Thursday, August 5, 2010

Work angst

Do you ever look around and think "this is not my beautiful house!"?

I'm looking around my office today, my second home since I'm here more than I'm home except for sleeping, and feeling the despair. For the next semester, I'm going to get a pretty little lamp to put by my computer and a lavender essential oil reed diffuser in an attempt to feel happier here. I'm also sucking in my stomach while I'm sitting here typing this so I don't feel like so much of a squash or pillow with legs. The very thought of what the next few weeks will bring is making me tense and irritable, and that's never good for the energy of the office.

One of my coworkers gave me this Dilbert cartoon to put on my desk because he thought I'd get a laugh out of it:

At the time, I did laugh. I don't feel so much like laughing right now, though. I'm 35. I work in what I sometimes refer to as a "divorced mom of 2 trying to get back on her feet with no degree" job. I've been here for two and a half years. I haven't gotten a raise (darn budget cuts!) in two years. I know I'm making a good contribution here but I feel a bit like Mary Poppins--I came here to get things running smoothly (besides the fact that I just really needed a full-time job with benefits) and now that things are back on track (if they were ever on track at all) and policies have been put in place and enforced, I feel the wind changing. Heck, I've felt it changing for months, but I've felt helpless do to anything ABOUT it.

Last September, I felt very much that I wouldn't be here for more than 6 months. I was planning on quitting in March. But then I had a couple of experiences that told me that I needed to stay here for a while longer. I wonder how long that "while" is going to last, because I really need to be making more money. While I am pretty sure I'll be married before I'm 40 (or maybe just REALLY optimistic), I need to be more able to support myself and build a hefty savings account.

Let's just say that, right now, on this income, buying a house with decent plumbing in a good neighborhood is a pipe-dream. I've put some feelers out on some graduate programs and jobs and nothing has turned up just yet. I've been praying a WHOLE LOT about what I should be doing and where I should be going, and nothing has been clear just yet. I don't want to be here for another year. I don't want to be in a job where my creativity is limited to filing things--filing things is fine, but I feel my brain and soul getting sick here and long to do something that is more actively creative. There are times here when it's really hard to contain the rage I sometimes feel at answering the same set of questions over and over and over again, or at answering the phone over and over and over again.

Surely there is something else out there! I just wish I knew what rock it was under or what corner it was around--it's been under rocks and around corners for a little while now, just out of reach or sight or definition, and it's maddening to know it's there but not be able to see it. We're taught that we've been given talents to build the kingdom of God and make life better for others, but it's REALLY hard to see how any of my more creative talents are actually doing anyone any good if they just sit in piles and drawers and boxes in my sewing room. I want to be doing something--I mean, why was I given these gifts if I'm not supposed to do something more with them?

It's endlessly frustrating right now, and there are days I just want to sleep--which is a sure sign I'm in a bit of a depressive slump. I'm just asking for a pinpoint of light or a tiny bone thrown my way so that I can have a better game plan for the next few years. And, just as a PS to the universe, it would very much help if I were dating someone. I just really miss holding hands.

In the meantime, I'll hope my lamp-and-lavender tricks help me feel less stressed and more happy.