Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Weary Worker Blues

The work grind has been pretty hectic for yours truly. I’ve been on the “do more with less” agenda for a minute and it’s starting to take its toll. Since I am the kind of person that likes to make life even more hectic that it already it, I went and accepted an evening job a few nights a week for a short amount of time. That was probably not a good idea with school being in at the time but you do what you have to do to pay the bills. The evening gig is actually a good change of pace from the daytime because I am teaching some ladies how to use Microsoft Office and basic computer skills. If I had a few more weeks with them I would make them start a blog so they could post how great of a teacher I am. Of course I am too modest to make them do it I would just sit back and let them come to that conclusion on their own.

My day time job isn’t feeling like that at the moment. I’m having an internal conflict. Lately I feel like I am not handling the balancing act between being competent and admitting limitations very well. There’s a delicate balance between the people you work with thinking you can handle everything with no problem or thinking you just can’t cut the mustard.

In my mind if I kept bringing up the fact that we are short handed and handling way more information, people, and deadlines than our current staff can maintain, the powers that be would start thinking that maybe they needed someone else who wouldn’t be falling apart and complaining all the time. In these times no one is that gung ho about spending extra money so the winners are going to be the people who make it seem like they can handle everything no matter what the manpower is. I’ve been that person but it’s wearing me out lately.

The side effect to being that guy who tries to make everything seem possible to accomplish is that eventually the higher-ups take you for granted. They just keep piling on more and more and demanding more and more because you smile in the face of pressure so they think it’s no big deal. Everyone is so used to you just handling everything that when you don’t or voice any disagreement with how things are working out it seems like you are the one who’s being unreasonable.

That’s been my position for awhile now. Whatever you have in mind to get done just bring it on and I and my people will handle it. We’ve handled it all but we are starting to get a little beat down and it’s getting harder and harder to handle everything. We could use some help and I have expressed that. My biggest issue is that how I got to this position keeps me form ever admitting I can’t handle anything. I’m not a highly pedigreed cat with a bunch of letters behind my email signature. I’m a blue collar dude who found himself in the white color world because of my grind, work ethic and personality. I’m doing as well as I ever have and since I am so scared of going backwards I don’t say much. I just put my head down and work. That's not always good because when you do say something everyone thinks you have gone crazy.

I need to stop that and let the personal ownership of everything go. I have four more weeks of vacation then I am supposed to have because I never let go of the job. I better admit a bit of defeat and let go of some of this responsibility for I end up having a moment where keeping it real goes wrong. I think it's time to take a few weeks off and work on my new hobby of gardening. I'm trying to get my cantaloupes to grow.


swiftone said...

Sound like it's past time to spend some hours with those cantaloups. They'll appreciate your time and give great rewards. And being away on vacation may make it clear how much you actually do at work. Sounds like a win win to me.

Judy Thorne said...

I'm with swiftone. Besides the fact that you owe it to yourself to stay healthy and happy - something a vacation would surely bring, the "bigwigs" at work need to see how much really gets done without you there. Let go a little, it just might be the best thing you've done for yourself.

Susanna Powers said...

People who never take vacation become burnt-out, grouchy and resentful, and those negative things in turn are counterproductive to job performance. Vacation is a benefit of employment and is necessary for your good mental and physical health. besides, it's fun. sp

Anita said...

Gardening FTW!

LIsten to swiftone, judyb and sussah: The reason you get those vacation days is so that you don't become burnt-out, grouchy and resentful and those negative things impact your job performance.

Balance, Cliff, balance. Work, play, work, retreat and refresh. Keep the body and mind healthy and balanced. How you got where you are is no longer the top line on your resume--now it's all about accomplishment that you've demonstrated.

Find some informal tutoring about simple business negotiation (even audiotapes of books like "Getting to Yes") and learn how to frame and present your needs up the line. I don't guarantee you'll get more resources in today's climate, but it'll help your chances. (That sort of skill is the basic advantage conferred by those letters after one's name, anyway.)

I often used my vacation days as "gardening days" and announced them that way. Gardening is virtuous and it is hard to criticize a man for gardening.