Body Language

“Please, please don’t talk to me today.  Not today.  Can’t it wait?” he thought to himself.  The big boss was scheduled to arrive any minute.  The day was a slow one, and that meant plenty of random tasks could be accomplished.  The problem was he was looking for new work.  No, that’s not quite it.  The problem was he hated lying.  He had tried it a couple times in his life.  It never felt good.  And he could tell that today was going to be no different.  He wanted to know what kind of situation work is that it forced him to lie.

The big boss being there is what bothered him so.  In order to keep his job he’d answer the man’s insincere question with, “Good.  Things are good.  How about you?”  Inside, though, he’d be thinking, “Not great.  In fact, I can’t think of a single reason why anyone would do this work except to get paid.  And that’s just not how I’m going to live.”

The moment came and went without much excitement.  He had done it.  He had looked a man directly in the eye and lied.

Leaving work as soon as they let him, he went home and laid down.  Waking up three hours later, his stomach was still in knots.  Like when in the aircraft his hands began maneuvering the machine away from danger before his brain concluded there was danger ahead, he knew that he had to trust his body’s language now.  It was saving itself.



  1. Joan Janis

    Last year I was the president of my business network chapter. I had a crisis moment where my family had moved, but I was still staying in my old house with my dog. I’d spent the night on the floor hugging him and despairing. In the morning, I suddenly remembered that it was Wednesday, my day to lead the 7:30am meeting. It was already 7:00. I ran to my closet to dress, and discovered that Jeff had packed and moved Everything. My clothes, my makeup, my shoes. Everything. My hair was a fright, I was dressed in dirty moving clothes. I’d been crying all night. I threw Scout and a copy of the agenda in the car and drove at breakneck speed to the meeting. Rushing at the first person I encountered in the parking lot from my group, I threw the agenda at him, saying “Tell the Vice President to lead the meeting, I’m having a personal challenge this morning I have to attend to.” I drove away before anyone else could see me.

    Recounting this to my sister on the phone the following weekend, she said “That’s a helluva way to quit the group. Good for you.” Shocked, I responded, “I didn’t quit the group!” My sister said, “It sounds to me like you did,” and in the moment of her saying that, it became true. I went back a couple weeks later and resigned formally and professionally, but truly, it was in that one second, holding the phone to my ear, that I actually quit.


      • Joan Janis

        Of course I wish you luck, and will keep alert to things for you. You’re determined so it should not take long. This got me thinking about how we make a decision to quit, but some reason keeps us going thru the motions. One of the saddest of these is when two people decide their marriage is over, but keep going thru the motion for the reason “the sake of the children” and they stay together for a couple decades longer, suffering in an empty shell, before it finally is free to collapse in divorce. Follow your star.


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