It was a normal Tuesday morning when Steve entered the building.
It was not a normal Tuesday for Steve…
Last night he had a bad row with his wife Louise. It was really bad and they both said things they hadn’t said to each other in a long time.
Even the kids, Sandra and Mitch, were woken by their loud voices, Louise comforted them back to their beds.
He hasn’t seen her since… He went to bed shortly after that – still angry and distressed, but Louise never showed up.
He was too upset to look for her and when he left this morning at 6:00am to go to work she was nowhere to be seen.
Most likely she slept in the kids’ bedroom to comfort them and get away from him.
He doesn’t blame her.
It was not the first time that they went at each other, but last night it was really bad.
“I’ll call her as soon as I’m at my desk” Steve thought when he’s finally arrived at the office.
Now it is nearly 7am, so she must be awake.
He calls her mobile – no response, he calls home – no response, he calls her mobile again and leaves a message.
Next he turns on his computer and start to read emails. There are so many from his headquarters in San Francisco…
But Steve can’t concentrate… what was it that Louise said during their verbal fight?
He can’t recall. What was it? Something like “I’ll leave you…” Did she really say that?
His computer screen becomes blurry. He need to call her and apologise.
At 7:45am he’s on the phone again, trying desperately to reach her on the landline or mobile.
Why is she not picking up? Why is she not calling back? He’s starting to send her texts.
His first meeting is at 9am.
He’s in the room, but not really listening.
Under the table, his phone is on his lap and he’s constantly scanning for calls or texts coming in.
At 10am, he realises he does not even remember what the meeting was about.
None of his emails have been answered.
He’s completely distracted. On autopilot.
Back on the phone.
“Hey Lui, it’s me Steve, I’m SORRY – please call me back. We need to talk….”
10:30am and the next meeting starts. This time his boss is there too, so he can’t keep an eye on his phone.
By 10:47am he excuses himself and goes to the bathroom. He doesn’t need to go, but he needs to check for calls, texts or private emails. Still nothing. Back to the meeting.
It seems everyone else is in top form, he can’t concentrate.
Thank goodness, nobody seems to notice.
12:07pm and finally the meeting ends – it went way overtime.
Steve wasn’t paying any attention. His mind was constantly circling around the fight last night.
He replayed the scenes in his mind and yes, he can clearly recall now what she had said.
“I’ve had enough! I’m leaving you.”
Steve picks up the phone again and calls 3 times, all unanswered, one after the other. He eventually leaves another message.
“Hey Lui – me again – I’m so sorry about last night. I lost it. I really did. But I am under so much stress at work. PLEASE call back. Don’t do anything RASH… PLEASE – I love you.”
Nothing. Silence. Steve’s phone stays silent as if it’s been disconnected.
1pm, 2pm, 3pm goes by and every passing hour makes Steve feel more and more desperate.
The kids must be home by now. Why is nobody picking up the phone?
His output so far today: he answered three emails and sat through 3 meetings, he is totally miserable.
Thankfully all his colleagues seem to notice that he doesn’t want to chat, so they leave him alone.
3:15pm one more meeting and he can go home.
At 3:47pm his phone rings. He nearly jumps out of his chair and leaves the meeting in a hurry, embarrassed.
He can’t place the number, but he doesn’t care. He hopes it’s be Louise calling from a friends’ place. Maybe her battery is flat.
He picks up “Hello”
“Hello“. A deep, distant voice responds .
“Is this Steve Morith I’m talking to?”
“Yes, who are you?”
“My name is Peter Jenkins, I’m a lawyer at Stansons & Sons, across from me sits Mrs. Louise Morith.”
“Oh. What? What’s happened? Can you put my wife on the phone, please?”
“That is not possible at the moment. Say, Steve, do you have a lawyer?”
“Your wife is filing for divorce. She is not coming home tonight. The kids are with her.”
“Noooo!, please put her on the phone, dammit, I’ve been trying to reach her all day. I want to apologise”
“No need to swear at me Steve, I’m just the messenger… Have a good day”
And with that, the line goes dead.
Steve looks at his phone. Tears building up in his eyes…divorce? No way.
He presses on recent calls and connects to the number.
“Stansons & Sons, what can I do for you?” a chirpy voice responds…
“Oh, it’s Steve here, someone just called me, my wife – Louise – is with him, could you put me through please?”
“That must have been Mr. Jenkins“, she asserts him, “but I’m sorry Sir, he instructed me not to take any calls for him at the moment. Sorry.”
“Is there anything else I could do for you, Sir?”
“Yes please go and…” Steve disconnects the line just in time…
Let’s leave Steve and Louise to their own devices for now.
Here are some questions for your consideration…
- Would you say something to your colleague when you see that their relationship is in dire straits?
- For how long, do you think, will Steve not be as productive as he normally is? (a month, six months, a year)
- How much stress would it put on you if your colleague is not fully present?
Relationship breakdown effects the marriages and workplaces of many Australians each and every day. Productivity hits an all-time low during a crisis, with mental health and ambition taking a backseat while those suffering struggle to keep their head above water and their minds focused.
If you value the health of your staff or colleagues, and see the correlation between relational health and happiness in the workplace, I can help.
Maybe you would like me to speak at your organisation on the topic of “Healthy Relationships”? It is what is best for your team, and ultimately for the productivity of your company.
Please let me know: jurgen@Inspiring-Relationships.com.au