I have this pesky day job that’s prevented me from writing lately – not in the literal sense, like it’s holding me down and playing keep-away with my laptop or anything. It’s more like the stress of the job has rendered me useless in all other parts of my life. When I get home at 6 or 7 (or 8, yes 8, which is pretty inconceivable for an anti-workaholic like me), I am so exhausted from the day that I can’t do anything besides sit on my couch staring dumbly at the tv. Sometimes I change out of my work clothes before sinking into reality t.v. oblivion, but that’s only on a good night.
I go through this type of funk every time there is a major change in my life. It’s my body’s readjustment period; once I get acclimated to the new schedule I can once again function like a normal person. I remember experiencing this phenomena a few years ago when I moved downtown and started commuting to get to work in the suburbs. I called my dad, only because my phone was within arm’s length from my spot on the couch, and cried to him that I must be getting old because I was turning into him. He suggested I check out the westerns channel.
This time the mental rebuilding period was triggered by my recent promotion. It’s one of those promotions where you get a new title, more responsibility and longer hours, but at the same pay “with opportunities for advancement.” It’s a huge vote of confidence for management to move me into this position where I have a team that reports to me, especially since I’ve only been here for three years. But during the readjustment period, the level of exhaustion my body is feeling clouds my brain, and I have to work extra hard to remember why it’s a good thing. Especially on a Monday morning. On a Monday morning I have to bargain with myself to get up when that alarm goes off.
“You just have to get through the next five days then it’s Saturday again. You like Saturdays don’t you? That’s what I thought, so just get out of bed now and then you can sleep all you want on Saturday.”
Then it usually escalates to something like this:
“If you don’t get your sorry a$$ out of bed right now, you’re going to be late and if you get to work late you have to stay late and there goes any chance you had (however remote it may have been to begin with) of getting in a workout tonight when you get home. Ergo, if you don’t get up now, you’re going to get fat(ter).”
I can be really mean sometimes.
In an effort to be a nicer person to myself, I spent the morning (in between the many meetings I’ve already had today…) thinking of all the positives about my job. I only came up with a couple, but it’s a start.
1. I have a job. This may seem like an obvious choice, but you’d be surprised at how often this thought crosses my mind: “You have no reason to complain about anything – at least you have a job.” Some people don’t have a job and wish they did. I wish I could outsource some of my meetings to them – especially the ones that occur before 8 am and after 5 pm. People who schedule 5:00 meetings are the worst kind of humans. But as long as I have the opportunity to support myself, I am grateful.
2. I have an actual office, with a door, instead of a cubicle. Closing that door is the only thing maintaining my sanity some days. What I’ve learned since my promotion is that managing people means you do your work once the 5:00 meeting ends or on the weekends or on your day off, because there is no additional time for yourself, if you’re doing your job right. Technically my job description is to help my team do their job. It should be noted that I actually really do like that part of it. I get a lot of satisfaction from knowing that I helped someone accomplish their goal or finish their task. I like this way more than I would have imagined. But it leaves no time for finishing my projects, unless I close the door every now and then. Sometimes when I close the door I’m just hiding. I saw this picture once and although I don’t have children, I find that now I can totally relate:
3. My lunch hour. This has become the most important hour of my day. In an alternate universe where things like this were allowed, I would skip lunch completely and take off an hour early every day. Since that sort of thing is not cool in corporate america (apparently), I use this hour to do whatever the hell I feel like doing. I’ll run down to the cafeteria and grab some food, which I’ll take back and eat at my desk while I get on facebook or watch youtube videos. Sometimes I read a book, but more often lately I’ve been curling up George Costanza style and taking a nap on the floor. I keep bedding in one of my desk drawers. My dad has always treated himself to a nap after lunch before going out to do afternoon chores on the farm. I always thought that was how you judged whether you truly made it in life – if you could stop work for a nap.
4. Sometimes I get cookies. We utilize the services of contractors, they thank us with cookies. That is an excellent currency, especially when it comes at my 3:00 energy slump.
5. I have a fun team. You can get the best benefits in the world, but if you dislike the people you work with it doesn’t matter. Luckily, I have an awesome team. I’ve enjoyed getting to know each one of them, and I really think they like working for me. They even started inviting me on their 2:30 coffee run, so I know they like hanging out with me. Either that or they are scared of the me with no coffee in my system. No, I’m going to stick with my first instinct – it’s because they like me. That’s definitely the reason.
What gets you out of bed to get to work in the morning?