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Plenty to think about

The second of three articles reviewed a system of a family financial business complete with years of collaborative skills professionally and personally. Oscar, my client, is the leader of a Board of Trustees. He provided an overview that might be cause for envy.

The married couple brought not only their collective skills to the business; also their social graces were revered. Years of growth brought emotional and mental prosperity. Then a major change was thrust upon the business and the board. Joan, the heir to the business, announced her divorce to Babe, her spouse and business partner. She was having an affair with a successful, well-known businessman. Oscar briefly described Joan’s new boyfriend as being of dubious distinction. Oscar, who journaled throughout his tenure, brought a journal that provided a synopsis of his observation. He and the other board members received Joan’s news with shock and confusion. She was to marry this affair.

“So, Oscar, please proceed. What followed with the news of Joan and Babe’s divorce, her affair and plan to marry Danny?”

“Life changed for me and for the board. In place of Babe, who we loved and respected, bringing success to the business, Danny joined Joan. He turned on his charm, which we easily saw through. With respect to Joan, we bit our tongue. Danny fancied himself an entrepreneur with a resume of success stories. Our intel told us differently. Our world has big ears. What you may imagine occurring behind the scenes often is not exaggerated or contrived. Danny’s reputation preceded him. We knew him to be a conniver, a fast-track man who would step over people, push people away to achieve his business goals. His history of affairs with successful wealthy women is not worthy of a man running the financial group with Joan. We were secretly worried and concerned about Joan. Did she blindly enter into this experience? What happened to Babe? He was my friend, in addition to professional colleague. We never saw this coming.”

“What’s going on currently?” I asked. “What shape is the business in? And, more importantly, how are you?”

Oscar gave off a rough chuckle. “Marshall, the situation is bizarre. Danny has made demonstrative decisive comments about Babe. He calls Babe’s work ‘disastrous.’ He has introduced new measures that make little sense for the business. Joan appears almost in a mesmerized state and is silent as Danny tears up Babe’s work and introduces his system. He’s made threats even to disband the board. He believes they don’t need us. They can conduct business successfully on their own. Bad mistake. Our once hard-earned success story is being pummelled and torn apart. I want to speak with Joan; however, I’m not confident she’d listen.”

“Wow, what are you thinking? You describe Danny as opportunistic in a dangerous fashion.”

“Yes, Danny jumped on this opportunity without hesitation. His charm has captured Joan’s heart. We, the board members, aren’t sure about the security of our positions. Several members have grumbled about resigning. One member took me aside and simply stated he didn’t need this grief. You see, Marshall, I sense Joan’s parents rolling in their graves, bless their hearts. They started the business, earned its success and passed it on to Joan, who along with Babe brought continued success in a tough market. Whatever happened to Joan and Babe has the business in a state of chaos. Investors are dropping out, Marshall. Those affected by Danny’s unhinged moods and senseless decisions could potentially drive the business down a hole.”

“You’re getting close to your return date, I believe. What have you learned given an opportunity to vent?”

“I’ve got lots to think about. You know, I love Joan’s folks. They were good to me. Joan and Babe followed suit. Danny’s disruptive force has the business in jeopardy. You know, I’m a confident man. I’ve let myself torment over this insidious change. Time for me to take Joan aside and to draw upon our once-strong relationship. We need to talk seriously. I feel more at ease. I can’t let Danny intimidate me. That’s his M.O. Time to outwit the charmer. Maybe I’ll even look up Babe for a drink. Thanks, Marshall.”

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

Marshall Greenstein, a Cassadaga resident, holds a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling and is a licensed marriage and family counselor and a licensed mental health counselor in New York state. He has regular office hours at Hutton and Greenstein Counseling Services, 501 E. Third St., Suite 2B, Jamestown, 484-7756. For more information or to suggest topics, email editorial@observertoday.com.

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