Friday, March 7, 2003

The Edge of the Abyss

I feel very hurried, very overwhelmed, and very beleaguered at work this week. And yet, on some totally twisted Capricorny level I am totally loving it. Every few minutes I feel the beginnings of anxiety attacks, I have to close my eyes and tell myself to slow down and take it easy, one thing at a time; yet at the end of the day I feel somehow proud of myself that I managed to do so many things.

There are ten separate items on my To Do Today list at the office; though three of these tasks involve writing letters, one of them involves printing and distributing 1800 fliers to all four campuses. Yesterday there were seven items on the list, including all the banking and bookkeeping as well as meeting preparations and attendance. On a normal day, if I even bothered to make a To Do Today list (which I only do if I have been given specific projects that aren't naturally-occurring parts of my day), I would have maybe three or four. And yet, am I sitting here dreading going to work? No, I'm wondering if I can say something interesting and decide on a beefcake punctuator in twenty minutes or less (when I will have to get up and get dressed in order to reach the office promptly at ten).

Of course a lot of this feeling is my manic phase, and a lot of it is my tripping out over having written my job-description, and there is probably some performance anxiety caused by having new people around me. And I understand why I am enjoying this overwork, because there's a sort of endorphin rush that comes from doing a lot of little things and dancing along the edge of an anxiety-attack.

What concerns me, though, is the problem of heightened expectations on the parts of other people. I have noticed in the past that when people are impressed by my abilities, they come to expect those abilities to always be there... it's a fine line between trusting in a person's abilities and taking those abilities for granted. But I know that I am not always capable of doing this much. That when my next low cycle comes along I am going to forget a lot of details, that I am going to prioritize tasks not in accordance with their importance but rather in order of convenience. And then those people who have come to expect Manic Robert the Super Secretary being able to handle any old thing they throw my way will be terribly disappointed to find Depressed Robert the Slothly Scatterbrain sitting behind my desk. And I still feel guilty, beyond all logic, when people are disappointed in me. I mean, there's no rational reason for me to feel bad about other people's unrealistic expectations... but I do anyway. I still yearn (unrealistically) to be loved by all who know me.

I think I need to talk to my new boss about this. He hasn't been in the office long enough to have this conference with me that he keeps wanting to have; he hasn't even had the opportunity to look at the Job Description I wrote out (though I ran it past my other coworkers to make sure I wasn't padding unnecessarily). I'm going to have to explain to him that, while this week of activity worked out well, he has to know that I'm not always like this. I've hinted at it, like when I explained to him that making outgoing phone calls is something I hate so much that I will often put it off for weeks; he simply said to not put it off. Yes, I definitely need to have a talk with him about his expectations.

Well, kiddies, it's time to go. I have just enough time to put on my shoes, eat my Pillsbury Toaster Scrambles (ham and eggs!), and drive down to the office. Much to do, much to do. Hope you have a lovely day!

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