I have a friend who’s been freelancing for the better part of the past two decades. And he finally took a “real” job just recently. He is enjoying his Labor Day as his first paid holiday in forever. And I realize I’m where he once was — it’s another day without pay. I’m not quite used to that yet.

I love the weekends. It’s when I spend money and don’t worry so much about the next check. There’s plenty of time for that during the week. Even though there’s plenty of work to be done, that doesn’t mean a reward is arriving on time. Or, in some cases, at all.

But as I wandered out to have coffee and smoke a cigarette (yes, I’m cheating) on the balcony this morning — having just finished reading “The Help” — it was a nice feeling. Sure, the worry started to bubble up, as it always does. But I squelched it and just decided to enjoy the quiet moments of watching the ocean waves and not thinking about the inevitable e-mail deluge I have to face the moment I finish this blog entry.

I needed this weekend. I’m transitioning between assignments and need to clear my head to start the next one. The last one ended on a good note, which was nice. Very busy up till the end, and with not a single mistake in sight. The thing is, mistakes are costly in my field. You type a letter or a digit wrong, and people lose thousands of dollars.

What made me special in this field is my aversion to errors. I spot them from a mile away and fix them quietly. It’s just when I get overloaded that the wheels start to slowly come off. You edit everybody else and save their butts, but who’s there to check YOUR work?

But this is again where I’ve always stood out, I tighten the bolts, get the car back in gear and keep the wheels turning. Nobody gets inconvenienced. And the wine industry, from my end, always benefits.

What certain people will never realize is the value of having that person around who can keep you out of trouble … or get you out of it right-quick. The person who did more than you ever really knew or will ever realize. But, whatever.

This weekend (yes, it took THIS LONG), I finally forgave everyone from The Life Before. I always thought they were brought into my life to teach me something, and they did. But I think the bigger purpose of our meeting was for me to teach them something. And they are back in God’s hands now. I’m washing mine clean … and forgiving myself, too.

Moving forward, I’m getting to a point where I need an editor. I am great with the little details but my specialty is in the big ideas. It always has been. You *can* do both, but never well. I’ve known too many people at the top who insist on doing everyone’s jobs at the bottom, and the failure was spectacular.

Usually someone in the middle gets the blame for it, though. You need the “visionary” and you need the “low-cost labor,” but when you need to fire a cook from the crammed kitchen, it’s usually the one who’s also seating people and running the credit cards too.

I don’t know whether it’s the recession or my industry in general, but being a middle to upper manager is the most precarious position to be in. You know how things work on the front lines. You may have leadership potential but nobody at the top wants the threat of having their salary removed from the payroll. So everything — mostly in the form of duties and blame — gets dumped on you. The kudos go to the top, but you’re also (if you’re good) keeping the spirits up all around.

When I was on the front lines, I hated middle managers. Then I became one. And I miss it. But I’m meant for more.

It’s time God heard some different prayers out of me, so today I am asking Him to guide my decision-making. I always pray for outcomes but don’t do the work to get to them.

It’s time to shine. I’ll get there, I just know it. And I think all I have to do, really, is ask…

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