I’ve been trying to write for three days now, and this is one thing that’s come into and out of my mind the past week. Namely, how to achieve such an interesting idea, when you have a mind like mine.
I’ve talked about my job and related issues several times over the past month, but something hit me that I should’ve figured out a long time ago. Something that would’ve made it easier (or at least a shorter wait) to tackle this problem of mine.
Yesterday gave me some clarity. After tossing and turning all damned night, wondering about decisions I’d made while holding down the fort at work all Friday (boy that was nuts), and praying for somebody to take over for me at my other job so I could sleep, I found it. It became glaringly obvious why I am getting nowhere with this work-life balance thing:
I work, and I don’t have a life.
So how the hell can I do a work-life balance when I’m focused 90% of the time on work and 10% of the time at home or life? (That split might get to 70/30 if there’s a crazy home “crisis” with dad, or some political brouhaha, but that’s it).
I’m not saying I’m physically at work 90% of the time (my paycheck would be drool-worthy, with me being vegetative and drooling out of exhaustion in that case). It’s more that work is constantly on my mind.
I’m worried about my job, and I think about my job, and every plan revolves around my job or looking for a new job. All I do revolves around work hours and collecting paychecks, and trying to find ways to get better paychecks.
I even work in my sleep. So many times I’ve woken up confused the past few months because I thought I was already at work. I forgot until now that I’ve had this trouble before. No wonder I can’t sleep, or I yawn all day–my dreams are exhausting.
And I realized this morning that my dream trouble went away for a short time then came back to stay. I can’t even remember good dreams that don’t revolve around work or my daily routine anymore.
I’m becoming one of those sad people where my day job is my life, and I have nothing else, because I can’t switch off and let ANYTHING else come in. I’ve struggled with my imagination and getting ideas for my stories again, but work has reigned supreme in the noggin and I can’t shut it off.
I have a perpetual fear of failure and making mistakes that doesn’t let me go. And it mostly all revolves around work. I am afraid that I’ll screw up so badly I’ll be out of a job, which doesn’t make sense, but I think I fear my reactions just as much as any punishment that could come down if I really fucked things up. I fear overreacting to criticism or doing the absolute worst thing for the company or a client, and thereby losing my job.
I had a busy, crazy week last week, and the next few don’t seem like they’re gonna get any easier. It’s why I begged off work at my weekend job last night, in the hopes that I could wind down and not be so exhausted.
But then I woke up this morning and remembered something I’d done Friday that might make things difficult for my co-workers this week…and that started the cycle all over again.
These are some of the thoughts that have been chasing a rabbit in my head the past 24 hours, on repeat:
I hope I made that request clear enough for the boss after that crazy phone call.
We need to fix the credit card reader so I don’t feel like an idiot and have to take down info by hand. I’m worried I’ll get a number wrong and we’re out that money or the customer’s inconvenienced by it.
I can’t believe I got so little done training the other new girl. Saturday was just too crazy to try. Hope they’re not mad at how little progress was made.
Why am I training two new people?
Am I the only one training the newbies? I hope I don’t forget something or screw it up.
How much longer am I training the newbies, and on what?
When do I get a chance to re-teach myself that new training model before I have to take over and demonstrate it next week–do they still want me to do it?
She’s going to kill me for scheduling all those appointments and tests when I did–but we can turn them around.
Crap–I thought I was going to be there to help her out with those tests! I’d planned on helping her out, but got the shift date wrong. Hope the other guy can come in early to help her out. She’s gonna kill me.
I clocked out past the designated time last time. I’m gonna get an earful for that, but at least I didn’t count the 30 minutes I stayed after that, so maybe they should be happy. Maybe I should tell her that if she gets annoyed.
I just hope I didn’t mess up that lady’s transaction last week–Maybe I should call tech support and make sure things are still okay in case she calls and is upset.
This is a smattering of the types of things that go through my head in the course of a day or two, and never seem to go away. Even when I’m trying to enjoy a cup of tea at Starbucks, or home, I still have what’s going on at work and even the SLIGHTEST possibility of a mistake on my part going through my mind.
I can’t get over my mistakes, or perceived mistakes. This is like that crazy issue I had a couple weeks weeks ago, where I couldn’t do anything about it til I got back to work anyway, so what was the point in worrying about it?
Perhaps because I have no life, I only seem to have my day job as some confirmation that I’m doing something with my life. When I’m at work, I’m largely focused on doing the best job I can (with some casual joking to crack a smile on someone’s face, especially if they’ve been waiting a while or having a bad day) or my next cup of coffee when I’m at the last hour.
But when I’m at home, I’m restless, and start thinking about work even when I don’t want to. And I NEVER want to–I want to think about other things, things not related to my paying job. I want to develop new opportunities, but somehow, THE JOB takes over my brain.
It’s no wonder that my writing plans and study plans don’t get very far, or anything else I want to do that would make me feel better about my life. And because I spend all my focus on my job, mentally, I’ve given up and let myself go in a lot of ways. My depression is consuming me more, my weight’s gone up, my energy down, my headaches up, my sleep-time down…GAH!
And because of all this stress, I’ve been rethinking my desire to go look for another job.
I know, after beating my noggin about a job search for months and all… just bear with me a sec.
The reason I’m considering putting that thought on hold is simple: I’m a stressed out and strung out mess right now, so trying to go out and find a job, (getting more stress with job interviews and an intense training period) and probably an even more high-stress job, sounds a bit suicidal to me.
My imagination is shot. I can’t shut the “job” switch off in my head for very long before all the thoughts crowd in. It took me days to write about this very idea because I was so stuck in “job worry” mode that I couldn’t get my thoughts together. Trying to clear my head or just breathe don’t work for very long, but I’ll keep trying and find new ways to do it.
There are only two things I can hope for, and when I go in tomorrow afternoon, I’ll just have to get to work, get through my shift, and find a way to leave work at work for good:
- That the scheduling brouhaha I might’ve caused for Tuesday can be resolved, or maybe they’ll have me come in and help anyway if I explain how it came about. I think the situation’s workable, just needs some tweaking (or my opposite-shift co-worker to come in a bit earlier to help out).
- That I keep my composure and don’t go nuts if I get chastised for what’s gone on the past few days. I mean, I’ve been doing the work of several people for most of a week, and they seem to have acknowledged that Monday through Thursday. Hopefully they can extend that understanding to Friday and Saturday, too.
I miss dreaming. I miss lying there, being almost asleep, and letting little thoughts drift in and out, providing fodder for stories I’ve wanted to write, lines of dialogue I’d love to hear, scenes I’d love to develop.
I miss reading a book without distraction, without the words swimming on the page and I have to re-read the last few paragraphs again because a work-issue interrupted at the worst time.
I miss being able to enjoy a day off without wondering about THE FREAKING JOB!
Maybe if I can un-stick that “job” switch in my brain, I can start to achieve work-life balance, and actually live the way I’d planned: where work is work, and home is home, and they should stay that way.