Not Indispensable

Years ago, I worked as an escrow officer.  During training, Miss S. imparted her cardinal rule:  “Always leave your desk as if you were going to be hit by a Mack truck.”

Sure, it sounds morbid, but it got the point across—the point being that when property is in escrow, the parties involved feel vulnerable.  The last thing they need is to get a call:  “We’re very sorry, Mrs. Tuttlebucket, but we must postpone your escrow closing; we’re having trouble finding your file.  If the moving vans arrive before we call you, let us know the number of the Starbuck’s where you’ll be hanging out.”

Over the years, I’ve remembered that advice.  Hey, even at this desk I could ostensibly get hit by a Mack truck.  [But that would be weird.]

Anyway, I try not to be indispensable.   I’ve cross-trained my daughter in a lot of things, and the household is equipped with information so they can pick up where I left off.

Cross-training is a good idea.  And not just for the sake of the work getting done.  It benefits the mental well-being of the worker.  Here’s an example: Today I composed a chart with the steps on how I care for Effie.  Sure, any rube could figure it out (after all, I did), but there are aspects I’ve learned the hard way.  For both myself and Effie, it was tedious, difficult, frustrating, even painful!  But I’m constantly tweaking the process, and some tasks are now routine.

What has followed, however, is that sinking feeling that I must always be the one doing it.  Well, now that I have it written down, it’s somewhat freeing.  I’m still the primary caregiver—and happy to be so—but now it feels like if I were unavailable, somebody could take over for awhile.  It’s rather emancipating.

So there you have it: I’m a cross-trainer.  (I wish it were swimming and running, but it is what it is.)

I guess I’ll close this blog with a short prayer.  “Lord, I’m ready.  But please make it something other than a Mack truck.”

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