April 25, 2011

Turn and Face the Strain

I didn’t feel so great when I woke up this morning. I know why. One, I haven’t been exercising regularly for the past couple of weeks, and yesterday I walked a lot. My muscles are confused and consequently cranky. Two, since I never made it to the pharmacy to get my allergy medicine, my sinuses are swollen in protest. Three, as a direct result of the junk food I ate yesterday, my stomach is tossing acid around in revolt. In short, I haven’t been a model of good health lately and this morning felt it acutely.

I haven’t been exercising and eating correctly lately because I’m stressed out. Fitting time in to workout seems like a punishment when I’m working late most nights. Fast food and other edible comforts seem justifiable when I’m unhappy with my job. I’ve also been letting chores and errands, like pharmacy runs, slip because I’m distracted. I feel distracted because I’m not sleeping. I’m not sleeping because I’m not exercising and eating healthy. Not sleeping leads to more stress, which leads to… I’ll be honest: I’ve been having a major long-running pity party. My job sucks and I’ve been letting it suck down my personal life too.

Waking up this Easter morning, I felt how stupid that was. If ever there is a time to exercise and eat healthy and sleep well, it’s when you’re stressed. A sucky day at work is a reason to go to yoga, not an excuse to skip it. I know this, but I haven’t been acting on it. Instead, I’ve been feeling sorry for myself, as my last rant of a blog entry can attest. Someone suggested I take it down because it was so obviously an emotional vomit of an entry (my words, not hers). I considered taking it down because when I started this blog I intended it to be a record of the positive actions I take in my life, and that entry was not positive. I’ve decided to leave it, though, because it is honest. Anger and unhappiness is a part of everyone’s life at some point, and it certainly has been in my life lately. If my goal is to make myself a better Anne, I have to be honest about who I am. Right now, I’m a person who is unhappy with her job and who is letting it affect her life. Now I have to figure out how I’m going to get over this.

I’m not a traditionally religious person, but I feel there are valuable lessons to be learned and embraced from the stories and metaphors and wisdom that come from the world’s religions. I’m trying to tap into the ideas of renewal and restoration imbued in Easter celebrations. Today is a good day to start again, to make healthy choices and go back to the more positive me. I’m also considering that familiar prayer of “changing the things I can, accepting the things I can’t, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Changing the stupid job, while not impossible, is going to take time and a whole lot of patience. However, the unhealthy eating, the lack of exercise, the sleeplessness, the feeling sorry for myself I can start tackling all of those today. I can control these things. I can be a better Anne.

March 30, 2011

It’s Awful

How about this for a blog theme: Anne figures out how to quit her job.

My jobby job has turned into a nightmare. I know that must seem a bit melodramatic but I’ve literally had bad dreams about it so I’m feeling a bit inclined. This morning, I was practicing yogic breathing in my car so I wouldn't have a panic attack on the way to work. My job is awfully awful right now.

Part of it is that I’m on a terrible project. You know you’re on a terrible project when your coworkers start describing it as the “perfect storm.” It’s huge in size, quite literally double in size of other projects like it. It’s a Godzilla project. It has a short schedule for regular small projects, let alone a project that eats Tokyo. It has a huge staff assigned to it, but about 50% are on irregular part-time schedules, and only seven of us are in the same office. I also have another very big project that I’m expected to work on at the same time. That’s right, it’s Godzilla versus Mothra and half my army is invading Russia.

I have had bad projects before—bad-I-wanna-quit-my-job projects—but they always end. At some point the crisis is solved, or the mother of all manuals pubs, or someone comes to their senses and cancels the ridiculous print date. At some point that horrible feeling of claustrophobia passes and I stop dreading the next day at work and I don’t want to quit my job anymore. Godzilla goes back to the Island of Monsters.

I’m on week four of feeling claustrophobic. I had to force myself to get out of bed this morning. And yesterday morning. And the morning before that.

That’s because of the other part of the reason I’m miserable. I’m working with horrible coworkers. I’m working with people who don’t tell you when they are having problems, when they don’t know how to do what they need to, or that they won’t be making their deadlines. Instead, they say everything will be fine or they just refuse to do the work requested. Then they miss their deadlines by a week and turn over crap. And when they got called on the carpet for doing all of that, these horrible coworkers blamed me. By name. They went to my boss and said it was my fault.

My boss knows better. As do the other non-horrible coworkers who are this team. No one whose opinion I care about for one second believed that I was to blame for this. I had to suffer some cheap shots and play nice when I didn't want to, but no one thought I was to blame. Everyone knows who was responsible for the poor work and blown timeline. What is hard for me to deal with right now is that the responsible parties have not suffered any consequences for their actions.

Rather, I and my fellow non-horrible coworkers are working four times as hard as we were before and bending over backwards and playing nice to make the horrible people’s jobs as easy as possible so, just maybe, they’ll actually do them. Everyday I have to take phone calls from people who are incompetent and listen to them whine about doing the most basic functions of their jobs as they lob passive aggressive comments at me. They have still not made a deadline. They are still sending crap. They are still telling anyone who will listen how unreasonable I and my fellow non-horrible coworkers are being. They’ve taken to complaining about work they haven’t received yet. Preemptive blaming I suppose.

The managers that be are letting it happen. They are letting their good workers take up the slack and suffer for the horrible one’s incompetence. They are watching their deadlines and quality slide and saying, “It’ll be fine.” They are letting band-aid fixes work and not caring that the overall project process is hemorrhaging. They are relying upon me to get this sorted out.

Yes, this Godzilla project will end. Eventually, Mothra will go back to the Island of Monsters too. The horrible coworkers won’t go away though. They’re on a team that I will have to work with again. They are unlikely to change their opinion of me. They are unlikely to change their work ethic or improve their skill set. I can expect to see Son of Godzilla project in my future.

Or I can quit my job.

February 18, 2011

I Want a New Drug

I’ve been thinking about changing the nature of this blog, or even doing away with this blog entirely and creating a new one. I’ve found that most blogs I like and return to have one central topic or idea that the author completely, sometimes obsessively, focuses on. It gives a cohesion to the blog that I feel is lacking in mine.

A vague, it’s about me, doesn’t seem like a really good blog hook. A friend of mine sent me a link to a blog about candy. That’s it. The bloggers go and find candy, eat the candy, and then write about it. It was a great blog! It was fun, it was fully developed, it kept my attention for several minutes when I should have otherwise been more productively engaged.

I want a blog like that. I want to have lots of witty articles about nothing in particular that amuse people for short bursts at a time. Now, I know what you’re saying, I already have a blog like that (because you all love me and my posts about being unmotivated). You (I’m totally convinced) are thoroughly entertained by me and my little inane posts about me. I don’t, however, have a blog that I’m entertained writing.

Oh don’t get me wrong, I spend oodles of time thinking about me and how to improve me. That’s why I thought this would be a great topic for a blog, because I’m all about me. I analyze me and my activities a whole lot, so I should have lots and lots to write about...right? Nope. No. Not really.

I like some of the stuff I’ve written, and I think the song lyrics for entry titles is brilliant of me, but I’m not as often inspired to write about me as I thought I would. I’m still thinking about me and actively trying to improve as a human being, but I’m not sure I want to write it all down and share it with you. Some of that stuff is too personal. Some of that stuff is still too fresh to know where I’m going with it. Some of that stuff is—oh, let’s face it—some of that stuff is just plain boring to anyone who isn’t me. So, consequently, my “I’m going to write one entry a week” blog hasn’t had any entries lately. I’ve just been too worn out from living my life to be enthralled about writing about it.

I need a hook. I need a blog about one thing and one thing only. Something gimmicky and with words that are easy to make puns out of. Something that I can take pictures of because I like blogs with pictures. Something I can be obsessive about because it enthralls me and I love sharing any and all info I have about it with you, my gentle readers.

If only I knew what that was.

January 19, 2011

You’re An Amateur

Fake it until you make it.

That’s one of those self-help type of mantras that gets espoused a lot. I like the philosophy behind it. No one starts out perfect, you have to keep practicing. If you give up because you haven’t automatically started at perfect, you never arrive at perfect. The point is to keep on trying until you get there.

I’ve been saying this to myself a lot lately. I feel a little like I’m just going through the motions this week. At work, I’m not entirely sure I know what I’m doing, but everyone else seems to think that I know what I’m doing. My motivation for healthy living has waned somewhat, but I’m still practicing the rituals. My great ideas for the next American novel don’t actually involve any plots, so tonight I’m writing a blog entry.

Let’s face it, I’m faking it a bit right now. I’m not perfect. I’m trying. I’m in the process of getting better. That’s okay. If I fake it long enough, I’ll make it.