Amanda Cade

Worth It! (Things to try, read, watch, hear, and discuss)

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.

Challenges

the struggle is realMeanwhile, 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.

More Challenges

I Can't EvenMy 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.

Surge Capacity

helpBy 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.

Conclusions

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.

I'm ok 2

How are you doing?

23 thoughts on “Have You Hit the Wall? (Because I Have)

  1. kagould17 says:

    Hearing your story makes me glad that I am retired, Amanda. In my previous 38 years as a construction project manager, the big bosses were always changing the process, so that they could feel in power on all the things they did not understand. All this did was confuse the doers and I, like you felt lost and out of rhythm. Two things I recalled when this happened: 1) My bosses were only doing their job. If they asked me for something, they needed it and I was damn well going to give it to them, because it was easier than fighting the change. 2) A saying in Readers Digest magazine in 1978 read…”During the good times, you are only half as good as you think you are and during the bad times, you are only half as bad as your boss thinks you are.” Ultimately, all that has changed is perception, which is based on the current conditions. This pandemic is messing with us all, even if we don’t think it is. Stay well and keep plugging away. You can do it or they would not have given you the projects. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I love that quotation, and I’m going to remember it. I’m definitely focusing on perception, including how I’m seeing myself. That was the most important takeaway from my conversation on Friday, and it’s already helping. Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mrs ESTJ says:

    I feel your pain. I implement projects that are mostly decided upon globally. Where systems are concerned they never entirely meetings the needs of the UK company but we have to go with it and I’m often the face of the thing nobody wants. It’s a job at least.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I’m definitely trying to figure out how to navigate this situation. It isn’t the first time I’ve had to communicate, implement, and/or promote unpopular things, but in the past it’s always been with a small group of people that I work with every day. Being front and center for something that impacts more than 90% of our employees (many in different departments) is shaping up to be very, very different.

      Like

      1. Mrs ESTJ says:

        Yes but just try to remember that you are only doing your best with it. You’ll handle whatever comes your way.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Jennie says:

    The first week back is the hardest of all. I know I will feel the same as you my first week back at school. Hang in there!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      My heart goes out to all the teachers. I know you’re working hard and will do great things in spite of the challenges.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Jennie says:

        Thanks, Amanda. Fingers crossed. 🙂

        Like

  4. Sounds like you’re walking through these times steadily – with plenty of ups&downs and angst&joyfullness. The surge capacity article helps alot!!! We’ve been on-hold prior to COVID and were just about to move (literally) forward in the next stage of our lives – and like everyone else, life stopped. I’m not complaining, family is safe (even our large numbers in the medical profession) and noone has been evicted or foreclosed upon, etc etc…just the waiting and inability to ‘help’ in any tangible hands-on manner is stressful.
    Along with the surge capacity burden, there’s the new normal survival tactics we are on constant alert to be implementing – with the added uncertainty of weird violent reactions by incidental strangers to just about anything – twitch of an eye or the wearing of a mask (how does my wearing a mask infringe on their rights or justify such seething anger?).
    Anyway – hang in there & don’t guilt out about your ‘treats’!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      One day at a time is all we can do. Eventually, this too shall pass. I also can’t understand people getting upset about other people’s masks…but there are a lot of things people do that I can’t understand.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Deep breath, and carry on indeed!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

    If anyone’s got this, it’s you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Thank you. The vote of confidence definitely helps. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

        Well, it’s true. You’re intelligent and a tough cookie.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. petespringerauthor says:

    I saw a lot of myself in the description of yourself. I’ve been retired for four years now, but I was that hard-working, do-it-all person with a positive attitude who you describe. Don’t get me wrong—I loved what I did (elementary school teacher for thirty-one years). Would I do it all over again? Absolutely, but with the minor modification of making a little more time for myself. When you’re continually trying to meet all work obligations, while being a spouse and parent on top of that, it doesn’t leave much time for yourself. You are so smart to see that. Exercise is huge!

    The one thing about us workaholic types is we can always see the finish line, but that’s where the pandemic is different. We don’t know how long it will last, and that uncertainty takes a toll on us physically and mentally. We can’t continue to power through like we usually do because we can’t see the finish line. Imagine being in a race when you don’t know when it will end. How can you pace yourself? Your friend gave you a lot of sound advice. Good luck this week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      There’s no frame of reference for all the changes and challenges the pandemic has brought. I’m still in the process of figuring out what it means for me and how to respond to it, but at least I’m making progress.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I look forward to reading the article. I’ve noticed a pattern in myself that when I reach my wit’s end, I get grumpy, emote, and then find my solution. I bet you’re moving on up to your next peak. Implementing unpopular procedures across the company is a tricky task, but as the Eclectic Contrarian says above, I bet you’re up to it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      So far, so good. I’ve tried to find ways to ease the burden on everyone else (requiring some additional work on my part), and showcased those supports along with the policy changes. I haven’t had too much backlash yet. We’ll see how the next few days go, because I’m rolling out more information. Fingers crossed. Lol.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That sounds like a very wise way to do it. Shows you are taking people’s interests to heart to your coworkers.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

    A Sunday in which I have not read my weekly post from Amanda signals me to believe you’re either still at said wall or you’ve inconveniently hit another one.

    Me being the thoughtful guy I am, I have to at least ask how you’re doing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I really appreciate you checking in! I worked for most of the weekend and kept thinking, “I need to write my post as soon as I finish ____”. When I looked at the clock and saw that somehow it was Sunday evening, I decided to go to bed early and put something together this morning. Look for a post around…probably 5am (CST).
      Things have been busy, but I got my head on straight and have been in a better frame of mind. Again, thank you so much for asking how it’s going. You’re the best!!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

        I just care about my peeps 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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