Monday, October 04, 2004

We're off to see the Wizard

Monday night. OK, not so much the Wizard, but I do get to meet Yvonne this week while visiting our nation's capitol. It's funny how completely focused and business-like I become just before a trip for work. This became very clear to me last week when my mother, who is accompanying me on the trip, called me, very excited, to talk about the trip and I just sort of moaned and groaned about it. Here she is, excited because she's going somewhere cool and neat and wonderful and I'm being a grump and very nearly ruining it for her. I did explain that I had a lot to clear off of my plate before I could leave and that, for me, work came first and I had to think of it is work otherwise I'd lose focus and not be effective. She understood, for which I'm eternally grateful, and I'm working on mustering more enthusiasm.

I also got a little cold water to the face today in the form of a one on one meeting with my boss. She had gathered feedback from my immediate past team (up until May) and my current team and much of it wasn't pretty. I'm in too many meetings (true). I don't always follow through on things I say I'll do (too true, especially because I overpromise). I am not good enough at confronting personnel issues (this is both true - I'm not - but also partly because no one knows when I do deal with them because I don't do "public hangings"). I don't share enough information (this one was news to me, and I'll definitely work on it). The worst one? I'm a very negative person and always look on the dark side. (Ouch.) I think those are the "highlights". When my boss talked to me about it and asked what I had to say, I was trying, valiantly, to explain that I'm trying and that I've been really overwhelmed with all of the projects and the troubled employee (gone to greener pastures, thank Heaven) and the employee on disability and the outside projects when I committed the ultimate sin. I just couldn't get the words out because tears started blocking my eyes and my throat and all that I could do was stare into space and try to will it away. It didn't work. Through my tears, I told her how I was feeling, apologized for crying, and said that I really wanted to be doing a good job and I didn't really hate any of my projects, but that the level of stress and the pervasive sense of doom on one of my key project teams (not one that I lead) had just pushed me past my limit. She (who has worked with me as a peer for over 11 years now) said that I needed to ask for help long before I got to that point and gently chastised me for not letting her know what was going on until I got called onto the carpet for it. Fair enough. However, I am competing with Mr and Ms Perfect Project Managers and they never, never, ever ask for help or are unable to see a project through to completion. Never. I don't want to be the one that can't handle it all, you know? In any case, I told that I would try to be more communicative about my stress level, that I'd start working to hand off more projects and meetings, and that I'd really start focusing my energy where I add the most value: with my team. Hey, now there's a concept, Denise!

Why is it that you never appreciate how good you have it as a child until you grow up and develop an ulcer?

No comments: