Regroup and Readjust

November 27, 2013

I made a decision at work.  For some it came as a surprise, for me, it has been brewing for some time now.  Admittedly, I am one that naturally avoids conflict, one that is more likely to listen than to talk, one that generally provides advice, but fails to listen to my own words.  

Today, out of the blue for most, I decided to step back, regroup and readjust.  The decision to step away from the office, for an indefinite period of time, seems rash.  As I sit here and type this, I question my own strength, my own resilience, and my own value.  

With every fibre of my being, I truly believe in the honour and the humility that comes with being a public servant.  This sentiment is echoed even more loudly as a manger within the public service.  As a manager we have a duty to care, to nurture and to deliver.  

For me, and I recognize this reflection comes mere hours after making the decision, I may just have taken on too much.  By taking on too much, I let my team down, I let my department down and I let my family down.

Earlier today, I moderated a discussion between a group of young public servants and a senior leader within the organization.  This senior leader shared some sage advice.  He mentioned that you need to take chances, you need to be true to yourself – in effect, ‘you only live once’, but you have got to live it right.

His words gave me pause for reflection, coupled with the tragic loss of a family member on Sunday night, I realized that i needed to step back.  I needed to regroup and readjust.  

I had a conversation with two of my colleagues – two trusted friends – and let them know that I was going to take some time.  They were supportive. And while they said they understood, I can’t help but feel I am taking the easy road out.  

But at the end of the day, I know the work will go and we will deliver like we always do.  During my conversation with my two friends, one of them remarked, ‘perhaps you care too much.’  Those words too gave me pause to look inside.  

I understand and appreciate the sentiment  As a public servant, and as a manager, I am not sure we can ever care enough.  

There is a bigger lesson in here and it will take some time to uncover and learn from it, but for now, the decision to take some time away has been made. 

Over the coming days, I will focus on these 3 small words: ‘Regroup and Readjust.’ If you have insight, I’d welcome the opportunity to listen…and to talk.


6 Responses to “Regroup and Readjust”

  1. Mrsnickcharney Says:

    From someone who has been told they care too much and as someone who lives and loves someone who pushes the envelope and is also told that he cares to much, I offer you this: Keep caring..about yourself, your family, your work; and in the end your caring will make a different!


    • marcrjgagnon Says:


      Thank you for taking the time to read and share your view and advice. It’s much appreciated. There are lessons in here – I just need to slow it down enough – so I can see them more clearly.


  2. amy2mac Says:

    I heard the term “managing perception” today. In my humble opinion, the only perception we can manage is our own – the rest is outside of our circle of influence. So, as you reflect, I offer this to you: don’t question your strength, as it allowed you to come to this important and no doubt difficult decision to say “slow the train down, I need to get off and catch my breath”. There is no weakness and certainly nothing easy, in that. There are many who could… and should… take a lesson from it.

  3. Sigi Says:

    A couple of years ago I took a YEAR off from my public service career, to re-balance. It was after three difficult years living and managing a team in the Congo. It was a wonderful year. I made time again for family and friends. I reconnected with my own dreams by getting my professional chef diploma from Algonquin College (me and a bunch of great 17-year olds :-). And I realized that success for me was not EX05. It was about making space for creativity and the people I love. It became my priority, to the extent that after putting in two more years in another high-stress management job, next Friday is my last working day in the public service. The pension is taking a big hit, but my time-out showed me that life is short and a life well-lived is based on reflection that sometimes can only come by stepping back.
    Sending you hugs and hopping we can have that glass of wine some time.
    xo Sigi

    • marcrjgagnon Says:


      Thank you for sharing. While I won’t be taking a year, in the few days that I have been away, I have come to appreciate the truth in the saying ‘only worry about that which you have control’.

      The glass of wine is in order and we can certainly share more lessons when that happens.


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