Transcript of 5th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Katherine Lippard, Wednesday, May 21, 1997 at 4:00 pm.

Ms. Lippard: Afternoon, Dr. Balis.
Dr. Balis: Hello, Ms. Lippard. How are you today?
Ms. Lippard: Scared. Haggard. See this?
Dr. Balis: Yes?
Ms. Lippard: I bought it Monday. I've never carried a briefcase before. Even at the bank, when I was making investment decisions minute by minute, I never took work home. I mean, not a bit. I don't even get Business Week and The Wall Street Journal at home; they're delivered to the office, and I leave them there. Now I'm taking home spreadsheets; I'm writing proposals late into the night. I'm losing sleep.
Dr. Balis: What's changed?
Ms. Lippard: The Apple project has become a real bear. I can see it all going to hell and taking me with it. I'm spending all day meeting with bankers and investors, and all night crunching numbers and thinking up strategies, and I'm still not getting anywhere.
Dr. Balis: What's the problem?
Ms. Lippard: It just won't fly. I can't get the capital together to make a successful bid. What should really happen is that Apple should buy us, not the other way around. If we buy them, the resulting company will be carrying so much liability that we won't see the light of day for the next decade. Unless we can sport the spectacular growth of a young Wal-Mart--and both companies are just too old and too big for that kind of expansion--nothing I can think of can both create a strong, profitable company and allow the bid to succeed. It's driving me nuts. Frank's at his wits end, too, but it doesn't seem to bother him. That's the real problem, I think. I'm tearing my hair out trying to make the crazy scheme work, and Frank, who's really ultimately responsible for it, is not stressing at all. I think my career is on the line here.
Dr. Balis: Yours? I'd think if anyone's job was in danger it would be Frank's. But certainly no one's going to get fired if you decide the project simply can't be done.
Ms. Lippard: I don't know if that's true. Major can be one of those "if you can't do it, I'll find someone who can" kind of managers. So I'm under a lot of pressure to make this work, but if we try and it doesn't work, then my head will be the first to roll.
Dr. Balis: Why yours? You're not the Chief Financial Officer; you just work for him.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, well...this has pretty much become my project. Oh, by the way, I wanted to mention this to you: sometimes I still get stressed out that this has all been pushed on me, you know? I agonize about not being in control--that the change is not my doing. But then I think of what you said, about using the stress to improve my performance, and about how I've handled bigger changes before. And I calm down! If I focus on meeting the challenge, instead of where the challenge is coming from, then I can do it.
Dr. Balis: That's very good. You're learning to rechannel stressful energy and to avoid dwelling on issues you can't change.
Ms. Lippard: Progress, huh?
Dr. Balis: Yes, excellent progress for the short time you've been in therapy. But I have to caution you again, there may be setbacks, too. Integrating these attitudes is a matter of practice, and you're not going to be able to get it right every time right away.
Ms. Lippard: Damn it, Doctor! Every time I make some kind of progress you have to shoot me down by telling me not to be excited about it. It's like you're holding me back. I wonder if you're not trying to stretch this out as long as possible.
Dr. Balis: Whoa! Settle down. I think the insights you've made are remarkable; I'm proud of the progress you've shown, and I've said so. I just don't want to you to become frustrated if one day you aren't able to put these insights into practice as well as you have before. Therapy is an irregular process. You won't progress at this rapid pace all the time; there may be periods of time when very little seems to be happening. Sometimes you may even feel like you're losing ground. I'm not belittling the progress you've made; far from it. I think it's wonderful. I'm just trying to keep your expectations reasonable.
Ms. Lippard: Uh huh.
Dr. Balis: As for lengthening the therapy process, that's clearly an unethical practice and I simply don't do that.
Ms. Lippard: Hmm. Well, okay. But can you accept that I understand all that now and not bring it up again? I want to feel good about the progress I make without wondering when it might slow down.
Dr. Balis: Accepted. I apologize if it seemed like I was harping on the subject.
Ms. Lippard: Thank you.
Dr. Balis: You were talking about your job being on the line.
Ms. Lippard: Yes. I said this has become my project. Frank has been very helpful, giving me ideas and helping me make contacts and stuff, but he's managed to really distance himself from this. He's been out of the office a lot since this came up; I don't think he's spent five full days at work in the past two weeks. So I'm taking calls on things he's had in the fire that I know nothing about. I can't even give the number crunching to the accountants, because I've already given them almost all of my regular stuff. That's why I'm taking work home now. And Major called me for an update this morning. Called me directly--didn't even want to talk to Frank. Which was good because Frank sauntered in just in time to go to lunch. Apparently, he's made it clear to Major that I'm in charge of this project. I think he wants a scapegoat. What if he knew from the beginning that this deal's impossible, and he's setting me up to take the fall, protecting himself. Damn! I thought he had more integrity than that.
Dr. Balis: It sounds like you're making a lot of assumptions. Have you spoken to Frank about this?
Ms. Lippard: What am I going to do, accuse him of setting me up?
Dr. Balis: Of course not. But you could express these concerns to him, tell him you feel left out to dry, and ask for some more support. You might find out that he has tremendous confidence in your abilities, and feels comfortable putting his career in your hands.
Ms. Lippard: Or I might find out that I'm a sacrificial lamb. Of course...
Dr. Balis: Yes?
Ms. Lippard: If that's the case, I could start looking for another job right away. Get the jump on him. Take control back.
Dr. Balis: That is a possibility. But perhaps you should find out where you really stand before you start planning to quit.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, I guess I should. Sometimes I look so far into the future, I can't see the present.
Dr. Balis: Well put. Sounds like another new insight.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah. With all the warnings about not being disappointed still in mind. Oh hell, I can't believe I didn't mention this!
Dr. Balis: What?
Ms. Lippard: The board meeting. Frank says that since I've done most of the work, I should present the financial plan to the board next Monday. Not this Monday, the next: June 2nd. So I'm going to present this financial fucking disaster to the fucking Board of Directors, including Lloyd Major who's so hot for this takeover, he's creaming his jeans--and the CFO won't even fucking be there! He's taking a long weekend, going to see...I don't remember.
Dr. Balis: Wow.
Ms. Lippard: Damn right, wow. Does it sound a little more like I'm on my own here?
Dr. Balis: Yes it does. All the more reason to talk to Frank, let him know how alone you feel in this. And find out how alone you really are.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah. Yeah, I'll have to do that. Tomorrow. Thanks. You know, this is really helping. I mean, the way I'm refocusing and keeping perspective on what's really important. And I never would have confronted Frank about my feelings if I hadn't talked to you. I'm glad I'm doing this. Thanks for helping.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad to. That's why I chose this profession. It looks like we're about out of time. Until next week?
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, I'll be here. I'm skipping workouts, but I'm not skipping this. You know what really gets me? Now the professional is coming home with me, too. It's not like I ever had an active social life, but at least home was separate from work. I'm not relaxing at home, and like I said, I'm missing workouts. But mostly, I miss my time with Phil and his world. I'd almost be okay losing my job. At least then I could have some of my life back.
Dr. Balis: That sounds like an excellent place to start next week.
Ms. Lippard: Okay. See you.
Dr. Balis: Good night, Ms. Lippard.
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