I had to take a bit of a hiatus from blogging. Had a flare-up with the eyes and it was a bit hard to read or write much, at least without lots of grammar and spelling errors. But I did have lots of time to think and writing helps clear my thoughts and motivate me… so here goes.

Government Forms Can Cause Blindness

I didn’t know this either and it is not in the fine print anywhere… I found it out the hard way on Wednesday evening. Ok, I admit I procrastinated a bit on the personal tax returns and had lots of other business stuff to do.

So I had hunkered down in the office, grabbed lots of snacks and was prepared to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening on catching up. Nothing like the last minute to make you productive… time to sprint.

I did the payroll which took longer than expected because the government had changed the personal tax exemptions for April 2009 and the benefits costs for everyone had changed as well.

After that my eyes still being a bit irritated from before and seeming a bit redder than earlier, I decided that to be on the safe side I would put a few drops of Polysporin in them to “help the healing”. I then proceeded to tackle the GST quarterly return which involves making sure all the expenses were caught up and entered.

After I answered the call of nature, I looked in the mirror and my eyes were bright red! I flushed my eyes with water, cursed, and prayed that it was just temporary.

I tackled my personal tax forms next, taking a break every 15-20 minutes to flush out the eyes. I won’t go into details about it except to say it was not pretty.

I filed my tax return and then called my business partner, Al Dhalla, to see if he knew of any place open at 11:30 PM, other than emergency. Nope.

Called home and told Deborah to pick me up at the office and then we would go to emergency as things were really getting uncomfortable. While she was driving I finished up some stuff and locked up the office.

Emergency Room Wait

We then went to Rockyview Hospital in Calgary’s southwest. The admitting nurse asked what happened and I told her I thought my eyes were allergic to government forms or Polysporin.

Waiting in emergency late at night is always interesting. Besides the normal stuff there were three young men who looked to be mostly on the receiving end of a nasty altercation and were getting stitched up, complete with police officers taking pictures of the wounds. News in the making.

After waiting for over two hours (I was lucky, that is short in Calgary), I finally saw the doctor. Turns out I had gone to the right place; the Rockyview was the place was where the “serious” eye doctors in Calgary hang out.

The diagnosis, stay away from Polysporin and to be on the safe side, don’t do your government returns at the last minute without lots of breaks, it’s been known to cause blindness. Yup, should clear up a couple days after the deadline.

Customer Service with a Smile

Thursday I had to go pay our GST at the bank. I had Deborah drive me to the branch. I was really careful to wash my hands and not touch my eyes so there was no risk to the public… and besides, I am pretty sure I was wearing my own shoes.

The teller gets “A” for effort. He looked at my eyes and clearly believed that I was one of the X-men beginning to transform. But the entire time he smiled and did all the right things for great customer service, even though he clearly felt like running.

Wear Red to Match Your Eyes

Deborah started up Ukrainian dancing again this year and their year-end performance for friends and family was that night. She was feeling a bit tired and was worried that if she went, I might need to go to the hospital and she would not be here to drive me.

So I solved the dilemma by going to watch. Now I won’t make any jokes about Ukrainian dancing being hard on the eyes as I do have some sense as to what is likely to get me killed.

I decided to wear a nice dark red shirt, it’s not often you get to wear red to match your eyes. Actually the motive was to distract viewers and camouflage the eyes, as after the teller incident I didn’t want to panic the performers.

I probably came off a little stand-offish to her new dancing friends as I refused to shake anyone’s hand. Hopefully they thought I was just Howie Mandel in disguise for “This is Howie Do It”.

Real Men Don’t Cry

Of course real men don’t cry… and if they do it must be dirt in the eyes… or a reaction to the antibiotic cream.

The doctor explained how to put the ointment in. Sounded easy.

Reality, the stuff sticks to everything including your eyelashes. 10 minutes to get the stuff in and 20 minutes to clean up.

An hour later, tears came to my eyes. Honestly, it was just a reaction to the antibiotic cream.

Sensitivity in the Workplace

This all got me to thinking about how men and women are different and how this can manifest in the workplace.

It is important as a manager to be aware in differences not only between the sexes but in personalities. You need to learn to motivate different people in different ways.

It is never wise to ignore feelings when dealing out criticism. And equally, you need to be aware of staff members who may be “off” due to circumstances away from the office.

Hey, I am a guy. I admit I may have been accused in the past of not being sensitive enough from time to time, especially when I am focused or being competitive.

But, I do like to think I am more observant than many and…

The experts confirmed it; I am a guy with sensitive eyes.