Check Check

It’s nearly the middle of July and summer is passing by too quickly, as it always does. My weeks are busier than they’ve been in a long time. I keep reminding myself to stay grounded inside of each day; to enjoy the hours, the minutes, the moments, instead of always keeping an eye on the weeks and months ahead. It’s a habit I’m not sure I’ll ever really master. If I could, maybe time would slow down a little bit.

I haven’t been here in a really long time. I keep telling myself I’m too busy, too tired to write. How is it that I’ve reached middle-age and somehow it feels that I have less time and energy than ever before in my life? I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s mainly a matter of perspective, one that I would like to change.

I’ve been bringing work home with me, both literally and figuratively. When I accepted a new position last September, I brought with me many of the responsibilities of my former job. I imagined this new job to be the answer to my prayers, one that would pull me out of a place of extreme limitation, away from a bad boss, and expand my growth opportunities. Oh, it did! In this new role, there is more work to do than I know how to get done. There doesn’t seem to be anything they don’t think I can do, and they throw it all at me. I mainly report to one manager, and have a “dotted line” to another. And I frequently continue to be the subject matter expert about things for which I’m no longer responsible. (I’ve always had a hard time saying no and I think I’m always still trying to prove myself.)  My main boss constantly thanks me for the work I do. She frequently tells me I’m awesome and do amazing work. And yet something about the whole situation keeps me feeling that I’m falling short. On my last trip to the home office, I said to my boss, “I can’t wait until everything feels like old hat.” Without skipping a beat, she replied, “Never gonna happen.”

And that right there explains my problem. I’m working through every storm thinking there’s calm up ahead, except I work in a department where the norm is high stress and curve balls. I gravitate toward anything with rhyme and reason. I thrive on routine. But there’s no black and white in this place, only gray.

But maybe the biggest issue is a feeling of isolation. I’m the remote employee. This is a first for me, and for the department. They’re not used to accommodating someone who isn’t physically there and we are still working through some of those hurdles. And I underestimated how much I being around people fuels me. I mean, I have people around me in my office. They’re just not my people. I can go entire days in my little corner of the office, buried in my own work, and not have a single in-person interaction. Too many days like that leave me feeling suffocated and drained.

LinkedIn suggested a job opportunity for me the other day, one that suited my skills and personality very well. I seriously contemplated it. And then I realized that it might not be so much that the job really appealed to me as I was looking for an out. And when I really thought about it, I actually like the work I’m doing. There’s just so much of it. It’s hard to ever get really focused on any one thing before something else is banging at my door. And I let myself get frantic in my head about failing to conquer it all when the reality is that no one else expects me to. It hasn’t even been a whole year, and I need to give myself time to reach a better place where I’m at.

On the plus side, I’ve got opportunities to help me disentangle from it all. After my bowling season ended last April, I started right up again in a summer league. And I allowed myself to be talked into a golf league as well! For someone who’s a homebody at heart, it’s a lot to have two regular commitments every week! On a side note … GOLF! I always thought it was a boring game, but I kind of love it. Overall, I’m really bad at it, but when you break it down, there are things I’m doing really well. So maybe someday I’ll start putting it all together and actually play decently. Anyway, this is just a fun league and none of my team mates are too serious about it, so I’m really enjoying it.

Also, we’re making time to be at the family cabin this summer. For years, we’ve been lucky to manage one weekend out of the summer there, but this summer we’ve gone three times already. This was my father-in-law’s happy place and he left it for his kids and grandchildren. It’s an old, rustic place. It’s small, and the entire kitchen sags just a bit lower than the rest of the place. But we love it. There are almost always other members of the extended family there, and I love the communal meals, fishing off the dock together, and the gorgeous sunsets that sink down over the lake at the end of a day. And after dark, there’s always bonfires and s’mores. I love the way that when I’m there, I can lose myself in a book for hours on end without guilt that I should be doing something else.

Where was I going with all this? I think I just needed a reminder of how blessed I am. The other day it occurred to me that I’d been waking up each summer day feeling weighed down by something that feels like the winter blues. This time of year is usually my happy place, but I haven’t been feeling it like I normally do. When I really stopped to think about it, I realized that I’ve been so busy … working … playing … keeping up with responsibilities both at work and at home. There was no space left inside to stop for a moment and reflect, slow down, and appreciate anything. This is just me putting myself in check. I’ll try to make this a more frequent habit.

7 thoughts on “Check Check

  1. Your job sounds a bit like mine: all-consuming. And a bell rang when I read your words about working through the chaos anticipating a lull that never comes. 1/2 of our company are millenials now, which is fine, but that push-push-push mentality can be exhausting. That’s just part of the reason I’ve enjoyed my 2 weeks off and am dreading going back …….

    Good on you with the golf league, how fun!!

    Here’s to summer – to less schedules and more sunsets, less stress and more smores! 🙂
    MJ

    Liked by 1 person

    • How I can relate to the dread of going back! As each Sunday begins to wind down, that sense of depression begins to set in. I think I need to give Michael’s advice some serious consideration. I pretty much talked myself out of applying for the other job because I felt I couldn’t leave my company in the lurch. (I’m the only one who does what I do, and the only one who knows how to do much of it. But they’d figure it out if something changed. There would be no other choice!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Listening to you talk about your work frustrations reminds me of a lot of my clients…actually almost all my clients since if they didn’t have issues they wouldn’t need me (lol)! This issue of being in a job that does not suit your basic personality or personal traits is always going to leave you frustrated. While my work is exclusive with business owners who feel they are trapped, the same principles apply to employees.

    The number one principle is knowing what your desired outcomes are. Desired outcomes are what you truly want for yourself as a person. If you can articulate those, they become your compass against which you measure how well anything is working…a template so to speak that allows you to measure whether the situation you are in is going to serve your needs.

    It is a consistent behavioral trait of women in the workforce who tend to sacrifice their own desired outcomes, put excessive pressure on themselves and are overly critical of themselves. Fighting that tendency is the second important principle.

    One of my business books is entitled “Make Your Business Serve You”, and addressed the issue of owners who allow themselves to become trapped and enslaved in their roles as owners. But the same philosophy applies to employees. We should be saying “Make Your Job Serve You”. To do that means being very clear on knowing who you are and what is truly important to get out of life. Then it means taking charge of your destiny by acting on that.

    You are right. There is only so much time. And even if we are blessed in this life, that doesn’t mean we should not work to take full advantage of those blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Some of the things you mentioned about your job is what I LOVE about mine. The only main difference is I interact with tons of people. Sometimes too many for my taste. But I always walk away feeling like I’ve gotten nothing done, although in some weird way I like that feeling. I also like being the go-to for other managers and other hotels, even though it just puts more on my plate. I love it now, but I predict I’ll only be able to do it for another year or two before I need to do something else. (Still with hotels though. I’ll never leave that.)
    I wish you all the best trying to decide your next step. I know it’s not an easy one. It was certainly nice seeing you think it all through here though! I’ve missed you and been wondering how you’re doing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve missed you, and I’ve missed being here! I’m so glad you stopped by!

      I have worked in situations before where my hair was always on fire, and I was good with it … because I was always in the thick of things with my team. There’s something about being remote, the sense of isolation and disconnectedness. I just can’t seem to get beyond it. This is a strange place for me. I’ve always liked to work, and have often loved my job. This is the first time in years that I’ve contemplated walking away. I’m not going to be impulsive, but I’m definitely going to keep my eyes open for the right opportunity. In the meantime, maybe all of this will pan out. That would be nice!

      Like

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