Saturday, February 2, 2013

Not moving forward

In A Holding Pattern, Sherry Boas writes of papayas on the tree, neither ripening nor rotting, just staying there unripe for months.  That's what my life feels like.

I love my life when I'm not at work.  I love wandering about gazing at trees.  I love curling up with a book at home.  I love dancing at home alone.  I love dancing out in the world with others.  I love listening to music.  I love sunshine.  I love interacting with family and friends.

I do all these wonderful things, but it doesn't change anything.  I do all these thing but I still have to go to that wretched job.

When I tell people I feel like I'm not moving forward, they think I want to get ahead in my career.  They think I want a job that makes a difference in the world.  They think I want a job that makes better use of my intellect.

No, I just want to stop having to go to that wretched place.

What's it like? I do some tasks that are moderately enjoyable.  But more often, I do tasks I don't like.  Do you know how if you try to put two magnets together going the wrong way, they bounce away from each other before they are close enough to touch?  That is what my work is like.  Every time I try to put my mind to a task, my mind bounces away from it.

I spend my work day trying to force my mind to focus where it doesn't want to be.

One of the main things that I do is write pleas to an administrator to grant us permission to do things.  We are the ones who know, we are the ones who are in a position to make an informed decision.  But he doesn't trust us to make the right decision.  Also, he won't approve it if he doesn't like the way we word the request.  It's not that he's opposed to allowing it, he just won't allow it until we bend over backwards a few more times.  This is the way it goes: first he explains how he wants us to frame the request.  Next, we make the request in accordance with his instructions.  Then he says we have made the request incorrectly, and that we failed to follow his instructions.  Then we re-write the request in accordance with his new instructions.  Then he rejects it again.  Then we re-write it again.  Then he finally approves it.

It takes a lot of time to keep writing those requests.  It also takes a lot of time between when we make the request and when he decides to tell us that he has rejected it.  So, things are not getting done in a timely manner, and there are people who are negatively affected when we can't back to them in a timely manner.

I can't keep up with my work.  I used to have a job that a person could do in a full-time manner.  But then we started having to do all this begging and pleading for every step we take.  What we used to be able to accomplish in minutes of work now takes days of work.   In the meantime, we lost four staff people -- one was laid off, two quit, and one died.  Only one of the four was replaced.

Usually by mid-afternoon, I'm really tired.  In the last few hours at the office, it's really hard to do anything.

Why is it so hard to do my job? It could be that
  • Since I got chronic fatigue syndrome, I'm no longer really fit to work full-time.
  • With the increased workload and decreased staff, I'm overwhelmed by all the things I have to do, and it makes it hard to focus on any one thing.
  • I hate the tasks I'm trying to do.  
It's probably all of the above.  But if I could tease apart these items, it might help me figure out what to do.  Because if my problem is that I can't work full-time, I shouldn't be trying to find a different full-time job.

This job sucks the life out of me.  Yes I do some fun things in my free time, but my free time is very limited.  A lot of it needs to go to chores.  A lot of it needs to go to rest.  

There are so many things I'd love to be doing.  I want to go to concerts, dances, and singalongs.  I want to take lessons on playing musical instruments, and lessons on dancing.  This time of year I want to go skiing and snowshoeing.  In summer, I want to go kayaking and rollerblading.  I want to be able to have long conversations with people.  There are piles of books I want to read.  

All the time, I have to accept that I can only do a small fraction of the activities I long to be doing.  

I never used to use caffeine.  Now I do.  I used to be punctual.  Now I'm late.  I pay my bills late.  I get to work late.  I get to events late.  I used to be organized, but now everything is falling apart.  I used to clean my house, now I don't.  

Yes, I am grateful to have a job.  I'm grateful that I don't have to worry about money.  I'm grateful to have somewhere to go, because I'm not actually happy when I have too many days of unstructured solitude.  I'm grateful that I'm not harassed at my job.  I'm grateful that it's a laidback environment.  

No, I don't expect my job to be perfect.  No, I don't want to have a prestigious career.  

But there has to be something better than this.  I don't want to spend the remaining decades until retirement stifling my soul like this.  And much as I love the things I do in my free time, I'm not moving forward, because I still have to go to that job.  And what am I supposed to do about it?  It takes a lot of time and energy to find a new job.   Already I'm falling apart because I'm doing too much.  Already it hurts me all the time that I'm so tired, that my house is so messy, that my bills aren't paid, that there are so many concerts and dances I can't attend.   I can't do any more than what I'm doing.  I

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