What is this about a husband in Kenya?
The college president for whom I was working at the time stared at me across the table during our weekly one-on-one. She looked troubled.
I set my coffee mug down. A what?
In yesterday’s strategic planning meeting, I heard you mention a husband in Kenya. There must be some explanation. Does Rod know?
The president’s office door was slightly ajar and I was suddenly aware of an unusually quiet outer office, normally bustling with a couple of executive assistants and a few work-study students. In my mind’s eye, I could already see the campus rumor mill grinding into gear. And I could see the newspaper headline: Protestant Dean at Catholic College Admits to Two Husbands. Pope NOT Happy.
Kenya? I asked, What are you talking about? I don’t have a husband in Kenya!
Well, I hoped I’d mis-heard. I thought you said, and I quote, ‘my husband in Kenya.’
I tried not to let my laughter cause me to snort my morning coffee. Rod, my one and only husband, is a political science professor and was up for tenure at a college across town. Tenure, I said, enunciating carefully. Not Kenya. Tenure. I must have said, ‘my husband and tenure.’
If it’s this hard when talking to someone in person, and not even in a conflict situation, it’s no wonder communication at work gets complicated.
If you ever need some help un-complicating it, give me a call. I’ll be sure to enunciate.