Have you ever noticed how, sometimes, it takes an awful lot of energy to NOT do something? For instance, at no point in this last week have I pulled out my hair. I have not screamed. I have not curled up into a little ball and rocked myself back and forth on the floor of my office. I have hurled nothing out the window or even across the room. And trust me, it would have cost me less energy to do any of these rather than keeping my (relative) sanity and acting like an adult, which I’ve mostly done.
Seriously? This last week or so has been difficult. I’ve kept it together, for the most part, but my heart is tired. Not even the shiny, new MacBook Pro that the office issued me is making my days.
I’m facing a lot of demands at work. I’m in a new position (again!) and…well, the short, charitable version is that we have a lot going on. It’s more than a little unnerving to have people calling or emailing for documents that should be on your hard drive but aren’t, especially when they needed them last week and have no idea how your department usually produces them.
Honestly, people have been wonderful. They have been so understanding when I’ve had to tell them that I’m new, that what they need isn’t where it’s supposed to be, and that it’s going to take me some time to figure out what is going on. Some of them have even searched their own hard drives to find any information that they might have that would help me. Several have told me that it’s ok, that there’s a learning curve, that I’m not expected to pull something out of thin air. And so many people have asked about me. I feel blessed that people want to make sure I’m ok in the midst of this…um…less than ideal transition.
But all the love in the world can’t deny the pressure. I feel loved, but I still feel swamped. I feel loved, but there still hasn’t been more than an hour or so in the workday when I feel like, maybe, my head is above the water. It seems inevitable right now that someone else is going to call or email or show up at my door looking for something I’ve never heard of before and can’t provide them.
I think dealing pretty well with all of this, especially since these things play on a lot of my insecurities, a lot of the places where I’ve felt before like I’ve had to make myself bigger than I really am. I hate feeling stupid, or lost, or behind. I hate missing deadlines. I hate not being able to give people what they need when they need it. I hate feeling like my life at work is booby trapped with things that I don’t know about that need to be done or haven’t been done or haven’t been done correctly. I hate saying what sounds to me like, “It’s not my fault,” over and over again (even though it’s not!). It’s hard for me to let people love me when I know I’ve just made their life more difficult because I’ve made it impossible for them to meet their own deadlines.
Even when I’m feeling these things that I hate, and like I need to be bigger and stronger to handle them, I’m finding little places, little green buds of growth (I first wrote “bugs” which either shows how tired I am or what I really think of the whole situation). It’s becoming easier for me to say, “I’m sorry, here’s the situation, and I can’t have that to you by your deadline.” I’m learning that certain people simply do not get the privilege of determining what is and is not a crisis. I’m learning that if I share honestly about the situation, most people don’t think I should be doing any more than I am. They don’t condemn me; in fact, they start asking me how I’m doing and if I’m ok. I’m just a smidgen more comfortable not having all the ducks lined up and quacking on cue.
I don’t know if it’s worth it. Is it worth the stress and the feeling that I’m somehow engaged in dodging missiles I can barely see to gain these little bits of growth (or to see that I’ve gained them)? I feel like I’m supposed to think it is. Maybe later, when I’m well-rested and feel competent and relaxed again, I’ll be able to answer that question. Right now, though, I think I’m going to plead exhaustion and go to bed.
Postscript–I wrote this last night. This morning? I came into the office and managed to stab myself with my scissors trying to open something. It was bad enough to be scary but not bad enough, thanks to Jesus, to warrant an ER trip. But this does not bode well…