Endings With Integrity

I was laid off today from Anvil Range - signed my own letter, in fact.

The last several days have been turbulent, to say the very least. I have done what I thought was right by the employees every step of the way. I have coped with deceit, fraud, unfair play, back-biting and power struggles, and I have done it with honesty, dignity and strength, without compromising my integrity or spinning out of control.

Time to close the door on this chapter, brief as it was, and dive back into the carving again. It has been good to face my demons and survive; very good. I’m very much looking forward to the next chapter of my life.

Keeping Head Down - Taking Positions

These last few days have been trying. Having one’s integrity questioned is not a pleasant experience; however, it seems to go with the job. George Miller, a union executive, gave me a real compliment today, saying that he held me in high regard. I took some encouragement from his words, especially during these difficult times.

I have been keeping a lower profile and see now what it means to do so. When you keep your head down, no one can shoot at you. When you say nothing, no one can criticize or fight back. Lightning strikes the highest point, and the same seems to be true with group energy. I have often in the past popped up as the focus of this energy. It has surely been a valuable lesson here on how not to do that.

I have also learned about positions - rather than engaging in confrontational situations, offer one’s position and then attempt to work towards finding points of agreement. If agreement cannot be achieved, at least the parties can retain a sense of integrity.

Return to Art, Some Reflections

Work, sleep, work. The job of Human Resources Manager is all-consuming. I have learned a great deal about the kind of people that become leaders, at least here at the mine, and something of how to work with them.

I hadn’t carved since the beginning of October until last weekend, and it certainly feels good to get back into it again. Posting a work in progress update also felt good. I need to slide up to the mine today touch base with the president and certain supervisors regarding a union decision yesterday to reject the new hours. But after that I’d like to continue the eagle carving and post another work in progress update to keep the flow going.

It is highly probable the mine will close soon and we will all be out of work, so getting back into the swing of things with my art is probably wise.

I have learned much about industry, management, personnel matters and myself during this short time at the mine. My decisions and ideas have proven sound and I find that I derive satisfaction from an involvement at the upper levels of decision making. To be an actor rather than one of the acted-upon feels very empowering. The role seems consistent with my ability and disposition. The former Director of Personnel at the mine told me in a recent conversation that working under the present regime at the mine is probably the hardest it gets in personnel, so I'll take heart and enjoy what I’m doing while it lasts.

Every Man Has His Price

Well, life is full of interesting developments. I had a talk with the President of Anvil Range Mining yesterday. He asked if I would consider the position of Director of Personnel. Art? I think it will have to take a back seat for a little while.

Dead End

I have pulled back from full-time carving to accept employment at the mine. Miranda wonders why, emphatic that carving is what I should be doing. She reminded me that should I finish the tusk I could easily clear the debts.

Tempted by Manual Labour

Yesterday I took the Yukon College class I am teaching up to the mine for a tour. I really enjoyed working there before, but would I consider working there again? The place draws me like a narcotic - the thought of working there, of belonging, of doing something not held in distain by the majority of people here.

But what about all this?

Do we need the money? What about the money from carving? Where are my values?

Strange how, for me, town work and life seem artificial compared to work at the mine. I wonder why? Is it because mining is a primary activity: basic, real, foundational for our society? Without the primary harvesting of resources, whether big or small, civilization would not exist.

Perhaps the narcotic for me is being where the action is, being rooted, being extraordinarily common - how far away from the work of priest, counsellor, teacher, artist.