Monday, July 31, 2006

Anxiety Chokes Me Like Razor Wire

Wow, I thought last week was bad. Due to people disengaging because of stress and overwork, I find myself doing the work of no less than 4 people in addition to my own, and probably closer to 9. The thing that distinguishes me from other people is that I know in my heart that I can handle it, and then some.

It's actually having the desired effect too, people are seeing the amount of work I'm doing and not complaining, and are starting to hop back on board.

Upon further analysis today, myself, my boss, and our account exec have determined that we're short approximately 14 people to properly do our work. So if you count the fact that I'm doing the work of 8 people (in addition to myself), we're still six short, and I can't sustain that pace forever. Well, I could, but I'd leave a trail of bodies in my wake.

I previously alluded to the fact that I have already suffered a burnout, in my early teens. A counsellor asked me if I had ever become suicidal during that time, to which I replied "no, but I was homicidal for a time". My patience for incompetence stops when people can't do their own job properly, while I'm taking my best shot at doing 9.

So I guess the question is, will I quit? The simple answer is no, because I'm not a quitter. Never have been, never will be. I choose to see myself as part of the solution, and if I quit, I just become part of the problem. If you're 30 years old and are looking for a long, promising, profitable career, no matter what, you NEVER want to be part of the problem. Once I've exhausted all my options (and I'm not even close), I may revisit the issue, since if my leaving forces people's hands, my departure may become the tipping point of a larger solution.

If I can turn this into a piece of advice, try this one:

There's a stereotype of young, promising workers that we have no roots and no allegiances, we just follow the money and go to the places that can give us the best pay, most fun and most vacation. That may be true, to a certain extent, people in my age group are more likely to want to be fulfilled at work in addition to (and sometimes, rather than) paying the bills. But if you keep jumping around at opportunities and change jobs like you change suits, sooner or later, it'll catch up to you and you'll take a wrong turn. A few really successful and increasingly important jobs (assuming you never overstay your welcome) will mean more than a bunch of positions where you've produced negligeable results. Always keep your eyes on the big picture, which is, "how will this decision affect the rest of my life"?

Since I'm writing an anecdote immediately following this one that is sure to attract the most reading, bonus points to anyone who comments on this entry.


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