I had an interesting experience this past week. My calling at church is to serve as first counselor in the High Priests Group leadership. When we were first called as a presidency we held a presidency meeting. There we discussed individual assignments and responsibilities. Since that initial meeting – several months ago – we have not had another presidency meeting.
Now you know us old HPs are a mostly mature bunch and we shouldn’t require a lot of hand holding. But in recent weeks I have felt completely out of the loop of things happening in the quorum. I guess it culminated a couple of weeks ago when the HP group leader reported in Ward Council meeting that we had a successful HP Temple outing the night before. My wife was present at Ward Council meeting (she’s the Primary president) and she told me about the comment. I wondered why I didn’t even know about the outing (I had been absent one week before recovering from some minor surgery) because I was the counselor with the assignment to handle temple matters. I made an appointment to go visit the HP Group leader for a private meeting. Since we were both on business travel at various times it took us a couple of weeks to get together.
This post is not meant to be a commentary on the disorganized nature of our HP Group leadership. But I discovered something interesting about myself that I really hadn’t realized during the first 53 years of my life. I need structure.
At our meeting there was a friendly, congenial atmosphere and I started off by accepting partial responsibility for my predicament. I realize that I can be a slacker when I want to be but I also expressed concern about being out of touch with the other members of the group leadership. I couched this comment with the confession that in my professional life and my personal life I need to have objectives to accomplish anything. It is interesting that I work in a creative field (architecture) but I have always found myself on the more structured side of the profession – producing construction documents and performing construction adminstration duties. I have usually left the design phase to others that I trust will do a better job than me. After 15 years of private practice experience I now work for the federal government overseeing the work of architects and contractors who design and build buildings for the government. Three years ago I moved even further away from the day-to-day activities of building design and started working in the “policy office” of a major agency. That means that I typically don’t get involved with just one project but it is more of a program management position. We set policy and training guidelines for the agency’s facilities operations. I have had some trouble adapting to this work because it can be very unstructured at times. Only recently have I really felt comfortable in doing my job and feel like I finally know what I’m doing.
My HP Group leader also works in a similar office for a defense agency but says that his group is all about creative, independent work product. He noted that I had served as bishop in the past but I pointed out that the life of a bishop can be very structured because there are regular meetings to be attended and your exec sec will usually establish your schedule for you. Certainly a bishop needs to survey the landscape of the ward on a regular basis and decide what the ward members need but the bishop also has counselors who assist in that endeavor.
As I continued in the conversation I came to realize that I was finally feeling more comfortable at my current job because I have a new supervisor and she has added some much needed structure to our group.
I want to point out that I am definately NOT a planning zealot. I often “shoot from the hip” in many situations. But even shooting from the hip can be easier when you know what your objective is. I am not overly organized either – in fact quite the opposite. But, once again, final objectives allow me to be haphazard as I move toward the final goal, no matter how many strange turns I make along the way.
So I wonder, do you need structure in your life? Is it required for you to feel safe and happy?