Professors geared up for the yearly research submissions to national conferences. Their jobs and movement up the ranks at the university depended on the number of research publications accepted every year. 

The research must be stellar. 

The research must add more value and discussion to the research and implementation discussions. This gave policy experts more reason to fund our programs and ultimately pay our salaries. 

Crunching numbers was my expertise. As an undergraduate, I presented research findings at international conferences. Something few young students ever did. 

Supporting five academic professors and their research findings was a large task. Daily meetings with professors ensued as the abstract submission deadline came closer and closer. 

Then, that call came in. 

That type of call that you already knew something was a bit off. 

There was a slight hesitation in picking up the call. 

I immediately jumped to conclusions. 

Was this a pissed off professor wanting to look at the data with one more variable? 

Were more changes going to cause a dramatic change to our submissions?

This was different. This phone call had an eerily different vibe.


“My Dad is getting rushed from the hospital to a higher level hospital two hours away in a larger city.  Upon further review of scans, my Dad needed quadruple heart bypass surgery, a little more than a stent. This small town in upstate New York didn’t have the skill set nor equipment to perform this surgery. It’s scheduled for tomorrow morning after they stabilize him.” 

The nervousness in his voice was apparent. With his only parent left, this was no small deal. His father was much older and may have complications during surgery. 

I was in the middle of a big deadline. What am I suppose to do? I’m only 23 and want to do a good job. Eek!

I did the only thing I knew. 

I booked a 6am flight to Albany for the next morning. I’d arrive during surgery. I packed up my laptop and left a note for my boss that I’d work on the statistical analyses while my boyfriend’s father was in surgery. They would have everything they need before submissions were to go in. 

Unexpected events happen with no warning. 

How would you respond? 

What are you teaching your co-workers about the importance of work versus life events? 

Be prepared to respond to the unexpected. Where possible, create buffer zones of space to handle the unexpected. 

While the relationship didn’t last, my ex boyfriend said he’d never forget the kindness and forethought for being there when life took a sharp twisted turn. 

Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day!

Lora Polowczuk
Chief Energy Officer
© Priority Retreats International