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Chasing Squirrels

I’ve known EO blogger Bonni Titgemeyer for a while. I’ve always appreciated her unique perspective and ability to look at things analytically and practically.

I like to read her blog. This is where I learned about Ro-Tel. Mmmmmm  Ro-Tel. (e.g. Eat Ro-Tel during football season)

Among the things we have in common – Human Resources, enjoying a good college football game on a crisp Fall day, a new passion for colouring, and Ro-Tel – also we’re both dog owners and dog lovers.

I found myself chuckling reading her post Sometimes Even the Daring are Chicken about her dog Mars being carted on and off a boat at the lake.   My dog Dakota has similar seemingly irrational behaviors.  Like barking fiercely when someone comes to the door, only to instantaneously sit and wag her tail madly the moment we answer the door – whether to strangers or my dad.

Recently, we took care of a neighbor’s tea cup Morkie. She weighed 3 pounds. Dakota, all 50 pounds of her, ran and hid under a table to hide from the Morkie. Hid under a table! Sometimes, even the daring are chicken! I commented that I loved Bonni’s perspective on Mars’ behaviour.   I had never thought about my dog’s behaviour in relation to work.

Then, this image popped into my head:

Sandis picDakota relentlessly chases squirrels. She chased one up this tree in our backyard. She stood there, gazing into the sky for about 10 minutes . Did. Not. Move.   Not sure exactly what was going on in her head then.

But she could not be distracted from it.   I hollered “Cookie!”, “Car!” and even tried “Park! – Words that usually get her attention and then some.

But she didn’t care. She was waiting for that squirrel. She caught one, once, one Spring. The squirrel, dazed, recently emerged from winter was too slow. Dakota, surprising even herself by catching the poor thing, flung it back up into the air and watched it scramble away to safety.

People do this. We do this – at work. Relentless focus. Single minded, narrow-dogged determination. Not listening to alternative and potentially good, realistic ideas from others. (I said Cookie, after all).

We get laser-locked on a course of action and cannot be persuaded otherwise. Maybe it worked out, once, before. We’re convinced our approach will work.   We don’t pay attention to what else is going on. How much time are we willing to devote before moving on?

What is your thought process? – are you an opportunity-seeking person, or are you just chasing squirrels?


Sandra Karpis is a CHRE and currently Vice President of Human Resources for a financial services company based in Toronto.  She has worked in HR for 25 years across multiple industries.  Sandra is also a wife and a mom, a lover of great big books, all things Outlander,  and a first-time blog contributor.

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