Transcript of 6th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Katherine Lippard, Wednesday, May 28, 1997 at 4:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Ms. Lippard.
Ms. Lippard: Hello, Doctor Balis. Sorry I'm late. It took longer at the printers than I thought.
Dr. Balis: Are you late?
Ms. Lippard: I am by my watch.
Dr. Balis: It's not that important. I don't see your briefcase today. How's the project going?
Ms. Lippard: It's done. I dropped off the materials for the presentation at the printers, and they should be ready Friday, but the project is done.
Dr. Balis: You seem more relaxed.
Ms. Lippard: I am. I had another conversation with you Monday...or was it Friday? Whatever. I was getting really discouraged that I couldn't make the numbers work, so I imagined talking to you about it. I really admire your reason and perspective.
Dr. Balis: Oh? What did I say?
Ms. Lippard: You reminded me that the numbers are what they are. That I'd done everything I could with what I had to work with. You said that even though I'd done all the work, it wasn't really my responsibility. You pointed out the possibility that if the board wasn't happy with my work, they might actually blame Frank for putting an underling in charge of such an important project.
Dr. Balis: That's a good point. If Frank really is trying to distance himself from this, it could backfire on him.
Ms. Lippard: You also reminded me that I said I wouldn't really mind losing this job.
Dr. Balis: Yes, we were going to talk more about that.
Ms. Lippard: I'll get to that, but there was something else. I talked to Frank about leaving me alone with this.
Dr. Balis: How did that go?
Ms. Lippard: Not too bad, actually. I told him how I felt left out in the cold with work I had never done before. And he apologized for not giving me the support I needed. He said he would have, if I had asked. I have to admit, I pretty much suffered in silence. It's not like me to ask for help--I've got to do it all myself. Frank started to talk about how hectic the week had been for him. Apparently, there was some kind of family trouble at his son's graduation. Or his daughter's. You know, by the picture on his desk, I thought he had two kids, but he mentioned three names. I didn't understand much of it. It isn't like Frank to talk about his home life much. As soon as he realized what he was doing, he clammed up. Something must really be bugging him.
Dr. Balis: So that's why he's been absent so much?
Ms. Lippard: I guess so. But the upshot of the whole thing was that he thought I was ready to handle this. He said he was confident in me. He knew it was a tough job, but he thought I was up to it. So we went over everything in depth, and he said he was impressed. Frank doesn't pass out a lot of compliments, but he seemed really sincere. So that made me feel good. I told him since he was the CFO that his ass was really the one on the line here, and he assured me that no asses were on the line. He thinks if we present the financial picture as honestly as possible--not sugar coat it at all--then it'll all be on Major. And the board won't let us hang. They've heard Major's shit before, and Frank thinks they're ready to hold him accountable. Just him. So I feel pretty good. I'm covered and Frank's covered, as long as we present an honest account.
Dr. Balis: So you don't think you were being set up as a scapegoat?
Ms. Lippard: No, not any more. I think Frank was just distracted, and he really thinks I did a good job. You know, I'm glad to find this out. I was going to lose a lot of respect for Frank, if he was setting me up--it's not his style. He takes responsibility. In fact, instead of my losing respect for him, I think he gained some for me. I feel even more secure in my position now.
Dr. Balis: Good. So that stress is relieved.
Ms. Lippard: Almost. There's still the board meeting, but we're going to rehearse Saturday. And Frank's decided to be there, so we can present a united front.
Dr. Balis: I'm sure you'll do fine.
Ms. Lippard: Thanks. I think so, too.
Dr. Balis: So your job is safe.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah. But I still might quit.
Dr. Balis: Oh?
Ms. Lippard: Well, I don't know. You know, I don't get it. Here I am a successful business woman. I've got an MBA. I'm the right hand to the Chief Financial Officer of a Fortune 1000 company. I have a great condo overlooking the Bay in one of the finest cities in the United States. I'm about to trade my fairly new Lexus for a brand new Jaguar. I could live pretty well on half my income, and I'm a hell of an investor--I could retire in ten years and not change my standard of living a bit. The only thing I don't have is a family, and I don't really want that--most of the men who are in my league I find boring. So I have all the things I'm supposed to have. By all measures, I'm a success. But what good does it do me? I have everything I've ever strived for. I've achieved all my goals. But I'm...empty. Is this all there is?
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Every measure of success that you've used is career-related. You've talked about the job, and retiring, and the things you've bought. What about your personal life? I remember you saying something about relaxing at home and keeping your work out of your personal life.
Ms. Lippard: Maybe I exaggerated. I really don't have much personal life. Except for Phil, of course.
Dr. Balis: You've never really told me who Phil is.
Ms. Lippard: Hmm, I guess not. Okay. Philip--that's with one"l"--Andrew Lippard is my brother. Daddy called him PAL until Phil got old enough to tell him he didn't like it. He's three years younger than me, a college dropout, and an artist. He moved here from Charleston three years ago, and I promptly followed. Phil can barely take care of himself. He wouldn't have made it here at all, if I hadn't helped him out. Sometimes I still pay his rent, though he hates that. But he knows I don't care about the money, and I've never held it against him. He loves me like mad. I feel the same way, I guess. There's nothing we wouldn't do for each other. I used to take care of him when we were kids--walk him home from the bus, help him with his homework--he always had trouble with school--watch him till Mom came home. Now he worries about me. And I think that's cute. He listens when I'm feeling bad, tries to get me to go out sometimes. It was Phil who got me to come here in the first place, and then to call you back when you kicked me out. God, he acted like an asshole then! That may be the only time we've ever really screamed at each other. I think he was willing to let me hate him for the rest of my life, if that's what it took to get me into therapy.
Dr. Balis: That's a big risk for him to take. He must love you very much.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah. Yeah, wow. And you know what? It's just me. He doesn't even like the work I do, or the professional world I do it in. All that doesn't matter to him. It's me he loves, not what I do. How did he get to be so wise? When did he become the smarter one?
Dr. Balis: That would be an interesting thing to talk about.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, it would. You know what else would be interesting? How is it that he's so damned happy? Here I am with everything I ever wanted, and I'm miserable. Empty. And here he is living on his art, starving half the time, plugging the holes in his walls with newspaper--you know, on bad days it actually gets foggy inside his loft?--and yet he's living it up! I've seen him actually lose weight when he can't sell a painting. But even then, he's still smiling and carefree. As long as we're talking about things, let's talk about that.
Dr. Balis: That sounds like a good idea. But I don't think we have enough time left to get into it right now. Shall we call it a day?
Ms. Lippard: Okay, that makes sense. So we'll start next week with rich and miserable versus poor and ecstatic.
Dr. Balis: Good. And good luck with the presentation.
Ms. Lippard: Thank you. And thanks for being there for me, even when you're just in my head. This has become very important to me.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad I can help. But you're really doing all the work.
Ms. Lippard: You're a special man, Doctor Balis.
Dr. Balis: Thank you, Ms. Lippard. Good night.
Ms. Lippard: Good night.
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