Work: Friend or Foe?

Does working make you feel better? Or does it just add more stress to an already stretched-too-thin system?

Some days, as soon as I open the front door to my building it feels as though the life is being sucked out of me. Today is one of those days. I don’t know if it’s because of the work or because of outside problems that interfere with work. Maybe it’s a bit of both.

I am the only person in my building who does what I do. It makes things difficult sometimes. If I am out of the office, the work just doesn’t get done. If something urgent comes about, the other work gets pushed aside until I can get back to it at a later date. For the most part, my boss doesn’t even understand my job, although he tries his best to be helpful. It’s frustrating sometimes. I think about needing to take some time off, but the work won’t disappear if I’m not here. It will all be waiting for me when I get back. I don’t know if it would be worth it to be gone.

There are days I sit in front of my computer and seem to get absolutely nothing accomplished but the work is still piling, I’m not focused and I’m starting to wonder if I’m even really here most of the time. If I don’t write things down, I forget about them. If I don’t put reminders in my calendar, I miss meetings. Sometimes, my boss looks at me as though I’ve gone off the edge. I use my humour to alleviate the tension I feel inside.

I’ve always prided myself on doing a good job, being a productive member of the organization and having something useful to contribute. But the last year or so, I feel like I’ve been failing in those areas. After about 5 years of promises, I’ve recently gotten a reclassification. Now I’m feeling even more pressure to perform. I’ve already proven I deserved the promotion, but I feel like I need to do more than what I am. And I just don’t know if that’s a possibility.

The one solace I have at work is that I have an office with a door. For the times I’m feeling too overwhelmed, I can shut it and take a few moments to calm myself. If I feel like I need to cry, I shut the door and nobody is the wiser.

The property is surrounded by trees and nature and I have a window that overlooks a river, so I am also lucky in that regard. I keep my office comfortable and can decorate it pretty much however I like. This is extremely important to me.

For Christmas this year, one of my friends bought me a Demotivational Calendar. I absolutely love it! She told me that as she was standing in the store reading the months she could hear my voice saying the phrases in her head. We had a good laugh about it because, well, it makes life easier.

Here is January’s saying:

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Even better than the calendar though, is the fact that it came with a banner. I have it prominently displayed above the window behind my desk. I’m waiting for my boss, or some nagging co-worker, to complain. But so far, so good.

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I also have a ton of pictures and reminders of my kids that help me in the times they slip from my mind. There are magnets from places we’ve visited (and places some of my friends have visited), sand and sea shells from beaches we’ve played on and art they’ve made me.

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I have plants. I don’t know what it is, but there is something about them that always seem to help keep me calm and I can never get enough. During the Christmas holidays one of my aunts asked me if the Christmas cactus she gave me had flowered yet. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings but I had to tell her no–honestly I thought I had killed it.  Surprisingly though, when I came in to the office yesterday morning, I had a bloom either already out, or just about ready to come out, on almost every leaf available. It was a nice, bright addition to a snowy and cloudy Monday morning.

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And then there is this guy:

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He sits on the branch of my umbrella plant. One day, I was playing Lego with the boys and there he was, just laying on the floor. As soon as I saw him it made me think of my therapist (glasses and all). The cape just added flair and reminded me of the times I expected him to be a superhero that would destroy all of the bad in my life (okay, to be honest I still expect that from him most of the time).

Work is a necessary evil. It pays the bills. It keeps my children clothed and fed. It gets me out of the house in the morning and forces me to interact with people. Sometimes, it even distracts me. But on the days where it feels like too much, I’m really tempted to call my doctor and get a note that says I can be off for a little while.

Today is not that day though, so I will look out my window and dream of floating down the river to a place of quietness and comfort.

One thought on “Work: Friend or Foe?

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