Thursday, September 20, 2007

Just Say No to Stress.

I need to quit my job, sooner rather than later. As soon as Girlchild has a new abode and I can finish the last sprucing-up of this joint, the sign goes in the yard and I am getting out of this insanity. Without going into too much detail, though my own boss understands I tire easily and doesn't expect me to put in overtime, I have been volunteered for various things that involve evening meetings an hour away, and I was not volunteered for this by my own boss.

And tonight as I was leaving the office I received an email (not from my boss) ordering me to attend a Mandatory! meeting that is over an hour away and starts after 7 p.m., on a mid-week evening. So I'd get home very late and have to get up at 5 the next day.

At first I was upset, and called my son and left him a ranting voicemail. Then I went to the gym and spent an hour working out while listening to high energy stuff like Aerosmith and Van Halen, and came home in a far better frame of mind.

I am not going to let this bother me. I am going to Just Say No. What are they going to do, fire me? Bring it. I truly, honestly, deeply do not care. Yes, it would be inconvenient to have to find some sort of temporary job until the house sells, but I could do it.

And this is the frustration of being me right now. I look like me, I sound like me, in some ways I think I am a better me, really. But I get tired in a different way now. My attention span and memory are different. My job is as crazy and complex and stressful as it ever was, but my energy for dealing with it is different. But because I do not look or sound "brain damaged," few people really understand that I am not making it up when I say I'm different and that I have to take care of myself and things aren't so easy for me now, AND I'm not willing to risk my health for this crap.

Because when you don't have the luxury of taking it easy and have to force yourself to do things that a lot of people wouldn't have to do, like go back to the job you were taken out of on a stretcher half-dead, you don't actually get much credit for working your ass off to cope. It's surprising, really, but I guess not. I think my collapsing in the office was an embarrassing and uncomfortable thing that they'd just as soon put behind them, as if I'd farted in a meeting. As far as they are concerned, I'm back, it's fine, it's all forgotten. Because I don't put my head down on my desk and cry with exhaustion and frustration, though I want to on a regular basis, I'm "back to normal," and again able to juggle a hundred complicated unrelated tasks and bail out the people who can't do their jobs, and show up for meetings that will get me home after 11 p.m.

I have news for them. I'm not doing it. Surviving a ruptured brain aneurysm, like rank, doth have its privileges - privileges I am calling for myself, because I don't want to die for this fucking job. I go to sleep at 9:30 if I have to get up and work the next day, and on weekends too unless I have something more fun to do. This is sacred. This is what I have to do to keep doing this crazy shit I have to do to pay the mortgage on the house I'm trying to get rid of. I cannot and will not push myself beyond my reasonable limits. I am resigning from these boards I was appointed to without my consent, and if that is an issue, I'm resigning, period. Their choice.

Counting down to vacation - I really can't wait. Still knitting Red Scarf Scarf #2. Not much time to knit. Still trying to decide on a sweater project. I'm thinking that I may go nuts and do that Reeds and Grasses kimono. Just because I feel like making a statement.


Bess said...

Husband and father of 4 to wife and mother of same 4, when she has the flu and is on her way to the bathroom to throw up:

"Oh, good. You're up now. what's for dinner?"

this really happened.

I am closing my eyes and seeing Catherine taking the phone call from that comfortable, established, young, but not sophomoric, reale estate office in the pretty suburb in the Haver de Grass area north of Baltimore. She's saying "Yes. I would be willing to consider that offer of mega-enough $ with 4 weeks paid vacation and full health insurance. You pay moving expenses? You have company apartments for employees to stay in while they look for a new home. Well. I think I could work with that."

I think I'll pull that little vision up every now and then. The calendar says November 2007. Yeah. That would be a nice time to get such a call.


dragon knitter said...

honey, i have one phrase for you. FMLA. it doens't just cover actually leaving work, it can cover things like being excused from those late night meetings. no overtime. etc. Talk to the HR department, and see what they require then have the BRAIN doctor fill this stuff out. He knows what you're capable of. Show them. They have no right to bully you into putting your health in jeopardy AGAIN, and you can do something ab out it (i've been there, i had FMLA paperwork in for both my son and my mother).

and before you say it's too much of ahassle, or such, think of it like going to the gym. you may not like it, but you need it to keep healthy and ALIVE.

Catherine said...

I burned up my FMLA on the brain surgery and recovery, and trying to hide behind intermittent hours of FMLA leave doesn't get me off the boards I was appointed to without my consent, or fill my position on them. I'm a salaried employee, I don't get overtime, this is something I got stuck with since I came back to work, though it was not something I was hired to do or part of my job description. I'm just going to tell them, nicely, that I can't do it because it is too much for me. If they don't take it nicely, I am prepared to be not nice about it, but I think I'll win this one.

And I do like going to the gym, I love it, in fact. It is a higher priority in my life than this job at this point. The job is not good for me. The gym makes me feel wonderful.

Catherine said...

Bess, change that vision to someplace like The Nature Conservancy (I've always wanted to work for them) and visualize away!

Bess said...

Will Do!

Sue Woo said...

My accident was almost 7 years ago. I have visible scars and people still forget. I have to remind them I simply cannot do everything. I have to admit, I play the Accident Card at times when I probably shouldn't.

You'll get used to different-tired.
It will become part of your daily life.

Hope you have a good weekend!

Catherine said...

Bess - "You're up, what's for dinner?" may become my new tagline. I didn't comment on that earlier, but it made me laugh out loud. I was putting on my makeup this morning and admiring the lumps in my forehead. The screw heads are visible and I feel them every time I wash my face. Okay, so I get to deal with a new sort of concealer? I was managing the crows feet just fine, but when they cut open your head and dig around in there, it's not something you can fix with Mary Kay.

My brain bled. I fell to the floor and lost most of my vision, and I am here and functional because I had a hell of a fine surgeon, he is my hero, but that doesn't mean that I don't have lingering after effects. I work hard to manage them, with exercise and sleep and meditation and such, on top of working hard to do my job, on top of working to get this house ready to sell. I want to get it down to working to manage me and a job, and write a check to someplace that will take care of the roofoverheadmaintenance. I do not mind housework, I actually like it, but I have to do an hour in the yard as soon as it is light tomorrow, before it gets hot. I could live without that on my Saturdays.