Feeble Knees

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Busy, Busy

This morning I made a conscious effort to attack all those Christmas to-do items at once, instead of getting wrapped up in blogging or poetry.

So far so good. I'm half finished making a double batch of 100 truffles I'm giving to family this weekend. Yep, 100. I may never want to see a truffle again. Blech! Also baked up some spiced biscotti (I ran out of butter and this was one of the few cookie recipes in existence that doesn't require it copious amounts of it.) Eat your heart out Martha Stewart! ;-)

Started on the Christmas cards (where would I be without a laser printer and mailing labels?) but am having trouble with the return address ones, which keep coming out as sheets of inkspots. Hm. Rather than fight with it, here I am, blogging.

I am very grateful that I have the time to fiddle with all this, as I am not working at present. I am also childless (as far as I know at this instant), so I humbly recognize that I have the kind of time and space a lot of people would give their left arm for during the holiday season. (Thanks Mr. Feeble!) Yet if I don't keep my days strictly structured, my brain wanders off into a book or the blogosphere and I have the darnedest time coaxing it back out. This, along with a propensity to think too much are two of the downfalls being otherwise gainfully unemployed.

Some days I wonder what the heck I'm doing. I left my job a few months back because it was eating my brain. More often than not I'd end up crying or ranting out loud during my hour-long commute home each night. I'd taken it because it was a job and we certainly could use the cash. Both of us had fallen victim to the dot-com bust, so we figured any job was a good job, considering the times. During my first interview I correctly perceived that my boss and I weren't going to see eye-to-eye. But they offered me the position anyway because I'd worked for his boss before, and his boss loved me. Though I had misgivings about it, I accepted. Within about a week I realized I'd made a big mistake. But still, I was happy to just have a job and be contributing to the household income.

Before long I realized I was starting to employ the same kind of thinking I'd used for years to convince myself it was better to stay in my off-the-wall, spiritually abusive church. Thoughts like: "if I just work harder, my boss will recognize my efforts and treat me more kindly" and "if I just stay a bit later each night, that'll put me in good stead" and "at least I'm working as unto the Lord" circled in my head. I redoubled my efforts and tried harder to please everyone.

No matter what I did however, it just was never good enough. At a breaking point, I confronted my boss about this. He acted amazed and astounded. Of course he thought I was a great worker and he respected my work. Didn't I now that? I thought we got somewhere, but his demands, constant criticism, debates, and micro-management continued. Many of the emotional techniques that management used reminded me of church. Specifically the tendency to get the whole company together and tell us that "certain people" had expressed doubts or complaints about certain policies and practices. We were told summarily that if said certain people felt that way, then they obviously weren't One of Us™. They did not have the Company's best interest at heart and should seek employment elsewhere immediately. This cowed any would-be rabble-rousers, and everyone would meekly file back to their cubes, heads down, teeth clenched.

It was several months before I realized how similar my working situation was to my church situation, and I was falling into the same old self-flagellation that kept me there. The old habits weren't dying at all, and yet again I was doing a number on myself: doing too much, killing myself to make deadlines, losing sleep to stress, beating myself up for not doing enough/better, and generally making myself a likely candidate for a stroke.

So, with Mr. Feeble's blessing, I quit outright and never looked back. The whole experience has made me realize that I was part of the problem at my former church, because I wasn't able to recognize when I was being manipulated, or rather didn't see manipulation for what it was. I'm a workaholic perfectionist who isn't satisfied unless she goes above and beyond the call of duty with every task. I thought this was something to be proud of, to strive for. What I didn't realize is that people will let you do that and applaud you all the way; no one will stop you. But when you inevitably crash and burn, people are less than sympathetic. They want you to get up and be supergirl again. And again, and again.

It's time for me to realize that my worth as a person is not dependent upon how many hours I can work in a week or how perfectly I perform a task. It is good to be a good worker, and to do things thoughtfully and well. The Bible tells us a lot about the value of hard and honest work. But the Bible also has a lot to say about balance, and a fair measure. I'm thinking that means I need to recalibrate my own self-worth to God's measure, not anyone else's. His is the only one that is fair and true.

<< Home

TrackBack URL for this post: http://haloscan.com/tb/feebleknees/110315214082194078