Day In, Day Out

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…

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14 Comments

Filed under Becoming, My Days

14 responses to “Day In, Day Out

  1. Oh Sarah,

    My friends and I call this the “stupid phase” and whenever one of us gets a new job we call everyone up and say, “I HATE the stupid phase! I hate not knowing how the flippin’ copy machine works or where the paper is or what the stinkin’ password is or what things are called!” It’s torture. You feel like you’re walking around with a “kick me” sign on your back…like everyone else is in on this big secret except you. And when you said that not even your new Macbook Pro was helping I just knew this had to be really serious. And now you’re physically injured on top of it! (adding injury to insult)

    Peace sister. The stupid phase does not last forever. Please try not to stab yourself anymore. It’s really not worth it.

  2. Terri, this made me laugh…which was just what I needed this morning. You’re so totally right–it IS the stupid phase. And the MacBook Pro doesn’t fix it, but it does help…more and more, as the days go on. I think I’m afraid to do anything with it, like I’ll hurt it or something, or like it’s really just there for me to sit around and look at and pet occasionally.

    I’ll do my best to aim the pointy end of the scissors elsewhere from now on, I promis.

  3. Ha ha — looking at the MacBook Pro and occasionally petting it — oh, the restraint it must take!! Seriously, though, I’m so glad you got the new comp because I know just how pretty it is (and how powerful!).

    I’m with Terri — the stupid phase sucks. I’ve been there, and I hate being the one having to ask all the questions that begin, “How do I . . . ?” “Where do I find . . . ?” and “What is . . . ?”

    Especially so for you, I’m sure, when you had a bit of a ramp-up period last semester to get a feel for what the new job would look like. Gosh darn, dang it! 🙂

  4. I wish I had one of those to pet. I can pet my doggies but they don’t respond well when I ask them cyber questions.

    Glad you’re laughing. It’s serious medicine.

  5. Christianne–Gosh darn, dang it! is right. And now that you mention it, I do remember you talking about your MacBook Pro…they are pretty…and shiny.

    Terri–poor non-cyber doggies. You could name one “Mac” and the other “Book” to complete the fantasy 😉

  6. Did you have a better day after the bloodletting?

  7. I did, actually. Or slower, anyway. Which is the same as better, right now. And this morning I found out that there will be two new people working with me next week! I’ll have to train them, but it will be so much nicer!

  8. Oh, that’s such great news! I’m glad there will be others to share the load. And I just remembered that you told me once that your boss is on sabbatical this term . . . right? So you’ve been all alone in that office, coping with all these fires . . . right? Ugh, that just makes it so much worse.

    By the way, regarding the shiny, pretty MacBook Pro . . . Kirk and I have started a trend at Full Sail with our trusty and colorful Speck covers. You can check them out on the Apple site or store, or on Amazon, or on eBay. We purchased ours on Amazon for, like, $45 each. We’ve heard you can get them on eBay for, like, $5 or $8 (but in limited colors). Basically, these are plastic protective covers that fit your comp like a pretty case. Mine’s green (of course). Kirk’s is red. You can also get black, pink, and blue. Practically everyone in my cohort group has one now . . . because they followed me onto the hip train. 🙂

  9. Well, maybe I’ll follow you on to the hip train, too. So there. 😉

    I looked them up, then realized that I don’t know what size computer I have and I don’t have a ruler and I’m terrible at guesstimating the size of something…so I guess I’ll have to wait until later. But I am coming to love this little machine.

  10. Wow, I’m behind here, aren’t I? Quite the little pow-wow, can I join, can I, can I? :o)

    Sarah, I was recently in the stupid phase too. I started a new position at work about 7 months ago after about 6 years of being the same position & being such a pro at it. So I kind of feel your pain.

    And I can definitely identify with the pain of a crazy week. I’ve had a few in a row … and hence my recent and quite close association with the couch. So unless you really want to follow in my fine example of having your body shut down on you, please take care of yourself and maybe use some kiddie scissors until the circus around you quiets own a bit.

    I know you know all about self care and how important it is, in being good to yourself and gracious with yourself. I still have a hard time with this so I really need to be looking in a mirror when making that kind of comment. But I certainly hope I’m getting better (you know, now that I’m 30 at all. I’ve really gotten SO much wiser over the past 2 days!!). :o)

    I recently read Brennan Manning’s Ruthless Trust and the following quote came to mind as I was reading this (it’s underlined & starred in my copy of the text): “We are as unaware as the cracked pot of the divine intention in much of what we do. Entrusting ourselves to Mystery, we move forward fearlessly, knowing that future of the planet probably does not depend on what we do next.”

    So breathe. You will adjust. And the earth won’t tilt off it’s axis if you don’t “get it all right” today. :o)

    Bless you, sister!

  11. You know I never really thought about the sheer amount of energy it takes not to scream, or throw things, or break something when everything is going wrong until I just read this. It makes so much sense now when I just look at people adding frustration to my day and have to pause for fear of the first thing coming out of my mouth is an ear-drum shattering (if they can shatter of course) shriek.
    And Macbook Pro’s are such pretty computers I always wanted to play with one.
    I hope things are looking up!

  12. Kirsten–thanks for joining the party! And I’m glad you’re getting off the couch.

    What you said about self-care is important. I think I know about it, but it’s still hard to do (maybe when I’m 30, I’ll get it, too 😉 ). It’s also hard because I tend to be a survivor and push myself further than I should. When I’m in the middle of that, I don’t even realize I’m tired. Case in point–I slept more than 10 hours last night, despite repeated attempts to wake up. I NEVER sleep that long. So all of that to say, thanks for the reminder and I’m trying.

    Your Manning quote reminds me of how I’ve felt recently. I feel like I’m walking around in a really dense fog. When I put my hands out in front of me like I’m taking someone’s hands to let them lead me, Jesus is there. But I can’t see him and I can’t see where I’m going and that makes me so angry! That’s a topic for another post, I’m sure, but that quote reminded me of the picture I’ve had in my head the last several days.

    Drea: It really is amazing how hard it is not to rip peoples’ heads off sometimes. Sometimes I feel like all I want to do is release that energy and taking it in or turning it into something else is rough! Also, things are looking up! The 10 hours of sleep I got last night probably helped 😉

  13. Nathan

    I feel you. Not cleaning my house and doing my dishes is exhausting me. But I’m hoping it’s exhausting my roommate more. (Hey, somebody’s gotta be exhausted into change).

    Seriously, this post was super insightful.

  14. Thanks, Nathan. Hee hee…roommates can be wonderful things…

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