Morgan in Trouble

We are goin all Dog Whisperer around here.

A little over a week ago, Morgan attacked a smaller dog that surprised her (and me)in our driveway. Morgan was on a retractible lead, so was the chihuahua she jumped at. It was pretty scary, and the little dog escaped with the toothmark in the chest and a scraped belly. I gave the woman my card and let her know we would gladly pay for the vet bills. I was profusely apologetic. And felt sick that night trying to figure out what to do.

The apartment complex calls the next day (we are temporarily in an apartment until the end of the school year) and tells us we need to get rid of the vicious German Sheppard and that we are in violation of the lease. For those of you who do not know Morgan:

Come on. A German Sheppard? And I received a tight little email from her with the doctor bill. She is being nasty.

I am having a hard time with this. I was not the least bit resistant to giving her all the information she needed to get in touch with me. I immediately offered to pay the medical expenses. I genuinely had great concern for this dog and had already put things in motion to get Morgan into some kind of training program (this is the first time she has done anything like this). And Morgan mostly scared the dog. There was not even any blood. But now I am thinking I need to get a lawyer or something to make sure I am not signing on for a lifetime of this stuff with this woman. If I send a check, is that me accepting full accountability, even though her dog was relatively loose on a retractible lead right next to my car? If the dog develops some kind of sickness later, is this license to come back to me and blame this incident?

The horrible thing to me is that her actions have made me feel much less concerned about her and her dog and made me defensive about ours. Running to the leasing office to tell them we had a vicious sheppard living with us (her words)? Refusing to accept even the slightest bit of accountability for letting her dog run right up to our car? Sending me an ugly note with the bill? It has suddenly become a matter of trust with me. And I do not trust her.

I want to write her a note to tell her all of this. I want her to know that there are consequences to behaving the way she does and what could have been a very simple transaction is now more complex. I want to let her know that I am struggling to feel any compassion for her, given that she clearly has none for anyone else involved here.

I am still glad the chihuahua is fine. Too bad about her owner.


My Response to the Question at Hand

I started a contest this week to start a conversation. I have so loved the responses I am getting and I realized this evening that I have not actually done my own work publicly to share with everyone. So, tonight I am laying it all out there.

I am a communication and learning strategist to the oil and gas industry. I consult with project owners and managers for large oil and gas companies on how to communicate with their people and help their people do their job. Prior to this, my background was in marketing…my clients were financial companies, oil and gas companies, and a smattering of companies in other fields. But mostly I work and have worked in service to oil and gas. I live in Houston, Texas, after all. The town lives and breathes oil and gas. Figuratively and literally.

I love how my knowledge is applied now. I am not a big fan of marketing and have become much less of a fan since I watched a Bill Hicks riff on it a few years ago (, forewarned…there is ugly language). I truly believe marketing has made us, as a culture, unable to make a decision on anything else but packaging and marketing. I despise my role in it…but I digress.

I love my clients now. I have always loved my clients, even in marketing. They are good people, just trying to do their job. I really believe that. I want them to be successful. It makes me happy to help them. Their individual goals are really good ones…they want to connect with their people and help them do their job well. They really do.

I love the people I work with too. I realize that my work in the organization supports the work they do and that we all need each other to be successful. They are supporting families too. I like that we have a really wonderful culture of people supporting each other in our collective work. It is an amazing feeling to go into work every day with this group. No joke. I am very lucky.

My work stretches me too. I am pushing the limits of what I know and I what I can learn. It is exciting to me to be learning so much. I love being challenged this way. Some of my work comes very easy as well, which is a good balance for me. I am also lucky in this.

There is a darker side too though. I drive 30 miles back and forth to work every day, releasing toxins into an environment that is already terrible (Houston is not known for its air quality). I am supporting clients in large companies. Large companies who must support a bottom line, regardless of the impact on the world. The work I do is to help people put their heart into their work and bond as a community over the effort. Good for the individuals, but is this good if the mission of the company is ultimately problematic?

I am not sure what to do with this information. I am trying to figure it out. I really am looking to build community around the questions and thinking. I need the brilliance of the crowd with me. I am not sure we can figure out our future alone.

I hope this helps more of you enter into the conversation. I am coming at this from a humble place. I do not believe I am operating in a clearly noble pursuit, as I have expressed in this post. Enter the conversation. Or, if you already have, has anything I have written here sparked anything for you?

Where are you?



I am launching an uncontest! It may be the start of some kind of regular thing…depends on how this goes.

The contest will run until the end of this week (4/25/09). The challenge is this…

1. Think about the ultimate impact of your work – positive and negative.
2. Write a brief note to me that indicates that you stretched your brain cells
3. Receive a gift.

And while this is not a giant gift of significant import, it is something real, surprising and hand-chosen for you (because I know you)…not a Facebook button or Facebook Karma. For some of you, I will need your address.

To get into the mood, look at this 3 minute clip from the 80s

Think about the impact of your work on a larger scale – what is it in service too? Who benefits from your labor? What is the ultimate cost of what you produce? Think creatively and write me a note showing me you did your thinking. I’m doing it too and I will share back.

I have a little present with your name on it. Whatcha got for me?