When Petra accepted a job offer from the National Institute of Running Sciences in Washington, DC, I was very upset saying sayonara to her and our plans of living a lifestyle we call intense realism. However, I talked to Petra on the phone yesterday, and she’s moving back to Spokane.
She has already given her notice and put a deposit down on a place here in town. An incident the first month on the job as director of corporate relations led to the change.
Things started so well that Petra was looking forward to a long career at the Institute. However, one day a group of employees held a spur-of-the-moment stairs vs. elevator race in the Institute building, which happens frequently.
But this time, the Institute’s CEO was part of the group, and he challenged the newbie, Petra, to a race covering twelve floors. The CEO is in his mid-40’s, an excellent runner, and Petra figured he would easily outrun her elevator ride.
In a rare circumstance, no one got on or off the elevator, and it picked up speed with each floor. The CEO also ran into a big group of employees who were going down the stairs for lunch. Petra reached the twelfth floor first, and the CEO begrudgingly acknowledged losing. However, he looked quite displeased the rest of the afternoon. Petra figured losing to a subordinate who was also new on the job did not sit well with him.
A few days later, she was moved from her large, corner office with lots of windows to a cramped, interior one with none. The CEO stopped talking to her and didn’t include her in important meetings.
Petra thinks he felt totally emasculated even though she hadn’t done anything but ride an elevator to the twelfth floor. Trying to interact with the CEO was like talking to a brick wall. Petra said, “There was nothing I could do, and I didn’t see the situation changing anytime soon, so I gave my notice.”
Though I felt badly for Petra, I am so glad she’s coming back to Spokane. And she told me she’s glad things turned out this way because she can’t believe she passed up the chance to live the intense realism lifestyle we envisioned.