With apologies to Metallica for using their song title, today is a rough mental health day. Yesterday I had a short therapy session which, while good, was really just the first step in getting back into a regular treatment schedule. We briefly discussed my writing, and that it’s been a good outlet, but hasn’t provided any of the community or sociability I lost when I walked away from the improv group last year. We talked about my fears and reservations about work, particularly the nature of expectation and responsibility and how I was settling into my new role.
I openly admit I am not good with conflict. My two default modes are: a) just avoid it and try to move on without resolution, or b) if it must be dealt with, stand stoic and take the brunt of it all on myself. I’ve seen this in my career, I’ve seen this in my personal life, I’ve seen this in social groups and almost everywhere else. This morning I received a not-so-subtle reminder that my performance – at least at work – has been sub-par, in the form of a sit-down appointment with my boss and supervisor tomorrow morning. The meeting notes/agenda field is blank, which to me speaks of the unpleasantness of the meeting.
I assume one of the first questions asked will be “what’s going on?” and I really don’t know if I have a good answer for that. I feel trapped by mounting client-facing responsibilities, and a lack of structure in my current position in the office. Right now I’m a jack-of-all-trades, both working on and in the business, something I’ve discussed at length both here and to my coworkers. Things get unexpectedly complicated on the client end and I go from being at 80% capacity to 120%, with little opportunity or belief that there are hand-offs available. Some things certainly have to change, and I’d like to think it begins with more structure to my day at the office; it’s something I’ve tried to do myself and with as nebulous a job description as I have, I’m finding it just too difficult to maintain.
About a month ago I gave my bosses a job description, per their request, detailing what roles and responsibilities I feel that I would want and would be appropriate to my job title, what additional duties I think are fair to perform as we grow (obviously nothing can be just removed from my plate whole-cloth while we’re still a small shop), and what current tasks I’d like to see moved to other people. I was rather proud of the document I came up with, and was hoping to see some momentum by now in that direction. Maybe I’ll have an opportunity to bring that up tomorrow, but more likely I’ll sit quietly and take the (generally warranted) criticisms leveled at me.
My mom has expressed the hope that I can “do something” with my writing, have it be something other than a little-read blog on the corner of the internet. As much as I’d love to have stories or writings picked up by an outlet (and last night I even looked around at some possibilities), I know all too well the creation of art, any art, is a long, thankless, and largely poorly-paying job. I’d love to write full-time, but the familiar old fears rise up and tell me I don’t have new or original stories to tell, or messages to deliver, or even a means to get started.
One of the few friends I speak with regularly has long-suggested that IT may just not be the career I need, that the constant stress and anxiety are too unhealthy for me to continue suffering through. It’s hard to debate her points, but again, there’s plenty of fear in change. My therapist asked me why, if changing is so important to me, why I haven’t done it yet. We agreed the answer was “it hadn’t gotten bad enough yet” – change rarely comes when everything is clouds and rainbows.
I appreciate you who have read through this meandering entry, following my thoughts as they tumble out of my head. It has been a particularly difficult morning for me, and while I have high hopes for the future, I can feel the monkey of fear firmly hanging onto my back.
As an additional thought, I suppose a large part of my frustration is not knowing what it looks like to be “successful,” either professionally or personally right now. Things seem to be either in a holding pattern or completely idle, and as far as work goes, my bosses only hear when customers are unhappy – when everything is going well, nothing goes up the chain.
It’s funny, in a wry sort of way, that I can say my mood and thought processes have improved quite a bit over a few months ago, but that the overbearing stress of work cancels out the progress I’ve made. More idle musing, and reflection, but sometimes that’s what this blog is about; it’s a place for me to empty out my head a bit, trying to keep things from getting too full in there.