Saturday, September 10, 2005

Professional mania

I was trying to find a term to adequately describe how I've felt and operated this past week. The week was filled with very high "highs" and pretty low "lows". I'm a bit apprehensive about using the term "mania" in such a flip way (and I apologize to anyone that's offended by that use of the term), but in a way it does describe my emotional state (as it relates to my job, anyway) this past week. I do feel like I'm oscillating, sometimes rather quickly, between the two states, and it's a bit disorienting (and not at all helpful).

First, the "highs": Profgrrl wrote a post yesterday about feeling like you finally belong, and I have to say that a lot of what she wrote resonates with me. This year, I've definitely felt different. I feel extremely confident. I feel like I know a lot of people, and I'm not afraid to introduce myself to people I don't know, no matter how senior they are. I feel like I have something---a lot of something---to contribute. I feel powerful, like I can really make a difference. At one of the start-of-the-school-year functions, I ran into a good friend/colleague as I was "making the rounds". She asked how I was and I said, jokingly, "I have about 18 agendas I'm working on today!" But in a way, it was true: I actually had a list in my head of people I needed to talk to and of things I needed to talk to them about, all related to different things I'm involved in or trying to get off the ground. I feel like I'm starting to learn how the "game" is played here, who knows what, and how change can be effected. And it's a bit intoxicating---it's a very big high for me. For the first time, on an institutional level, I feel valued.

Unfortunately, the "lows" have come out in force at the same time: I wrote earlier this week about already feeling like I'm drowning, and that's pretty much been a constant. I really wanted to start the year feeling like I was ahead, not constantly trying to catch up. That didn't happen. So I started out behind, and rather than just letting it go, I've really let it panic me....which really doesn't help the situation. My time management has been really poor lately, and the one thing that always makes me feel better---working out---has been the first thing to go. (Although I will probably do a quick workout after finishing this, even though it's late....I just feel like I have to move.) I've not been able to get into any sort of rhythm at all, and I think that's really throwing me off mentally and emotionally. So, all these little things put together have really made me feel crappy and low.

I'm really hoping that this week, things will settle down a bit, so that I can at least get a rhythm and a routine established. I need to make sure that I work out regularly, get some sleep, take some down time, and not try to do everything perfectly. I need to figure out my weekday schedule once and for all. I need to start closing my door more often! But most importantly, I need to take a deep breath, cut myself some slack, and just do the best I can in a sane amount of time. Easier said than done, but I'll try!


What Now? said...

Oh, I so empathize with this post. All last week I was alternating between loving my job and feeling valued and warm and fuzzy with, sometimes just two hours later, crying in despair. I think that the fluctuation has been more exhausting and unsettling than the despair itself. I've gotten some sleep, done some physical activity, and had downtime thus this weekend, and although today will be hectic, I'm hoping that I can take some of this nascent relaxation into the next week. As you say, it's all about finding a rhythm that allows for deep breathing.

Jane said...

You're so right, WN--the breathing, and the down time--is so important, and yet that's the first thing to go! So unhealthy.