(context: this was written on the 19th, BEFORE the MSC retreat this last weekend).
Lots of you probably know that my job has been stressing me out quite a bit lately. Too many things to do, and definitely not enough time or resources. It seems that I don’t have time for breaks, and that I am spinning my wheels lots. So many things to do, and I can’t do them all. It really got me down and stressed me out quite a bit.
I have a great boss. One who trusts me, is willing to talk about anything, and who is a pillar of integrity in a very peaceful way. We have been conversing a bit lately about how I have been feeling. On Thursday I told him that things were stressing me out. That there is normally over 400 unread emails in my inbox, that I run around all day trying to take care of Urgent things, that I can’t get to important larger tasks that are on my plate. Everyday I work hard, do my best, but it always feels like I am failing – failing myself, failing the College, and failing my boss. It sucks. And it’s no fun anymore.
So we talked for a bit. He asked me if anybody was complaining – faculty, other staff, students. I thought about it and I said no. He certainly wasn’t complaining about my work. He asked me who was putting pressure on me to do so much. I thought about it and had to say, “nobody. Only myself.” And his answer is, “It sounds like you need to have a conversation with yourself about this. You’re the only one who thinks you’re doing poorly.”
He is a very wise man.
Since that meeting I have been thinking and pondering about this. He’s right. The only one determined to take on my huge workload is myself. There are so many things that are important that need to be done, that nobody else would do it, I think I got into martyr syndrome. Taking one for the College. Making things better, doing things right. But it is impossible. For some reason I have been viewing all of these things as “must do’s,” and I have been driving myself crazy. When I realize that nobody really has demanded that all of my projects even get started, that I have initiated most of these jobs, I feel a bit silly.
I am haunted by feelings and fears of failure. Everyday I think I fail at something, and it feels very bad. How much of it is self-inflicted? It is very startling to realize that you are the reason for your own unhappiness. I can think of two people who are saying, “I’ve been telling her that for years,” but I don’t think I ever really got it. Now it’s sort of funny, in a sad sort of way. I do believe I have problems.
So this is my conversation to myself. Self, freaking relax. Take time for fun, and refreshment. Don’t be so damned dramatic all of the time. Be realistic in what you can do. Your worth is not governed by how many tasks you complete. That’s a hard thing. I have thrown my heart and life into things where, in the end, I wasn’t really wanted. That’s hard, and it’s hard to get over that sense of worthlessness and failure to the core. So. Let’s work on that, shall we? Self?
On another note, there was a total of 10 people at the Wal-Town Party. I had a GREAT time. Thanks to all who came!