Ladies and gentlemen, it has been a week. As planned, I went back to work on Monday, and to make a long story short, for the foreseeable future I’ll be at work two days a week and at home the other three. Some of my colleagues are still working from home full time, where others are on site full time. Midweek, we were informed that one employee who had been in the building had tested positive, and contact tracing caused several people (including one person on my team, but not myself) to reverse course and go into quarantine while they wait for test results.
Meanwhile, my organization has implemented a lot of new policies and procedures, including a lot of new changes to the work from home process and a serious increase in oversight and monitoring. This has caused a good bit of confusion and a decent amount of frustration (particularly among people who have been meeting their objectives while working from home, because they feel like they’re being undeservedly punished). My immediate supervisor, Maria, continues to be amazing, but there have been a lot of decisions from other levels of leadership that are increasing stress on everyone. We’ll figure out a way to make it all work, but the stress is palpable right now.
My personal workload increased exponentially this week. A lot of my projects have reached critical stages, and there have been several new short-term projects assigned to me. Some of the aforementioned procedure changes have created the need to redo some previous work, and added new tasks that I hadn’t been anticipating. One of the most difficult situations I’m facing is that I’ve been moved up the chain on one particular project, and have been tasked with implementing decisions that I didn’t make. These decisions impact almost everyone in the organization, and people are really, really unhappy about them. I am very aware of how unhappy they are, because I have suddenly become the “face” of the project, so the day I took over my inbox was flooded. I spent most of yesterday catching up on replying to those messages while simultaneously getting up to speed and preparing to move forward.
By the end of the day on Friday, I was more stressed than I’ve been in a long, long time, and I was frustrated with myself. The thing is, usually cascading workstorms is where I thrive. I’m a crisis-managing, priority-setting, marathon-working, we-can-do-it overachiever, and for my entire life I’ve been at my absolute best when the challenge seems insurmountable (see this post, this post, this post, this post, and this post). I’ve actually been really proud of how well I’ve handled things during the pandemic, because while I’ve had a few hiccups and tough days, I’ve overwhelmingly stayed positive and productive. This week, though, I’ve been tired, cranky, and stressed out. I’ve skipped all of my workouts, binged on unhealthy comfort foods, and even privately resented time devoted to talking to friends and family. In other words, I’ve been the anti-Amanda. I couldn’t figure out why instead of gearing up I felt like I was shutting down.
I video called a co-worker/friend for a venting session, and expressed those frustrations to her. She had a few things to say, and I think it’s good advice for all of us:
- Give yourself credit for the things you’ve done well
- Remember that you’re only human
- Be honest with yourself and others about what you can and can’t do
Then she told me she had just read an article that I really needed to read, too. She sent it to me, and after reading it I decided that I absolutely had to pass it on to all of you. Here it is, and I strongly recommend taking the time to read it, because it puts a lot of things in perspective.
There’s still a lot of work to do, and I know that the next few weeks are going to be difficult. However, I feel a lot better after being reminded that there are reasons I’m not 100% on my A game, and that it’s ok to be where I am. Did I still work most of the day yesterday? Yes. Am I still working most of today? Yes. However, I’m also going to stop skipping my workouts, make sure I get enough sleep, be honest with myself and others about how I’m feeling, and take it easy on myself. I’ll get through this. We all will.
How are you doing?