Friday, March 05, 2010

Red Line

"Katie," he warned, raising his eyebrows when I pouted defiantly. "No."

"It's not nice!" I cried, stomping my foot hard enough to make my ponytail bounce. "Who sends emails in bold, red font that are in all capital letters?!"

"They probably don't have a lot of friends," he tried to soothe. "And when you don't have a life, you don't learn how to properly communicate without irritating the hell out of people."

"Do I have a life?" I asked and watched him acknowledge my point. "Yet I don't write in all capital letters! It's condescending and offensive! I should tell them," I muttered, turning back to my keyboard before he grabbed the back of my chair and wheeled me away from my desk.

"We do not scold customers," he reminded me sternly. "The next time a colleague does it to you, I'll help you hurt them." Soundly thwarted, I continued to pout as I went about another intensely busy day.

I'm still not adjusting well to our new regime. I believe I have proved my worth and seem to be under less scrutiny and criticism than before. But I'm alienating my team by working 70 hour weeks. I'm putting forth insane efforts to keep up and do favors and while our new leader approves, my colleagues are somehow less than impressed that I'm contributing to them looking like they don't care as much as I do.

I was sort of OK with it. Of all of us, I'm most interested in staying. Attracted enough to power to want to move up and anti-social enough to not mind working evenings and weekends, I'm someone who'll do well in Industry through sheer force of will. Yet it was not my turn to go to The Meeting this year since I basked in the Hawaiian sun last year. I spared only a moment to be disappointed, thinking instead that I could take a break, rest and try to get caught up while others were off in Europe. It doesn't make sense for me to be selfish and expect to go abroad twice in one year.

Yet plans changed and invitations were rescinded. And I am once again being sent to The Meeting instead of others - others whose turn it is to go - from my group. And while we haven't spoken of it since the announcement, I'm feeling awkward and uncomfortable about the whole thing. (And not even the outwardly uncomfortable inwardly 'woo hoo for me!' feeling. Totally uncomfortable with the whole thing - I like and respect my colleagues and don't like being singled out like this.)

I'm also drifting into the realm of being so overwhelmed that anyone I don't like or respect is getting ignored and/or slapped back when they dare bother me. I don't like myself much when I sneer at people or scoff at their scolding when I miss their meetings. "I'm sorry," I offered today when a man I do like and respect approached me about it. "But I'm maxed out. I can do no more."

So when it was time to address the problem, I made a chart. There were little bars for all the tasks and only 4 of them made it below the 100% effort line. I looked, mostly befuddled, at all the tasks we used to squeeze in but that had multiplied so much that there was just no way anymore. Inserting the red line in my chart, I winced at what this meant - all the refusals it would mean, all the stress it would cause as we did what we could and knew it wasn't enough, and glared at the thought that we need help and aren't likely to get it.

I'd try to figure out what to do about it, but I need to sleep. I'm due at work by 7 tomorrow morning.

1 comment:

Amelie said...

That sounds tough, Katie. Take care. I hope you get a chance to take a break soon.

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