Thursday, February 21, 2013

Work, With Music on the Side

Today started off with "For Those About to Rock" ...

I had that revolting experience today where something went wrong and there was NOTHING for it but to say I'd screwed up.  We all do it, I know that - but since December or so, at work, I've been trying to improve upon a slump in performance that came after the Summer O' Stress, and what's truly awful is that I feel like I *have* made such strides and that I've been doing well - but hell if any error I make isn't going to be the one the boss has to see.  Simultaneously ameliorating the pain and actually making it worse is the fact that my boss's response today was not "you screwed up" but to address me with the concern that there is too much on my plate, or some distraction causing problems in prioritizing.  I basically said, I don't think there's any excuse to lay this on, this was pure screw-up.  Still, it must be said, "it isn't a problem with attitude or aptitude" is one of the best sentences bestowed upon me for a long time.  I only wish it were really true.  (My attitude is dandy; but I really do question my aptitude.)

Most of the errors any of us make in a day come in little things, miscalculations that aren't disastrous - and even this one we got worked through okay.  But it was a hugely visible problem - not just to my bosses, but to our entire management team.  I *LOVE* my team.  They are smart, good people, some of whom I've come to be friends with on the personal level (not a typical mode of operation for me in any job), and they don't stint in professional recognition, support, and gratitude.  I am blessed beyond my own gratitude that I get to have the job I have.  So when I screw up, it feels almost like INgratitude, and it drives me absolutely crazy.

Also frustrating is that I have BEEN able to do this job.  Even before I'd fully learned it, taking it on was never too much.  Once I felt like I'd come into ownership, the pride of my position never suffered because there was so much to do.  So it irks me that stress has made a dink of me.  I've been trying so hard to put stress *behind* me (at least the particular stress that got me distracted several months back), so evidence there's still some out front makes me mad.

My dad would have told me to take the energy of that frustration and direct it.  The little kid living inside my ageing carcass, however, just whines, "I've BEEN doing that!  It isn't WORKING!" and stomps off impolitely, selfishly.

Inevitably, my performance is always selfish.  Most of us are probably like that.  Yeah, the pride of a job well done.  Well, nobody benefits from my pride but me, so - still selfish, really.

At the end of the day, I got less selfish and just nose-to-the-grindstone.  And, by end of the day, I mean that at the moment I might take off if I had everything done, the phone rang - and it was my boss.  Who had travel tomorrow, taking him into the path of the storm bearing down on such a huge swath of the continent.  Time to look into that.

And time for everyone else to do the same.

The chain of on-hold-ness became pretty hilarious during the course of the hour it took to shift his connection out of the nasty zone (though his ultimate destination may not even escape the issues!).  United had our travel rep on hold, he had me on hold, I was on another line with my boss, who had me on hold trying to call his own colleague ... Or something of that telephonically preposterous nature.  No wonder it took us an hour - and never mind the thousands of other travelers also staring down the barrel of flight cancellations.

My own soundtrack to this - "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince.  If I wrote that in a story, it'd be too on the nose to ever work.

To be truthful - during that hour of fiasco-ery, I stressed pretty seriously.  But, for whatever reason, this afternoon I did remember my dear dog and my kitten, remembered how fortunate I am in my job and my team, remembered those I love (and those I'll never even know) who would be blessed to complain of something at work - if only they had jobs - and was able to relax.

And the drive home was relatively un-crowded and un-stressful.  I put in "The Gathering" on random, and first got the song *I* think of as being deeply tied to me and Mr. X ("Third Chance") and then got the one he first proffered to me as being like us ("Nighttime Birds").  I turned off the stereo after those, and just drove.  I didn't get home until nearly 7:30, but it is quiet here, warm - and life is so sweet.  Kit is on the coffee table, and Penelope beneath it.  A gleaming green pair of widely dilated eyes is glancing my way, as white velvet sneaker-paws play in a stack of papers I have brought out to force myself to deal with some personal filing.  And "Big Bang Theory" was on tonight.

It's after nine, but I get to sleep in a comfortable bed, even if I am the only human soul in this house.  At least I know whom I love; that is blessing and content - even if not the fullness of satisfaction.

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