Thursday, October 08, 2009

Work Blur

Thank you everyone for your supportive comments. I was kind of bummed out the other day, and I will probably have days like that for a while. But right now, I'm good.

Not to change the subject, but work is totally bonkers right now. Oh, who am I kidding? Work has been bonkers since I took this job back in February! That's why my blogging and blog reading has dwindled to almost nothing. My department is so incredibly understaffed, it is not even funny. You could double it and we probably still wouldn't get everything done. Now that fall quarter has begun (the college where I work is on a quarter schedule, rather than semesters -- yes, it's weird), it is beyond busy. Fall is our busiest time of the year, hands down. Just to give you an idea of what my days are like, let me tell you about last Monday. Please keep in mind that I am not complaining. I really love my job. I am just trying to illustrate to you how insane and demanding my job is. Ok, so about last Monday...

I sent or returned emails. All day. I am not kidding. That's what I did for 8 hours. Which means I didn't get anything else done. I have not worked fewer than 45 hours per week since August. I am probably closer to 50 hours per week. The only reason it is not 60 is because by 6pm I am too mentally exhausted to do anything productive. Here is a basic breakdown of an average day for me:

8am -- teach a class of students how to use the library. This involved about 1.5 hours of prep time the day before, btw.
10:30 am -- the class is over and so I don't have a ton of students asking me for help after I just showed them stuff. Time for breakfast at my desk while I check my email. I don't finish reading email because my staff has a bunch of questions for me. Now I have to send out a couple of emails or help them with something to get to the bottom of their concerns/questions.
11am -- I have to sit at the reference desk to answer questions from students who come into the library. Usually, I get to learn something cool in the process, like the history of a font or a theoretical interpretation of a painting. Yesterday, I learned there is a difference between an interior decorator and an interior designer. Who knew?
12pm -- Lunch! I am starved! I go to lunch after following up on a couple more things, answering more questions from my staff or coworkers, jotting "don't forget!" notes on my to-do list and talking to a faculty member who stopped by for a quick chat about their student's assignment and a couple of books they want us to buy.
12:40pm -- I actually sit down to eat my lunch.
1pm -- back on the reference desk to answer more questions and learn more stuff. Manage to check my email and finally return the emails from the last 24 hours.
3pm -- I am off the desk and back in my office to prep for the next day. More follow-ups. I spend about 15 minutes looking for my to-do list and another 15 minutes trying to figure out what to prioritize first. Tell myself I need to get organized better next time. Interrupted by coworker/staff member/student/faculty member. Have a panicky moment when I realize I forgot to do something kind of important. Drop everything to put out that fire. Make a bunch of photocopies for a class I am teaching later in the week. Run out of time to select some books for the library to buy, which I am supposed to be doing on a continual basis. Oops.
4pm -- meeting with someone about something. Could be a student working on an assignment, could be my boss wanting updates and could be my staff who are trying to learn the ropes of their new job or a faculty member who wants to talk to me about something. Or possibly Brett Favre. Who knows. I have probably met with Obama and I dont' even realize it because I am totally scatterbrained.
5pm -- YES! Time to go home! Oh wait. No. I can't. Gotta return this email, ask my coworker about this thing, take these books upstairs, look up some images for a professor, figure out what I am going to show the class I am teaching in the morning...
6pm -- ok, NOW I am going home. Yes. I think it is ok now. I don't feel panicky. My email has quieted down for the night and I honestly cannot think of anything super important that needs to be done before I go to bed.
7:30pm -- I pass out on the couch while I watch Jeopardy. No joke.
10:15pm -- I lie awake in my bed, thinking about work.

And that is just a normal day. Not even the craziest day. The crazy days are when 2 people call in and I have to cover some of their duties, or I have 3 classes to teach instead of one, or my boss has an emergency task she needs my help with NOW. That's when stuff really gets nuts.

Coming up soon on a Monday morning, I have 4 classes to teach. Before lunch. It will go like this:
8am -- arrive at Liberal Arts building to teach English class.
9:30am -- run across the hall to teach the next one.
11am -- go back to original room to teach next section of the same English course.
12:30 -- run back to the other room again to teach next section of that class.
2pm -- get to work to do all the stuff I normally do. Probably eat lunch at my desk.

The day after it? The same thing.

This job is going to be the death of me. I wish I was a superhero. I need to plan something super fun to do for when classes are over. I deserve a massage, or a vacation or a shopping spree. Something.

Oh, so the whole point of this blog. Almost forgot. (See? I am so overloaded, I cannot even remember simple things!) My boss pulls me into her office the other day. She told me I got a small raise (YAY) and that she is very happy with my work so far. She loves me. But perhaps a little too much: She then explains to me that she is thinking about making me Head of Public Services, which would essentially double my workload, because I would be in charge of 2 departments -- the two busiest in the building. I would be in charge of my department --Reference (answering questions at the front desk), Instruction, Circulation (all the checking in/out of books, holds, reserves, Interlibrary Loan, fines, etc.) and most of the Collection Development (ie, book selection). She is thinking about doing this because the manager of the Circulation department has been flaking out at work lately, and she implied that she is going to demote him and put him under me as another Reference Librarian. Which would kind of be a godsend -- I really need an extra pair of hands. But then I would be in charge of several other people I am not currently in charge of. My boss said I would be compensated ($!) for all of this extra work load, and I am really proud of myself for proving how valuable I am as an employee, but HOLY COW IS SHE HIGH??! I can barely keep my head above water now! And she wants me to pile even more heaps of responsibility on my plate??? I would love to say I would be excited for this HUGE promotion, but to be honest, I am worried I would not be able to handle it all.

She hasn't decided anything definite yet, but she will by the end of the month. The thing that is really weird is that this guy who has been flaking out is a really nice guy who everyone likes and who we all hang out with socially. I just hope it doesn't get awkward if it does happen. Oh, and did I mention that he's cute? Yeah. He is. Just to make it that much more interesting.

My boss had better be talking about a LOT of money.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Dying Alone and Childless: Day 23

First of all, I must thank each and every one of you for your support, emails, text messages and comments. I am truly overwhelmed, and literally brought to tears. *sniff*

This is going to make no sense, but the decision was both easy and incredibly difficult. At the same time. But I am also alternating between the two, especially now, after 3 weeks. It's so obvious we are wrong for each other! No, wait! Oh my gawd, did I really do that? Am I ok with this? Yes. Yes, I am totally ok. No, wait. etc. etc. Those of you who love the Voices in My Head have no idea what the cocophony has been like for the last month. I feel like a very, very strong woman..........but also like a murderer. I killed my dream. I killed us. But I am proud of myself for recognizing something and doing something about it, even though it made me sad and hurt someone I still care very deeply for. I have pride and shame. Mostly shame.

The thing that is really strange about this whole process (and it makes sense if you think about it) is how similar this feels to grief. I imagine it must be even worse if it's in the context of going through a divorce. That must be excruciating.

Like grief, I have good days and I have bad days. Some days I am feeling fine, and almost ready to put it all in the past and move on. Other days, I am really bummed out and wondering, "What if I just blew it?" I mean, you only get so many chances in life, right? What if I am being too picky? No two people agree on everything, so you have to have compromises, right? Do people really get married after the age of 32, or is that just what tv wants you to think? If I were to meet Mr. Perfect today, there's no way I would make it down the aisle anytime sooner than 32, let's face it. I am in a race against crow's feet, y'all. It's getting serious now. Have I officially reached old maid-dom? Are my ovaries vestigial organs at this point, and I might as well start planning my trip around the world -- solo? Because that is my Plan B: Become a World Traveller. Are all the men in my age range as confused, damaged and gun-shy as I am now? Or worse -- are all the good ones taken?

...and then there's the obvious question......

When and how do I try to re-enter the world of dating? Do I try online dating again?

*shudder* Because I am in a town where I don't really know anyone. So my dating options are pretty much nil. Ugh. No. Not yet, anyway. Maybe in a few months. I gotta get a feel for this town through the eyes of a single girl first. I don't know if it's full of jackasses who will only waste my time or if it's just a matter of separating the wheat from the chaff.

This is really all moot, anyway, as CN and I are now......roommates. Yes, we are 100% broken up. We've even had the, "Ok, are we really really broken up? Or is there a chance we might get back together?" talk. There is no touching beyond hugs, I put a robe on when I get out of the shower, etc. We are in separate bedrooms and are rarely home at the same time. So good. I don't have to cook, and he doesn't have to take me out to dinner. We each have our own couch, and if we don't want to watch the same show, one of us just goes upstairs. No harm, no foul.

I wonder if you are thinking this sounds incredibly awkward. It isn't. It's funny how comfortable it has been so far. I guess when you have dated someone for 2 years, the time to feel awkward has passed completely, no matter the circumstances. We are both pretty laid back people, and we have agreed not to bring any new significant others over until further notice. (Repeating this rule aloud just makes us snicker, because both of us go for loooooooong periods of time between relationships, so it's humorous to even think about dating a new person right now.)

At first, we talked about him moving out, but it would be difficult for me to afford this place on my own. Especially since his job pays for Internet (yay!). And he was not excited about the idea of moving again after we JUST got here. So for the time being, we are roomies. The Czarina does NOT get this and doesn't like it. I think she is worried we won't be able to move on or avoid sleeping together. I see her concern, but unfortunately, I don't make enough money to kick him out. Well, I do, but it would seriously impact my clothing budget. :) And he's saving a lot of money by staying, too. You can't live in a decent neighborhood in Savannah for under $800/month, and right now, we are each paying $500/month -- essentially a steal. And to be honest, I don't want to have any other roommate right now. CN is a really good one. Except that he doesn't seem to put his dirty dishes in the dishwasher -- a minor concern in the world of roommates.

He has told his job that he wants to be put on what is called "detail". This means he would travel a LOT all around the state, to different towns to do his work. If he gets put on detail, he will be gone periodically for as long as a month at a time. Obviously, this would be good for both of us. He's still waiting to hear back from them.

For the first time in my life, I wish I had a PR assistant. Someone to break the news to family and friends, field any questions, deal with the backlash, put out a press release for me. Because explaining it is one of the worst parts about this process. I dread it. And it's big news, too. I can't just do a facebook update. I have to email or call all the important people in my life. Individually. It took me about a week just to tell you guys, and I don't even know most of you! I try to get other people to spread the word for me so I don't have to repeat my sad story over and over and over. I elected one trusted coworker to put the news out to everyone at work. I even managed to change my facebook status secretly, so there was no horrible broken heart icon in everyone's news feed. (Whew!)

Then again, part of me feels like this is what I get for what I did. The punishment for my crime. Like Sisyphus, I am doomed to repeat my story over and over and over forever. Endless questions. Endless pity. Every time I tell it, I get more and more bummed out. Luckily, it comes and goes in waves. And work is REALLY busy right now, so that helps a lot.

I have gotten a mixed bag of reactions to the news, from shock to confusion to relief to pity -- and everything inbetween. What has been surprising to me is how invested some of our friends were in "us". A couple of them are having a hard time coming to terms that we broke up. For real. And no, we are not getting back together. I've been really surprised at how many family members were relieved to hear the news. They could tell we weren't a good fit. But they kept their mouths shut. I do not blame them. Telling someone they are with the wrong person is very difficult.

I am worried about the long term effects of this living situation. I have a friend who is in a similar situation. She's been in it for about 6 months now, and they are waiting for the house to sell before they can part ways. Ugh. I feel for her. Anyway, she said to me the other day that she's thinking about getting back together with him. I am worried that as time passes, I may start thinking like that, and fall back to where we were, and end up dragging things out or making a mistake...ugh. So I am a little concerned about my future and my ability to stay strong for a long period of time (we all have our needs -- *ahem*) and still move on despite the fact that I am living with an ex-fiance.

But I have to say that we are both being respectful, mature and flexible. So I'm kind of proud of us. Most people would turn this into a vindictive, painful and petty living situation. We are not.

I don't think he would admit it, even to himself, but I think he feels some relief, too. The pressure to be someone he's not is all gone. He doesn't have to try and understand me or my needs anymore. I think he may be starting to see how this is a good thing. Or maybe I just tell myself that to alleviate some of the mountains of guilt I am experiencing.

More than anything, though, I feel really really alone and lost. For the first time in my life. For two years, I have been a part of something. And now it's gone. Who am I? Why did I put myself in this situation? Am I pushing people away? How do I get in touch with myself again, when so much of my identity is wrapped up with him? What's next?

I guess today is one of those bad days.