I need a point person on marketing the “Playboy”.
Nicole: The “Playboy”.
Mother Sayer: The “Plane Locator Mayday Beacon Deploy”.
Nicole: You want me to sell it to the airline industry and more important the Federal Aviation Administration.
Mother Sayer: That’s exactly what I want you to do. (Mother could make herself feel surprised, but it would be an insult to her talent at picking people. It would also be a slight against Nicole as she clearly has been waiting for the chance at something like this. Mother realizes she may have missed her chance if she waited any longer.)
Nicole: I want it!
Mother Sayer: (Mother employs her patented silent 60 second look as she scans Nicole for any semblance of uncertainty or doubt. Good.) Very well Nicole I know you will do a good job for us.
Mother Sayer: I need you to listen to me for a few more minutes. The particulars are such that you will have a staff of 9 associates. I am giving you Amy Johnson and Park, Sue-Hye. They are your advisors and you are their mentor. I mean I want them to learn from you. Do you understand?
Nicole: Yes Mother. You want me to teach them all I know and help them to become more valuable to the company.
Mother Sayer: Your evaluation depends entirely on it. Now you will coordinate with product development and engineering. I want you to create anticipation in the marketplace based on their timeline for the rollout of the “Playboy”.
Mother Sayer: Lastly, I want you to create an environment on this project with your team that they feel like only you can bring out the best creativity in them. In other words practice what you’ve learned whether you got it from your parents or you learned it on your own. Thus, be respectful and inviting at all times.
Mother Sayer: There is no way I can talk about every contingency that will come up for you in this project. Do you understand what I am saying?
Nicole: Yes Mother. All will not be easy, but all will not be difficult either. I must think not only of this project, but about the growth and learning curve of my people as well.
Mother Sayer: (Mother smiles to herself and looks at Nicole as if she is her precious daughter. She knows there are still human emotions and negative tendencies in all of us. Maybe, she thinks she should leave her with her enemies quote.) One more thing Nicole.
Mother Sayer: Beware of your enemies my dear.
Nicole: I don’t have any enemies Mother.
Mother Sayer: (Mother thinks to herself, yes you do.) Then humor me in my folly.
Nicole: (Nicole thinks to herself. That was a mistake. What a stupid thing to say. Just hear her out.) Alright Mother, I am listening.
Mother Sayer: This isn’t to discourage you by any means Nicole. When you start this project you will detect those on your team and those who must deal with your position and mandate to cooperate with you. It is better to be prepared for it than for you to display any frustration that can be mistaken as weakness by their resistance to your authority.
Nicole: Sorry Mother, I see your point now.
Mother Sayer: I want you to repeat after me and memorize this quote. “Welcome all your enemies to the table, for it is easier to see them in the light than to search for them in the dark.”
Nicole: “Welcome all your enemies to the table, for it is easier to see them in the light than to search for them in the dark.”
Mother Sayer: (Mother looks at the fruit and nuts on the table and thinks, my taste buds are going to be more happier than a whale eating a bounty of shrimp swirling in the ocean.) May all your desires for this project be realized beyond what you are thinking today. Best wishes, Nicole. Now let’s enjoy this delightful spread in front of us.