So, a day after returning to work from an all-too-brief vacation, I
received "the talk" from the company President that I knew would come eventually. My turn around
time for case reports is "unacceptable" and my contract will not be renewed
unless there is a significant improvement in short order. This was
accompanied by an incongruous statement of how supportive my clients
are. Um, if it's not the clients, then it's just you guys that are
unhappy with my work? Well, it's their company. I was also offered the
golden opportunity to have someone with 3 years of experience in the
field "help" me to improve my performance. I politely declined that
It is a conundrum. I don't want to lose the job, because
my employment prospects are dim at present. But I don't really want to
keep the job, because I don't feel I am doing it well, and I am
certainly not enjoying the grinding slog. I am trying to force myself to do
something I am trained to do, with plenty of experience (let's say a tad
more than 3 years!), but that I am not particularly good at. So I am
always anxious, always looking to avoid doing the work, always finding ways to
procrastinate to ease my stress.
Right after this meeting, which occurred right at the end of the "normal" work day (5ish; not when I ever leave work, of course), I thought, "Okay, I have to get serious and get a few things done tonight. I'll work on X." Immediately followed by, "Hmmm...maybe I should work on Y, instead." It's now 8:38 PM and I have done neither X nor Y. Only sat and worried, considered the pros and cons of working on X and Y, ate a miserable snack in the cafeteria, and did some online banking. Now I am writing this, and planning to throw in the towel for the day.
I am falling from a fair height in the forest canopy, hitting branch after branch on the way down, but I cannot seem to stop myself. To be honest, as my work and personal life and even health have deteriorated, I can't even say I have made a determined effort to stop myself. I am frozen by fear and uncertainty, my mind preoccupied by my unhappiness, and I repeat the futile cycle every day. Get up tired, struggle to work, struggle at work, stay very late trying to find the magic combination to unleash productivity and self-confidence, go home disappointed, procrastinate about going to bed, trying to redeem the day, finally go to bed much too late. It's like Groundhog Day, without the self improvement.
But...tomorrow really is another day. I have to make a conscious decision to break this cycle and save this job; more importantly, I need to choose to save myself. I can't do it by just continuing to repeat the same failed strategy. Well, that's not entirely true. I don't have enough self-confidence to stick to a single strategy, so I go back and forth about the best way to progress, and time slips away. As tonight has illustrated for the umpteenth time, I can't follow two plans. I have to find a way to follow one long enough to see if it works, and not allow fear to derail me so that I flip-flop into exhaustion with nothing to show for it. I haven't really hit rock bottom, but this is as far as I want to go.
For the next week, until I have to travel yet again, here is The Plan:
1. Work twelve hours
2. Work 4 hours on category A.
3. Stop after 4 hours, take a break.
4. Work 4 hours on category B.
5. Stop; take a break.
6. Work 4 hours on category C.
7. Stop; take a break.
8. Spend two hours on myself, even if it's just sitting in a chair staring at the ceiling. Two hours for myself with no guilt is the goal. Easier said than done. But what about chipping away at my effectiveness trying to "steal" time for myself constantly? I have to feed that meter. Just accept it.
9. Go to bed; sleep 8 hours.
10. Get up on time and try again.
Will this work? Will I get caught up on everything? Probably not. But I am not caught up on everything now. Will it be this easy and solve everything? Of course not. My life is a complicated mess. But putting off doing anything won't help. What if the strategy fails? I am failing now, and I don't have a strategy.
Okay. SInce it is the end of the day, i will start with item 8. My two hours for myself begin now. Back to the regular checkin page tomorrow. This rant was too long for that.