You know what I should be doing now? Writing my work review. You know what I am doing right now? Anything but. Why? It’s hard enough when I’ve had a good work year, filled with accomplishments and successes. I tend to be too critical of myself and stress out over if what I’m writing is bolstering my accomplishes enough…or *gulp* too much. Criticizing every word, each detail, all the while taking pride in knowing that I kicked ass and took some names. But in a year where my greatest work accomplishment may have been actually showing up, I’m at a complete loss. How do you review a year where I got my ass kicked?
I’ve never had a bad review, or report card for that matter (except my first semester of college…but I’ll blame that on youthful innocence). And it isn’t that I’m bragging. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m pretty stubborn in a I’m not going to give up way, and that’s how I approach my job too. I go above and beyond what is necessary and, in many instances, have put in more than I’ve gotten out of it. But since this isn’t a job interview, I’ll move on.
I officially went back to work two weeks after loss #4. Not because I wanted to, but because I had to. I was there in body, but definitely not in mind. And I was lucky, because I work with a team who really cares and are supportive. They knew exactly what had happened. They needed to, as they were there for Loss #3, and I needed them to know how very different this one was. They afforded me the space I needed, while still checking in and making sure I was not drowning in my own tears. Those days, I’m pretty sure I resembled and acted like a zombie, and that in spite of my best efforts, I probably wasn’t making much sense. My boss filled in the chairman of our board (who sent a very nice note), but didn’t go further up the HR chain, saving me the questions, paperwork and valuable time off. And I appreciated that. Still do.
But when he sent me the paperwork for my review, I panicked. Sure, I knew he understood, or at least had an idea of why my work year was lacking. But what about the people above? How do I get across that I didn’t just give up this year? (Note: Double A is constantly telling me — with much truth — that I’m being too hard on myself. So yes, I’ll admit that I still managed to do an OK job. But I’m not used to OK.) I knew I needed to talk to my boss as my boss, and also my friend to let him know my fears about this. Unfortunately when I did so, I couldn’t keep my emotions in check and got all choked up in trying to explain myself. Hate doing that at work, even if it was to a friend.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that this really isn’t about my success or failure at the office or ego. It’s about my losing my ability to focus. To think straight. To think. Even now, I still feel like my head is in a cloud on most days. Sure, there’s patches of clarity, some of which last for a while and times where I can even complete coherent sentences and have some thoughts. But all in all, I’m still kinda wandering and trying to figure this out. Figure me out. You know in The Breakfast Club, where Anthony Michael Hall’s Brian Johnson is writing the letter to Mr. Vernon. Yeah, that’s me (only without the pen going up my nose).
I’ve never been one to measure myself by my job, and yet at the same time, I always knew that I’ve done a good job. So when that comes into question, along with all of the other questions of “failure” that coincide with multiple losses, I just find myself in new territory. And I’ll tell you what, I’m tired of having to discover new territory. Sure, life is about discovery and exploration, but come on.
So here I sit, looking at this paper that’s supposed to define my year. And I know that not even a moment of my year would fit on this paper. Do you think I could get away with “I think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us…” No, probably not. But maybe, I could go with, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions, yeah, at least I showed up, and sometimes that’s all that matters.
Editor’s Note: After reading this, Double A just told me that he thinks it’s ironic that I’m being so hard on myself, when part of why I’m writing this is to help show others that they shouldn’t be so hard on themselves. I guess sometimes the truth is right in front of you…or next to me in this case.