Monday, May 26, 2008

Working Girl

Last week was my 26th birthday. For me, it wasn't anything special. Just another day. I wasn't into celebrating my birthday at all this year. Last year I had a group of friends over for a BBQ because all I wanted was to hang out with the coolest people I know. It was a fun night -- more about being with my friends than focusing on my actual birthday. I love hosting parties and showing my friends a good time, so seeing them have fun was a great birthday present.

But this year was different. For some reason, I would've rather been alone. I didn't want any attention or fuss over the fact that I was turning 26. Really? Who cares about 26? My husband and friends tried to get me excited about celebrating, but I wasn't going to have it. When I stop to think about why I was so anti-celebration, I keep coming back to my new job. I've been consumed with it -- worrying about my busy days, worrying that I won't succeed, dreaming about work issues, putting pressure on myself, and worrying some more. I'm driving myself crazy, but I don't know any other way to act. It seems like trying to relax and let go only makes things worse. And trying to celebrate while feeling so much pressure just really put me in a bad mood. I wanted to scream "CAN'T YOU SEE!? MY LIFE IS ALL ABOUT THIS NEW JOB NOW! I DON'T HAVE TIME TO FOCUS ON ANYTHING ELSE!!!" I've been trying to adjust to working 10 hours a day. My schedule used to be so strict: Work 8 hours, Gym class at 5 p.m., cook dinner at 7, bed at 10:00. As boring as it was, I LIKE THAT!!! I like routine, and I'm going to miss it. But it's so much more than that...

One of the reasons I'm really stressed about this new job is the fact that I am not allowed to leave at 5:00 to go to gym class. I know it sounds crazy, but I'm afraid that this new job is going to make me fat again. Everyone else at the company is ok with not going to the gym, but it's different for me. I worked really hard to lose 50 pounds. I need the class; I need the structured environment to succeed. Having the instructor is really what led to my success. Once my laptop and Blackjack arrive, I'm afriad I won't be able to tell the different between work and home. Structure will be gone. I used to be able to leave my work at the door, which allowed me to come home and focus on the house and my husband and myself. I spend a lot of time organizing our lives, but it's becoming more difficult for me to do since I'm so worried about work now.

This is the first time in a very long time that I've had to struggle to find balance in my life. If I wanted to, I could easily work 12 hour days because there's so much to do. I want to succeed. All I want is to do a good job, and I feel like the way to achieve this is to neglect my personal life and focus on work 100%. Isn't that how rich people do it? I feel that the leadership in my company really does want me to work 12 hour days. "Anything to get the job done!" they would say. "Sacrifice. We're your top priority." That is how I percieve the culture now. Before when I was a measly hourly employee, they didn't care about me. I'm thrilled to be moving up. I have it in me to be more and do more. But I was told twice (once in the interview and once during the face-to-face offer) "We own you now." It's one of those statements that echoes in your head for a long time..."We own you now." It's a simple comment, but it carries very powerful undertones. No one in 26 years has ever said that to me before. I don't know if I like it.

Do you have to be ok with someone owning you in order to succeed?


Adrienne said...

Stacey, it's only been a couple weeks. Give it time. I'm sure once you get more comfortable with the job, you'll have to spend less time doing certain tasks. Just do your best, but don't forget that you need to have a personal life, too.

Also, Happy Birthday!

Dad said...

Hey daughter... Sometimes it is difficult to handle change. Right now, you are probably treading water, but soon you will be breazing through the pool! You are now a big part of the corporate "team". That's what they mean about "owning" you. It's no different than a professional athlete. The team "owns" them. Your performance and positive attitude will only increase your chances for more responsibility and promotions in the future. That is when the team can't win without you in the game. You do need to find that balance with home vs. work. I am sure you will when the dust settles. I love you very much and I am really proud of you! Dad