“So, George, remind me again what you were telling me last night?” Pete asked upon returning to the kitchen after setting H- up with cereal. “Other things I was doing at the time caused me to miss the significance of the meeting being one-on-one, but I think I get it now. You said you had a one-on-one meeting with your boss and that he asked for your opinion on how your performance should be measured.”
“That’s right. I asked him if he wanted to know how I thought I should be measured, or if he wanted to know how I thought I was being measured.”
“Which was it?”
“He said he wanted to know how I thought I should be measured.”
“And you said that you think your performance should be measured on the quality of your work, but he said that he was going to measure you on the duration of your work?”
“Jesus,” Pete responded in disbelief, “that’s totally inverse. The goal should always be to get more done in less time–not just to work longer.”
“So what happened next?”
“He told me that to achieve an excellent on my review next time that I will need to work nights and weekends.”
“And what did you say?”
“I told him that I wouldn’t be aiming for an excellent then.”
George opened the door to leave for work and paused, saying, “You don’t know how close I was to asking him, ‘Do you want to be a soul crusher?'”
As always, the crack of the wooden blinds against the door signaled George was off to work. Pete then turned to H- who was all the while quietly finishing her cereal.
“Are you a soul crusher H-?” he asked her, using extended, slightly squinted eye-contact to signal playfulness. “I know I don’t want to be a soul crusher. I want to be a soul creator, a soul grower,” he reported, increasing the melodrama with the repetition in an effort to summon a response from the speechless little girl.
With her familiar, lovable earnestness and attentiveness H- responded, “I’m still growing.”