Hello all! I know it’s been a while since I’ve written anything. As you can probably tell by my last post, life was pretty hectic for a while. There was family illness, work chaos, and school pressure. It took all of my energy to get out of bed and run from one responsibility to the next. I had no time or energy left over self-reflection (my mind/body were in survival mode). Things have calmed down for now (knock on wood) so I’m hoping posting can be a regular thing again.
As I mentioned, there was little time for me to think about myself or life over the past several months. In a way, there is something I find comfortable and familiar in being over-booked and stressed. I don’t always like it but I’ve felt like that so many times in my life that it is almost reassuring – I know how to be in survival mode. My path forward is always clear when life is like that. I just need to do whatever is necessary to make it to the next minute. I don’t have to think as much, it is almost like I turn part of that anxious brain off for a brief time. I know how to function as a stressed out individual. I’m not saying I like it. Nobody enjoys not sleeping, lack of exercise, and binge eating. It makes my body feel gross and then I stress more at the fact that I’m not taking care of myself.
BUT, honestly, sometimes not feeling overwhelmed and at the end of my rope is worse. I don’t know what to do when I’m not pulled in 50 different directions. If I’m not thinking about others then I have to pay attention to myself. It’s uncomfortable and unnerving to do that. I have to think about things that are going on in my mind and my body. I have to think about why I feel angry at people in my life that I care about. I have to think about why I don’t feel fulfilled or satisfied with some aspects of my life. I have to deal with an underlying desire for more in life, even though can’t identify what “more” I want. I have to face feelings that I am trapped in some ways. Trapped in a life of repetition, in a cycle of work -> home -> cook dinner -> watch TV -> sleep -> work again without end. It feels like I’m being smothered by monotony. There is no escape from this cycle because that’s just how life is – it’s how we survive.
I could go on and on, getting darker and darker in my thought process, but I’ll stop there. This is why I stay busy, this is why I take on too much, and this is why I over-extend myself. Because it’s easier to walk around thinking about how much I have to do than to thinking about some intangible thing (“more”) that I can neither define nor achieve. I’m aware that this desire for something is part of my anxiety – the opposite part side of being anxious about juggling a bunch of different responsibilities. I’m less familiar with this side of my anxiety – it’s particularly disconcerting. I’m looking forward to when an onslaught of responsibilities and problems return – at least I know what to do with all of that!
Last, but not least, check out the pictures of the pups at the top! They are rarely still enough for me to take a picture of all 3 but I lucked out the other morning. Just wanted to end this on a positive note!
One of the most awkward parts of my job is when it becomes necessary to hire a new employee for one of my programs. Combing through resumes, contacting applicants to see if they meant to apply for the job or are interested in it (I get a lot of people who don’t read the job description), and managing to get them to show up for an interview is challenging and often annoying. That is not the worst part. The worst part is the interview process – so uncomfortable for me (no doubt also uncomfortable for the poor soul that I’m interviewing).
Let’s all agree that interviews are awkward for all involved. Both sides are sizing up the other to try to figure out if they will be able to work together. I’m looking for red flags to indicate this person won’t be a good fit at the agency while they’re scrutinizing me to figure out if I’m going to be somebody they wouldn’t be miserable working for. It’s an odd dynamic. While I’m evaluating them I’m simultaneously trying to sell them on our agency and why they want to work for us. That’s a problem because I’m not a good salesperson. I tried to sell those Cutco knives one summer in my teens and it was a disaster! My parents and sisters were the only ones who bought anything, mostly out of pity.
So here’s what typically happens when I interview someone. First, setting up the interview can be really challenging for me. Picking up the phone to call someone who sent me a resume creates a lot of anxiety for me. It’s one of those things that I try to do right before lunch or at the end of the day so that I can leave work soon after – that way if I feel embarrassed about my phone performance I don’t have to sit in the office and analyze the conversation for several hours. If I’m lucky then the person will be tech savvy and I can set something up over email – I love those! However, some of our positions tend to attract applicants who don’t have a lot of experience with computers so I can’t always rely on email for communication.
The day of the interview I’m often anxious when I wake up. I try to look a little nicer than usual (actually wear makeup, not wear jeans, etc.) to give myself a confidence boost. Sometimes I wear red because I once heard it was a “power color.” Whatever that means? I figure it can’t hurt the situation.
I’m so anxious while interviewing a potential employee. My throat gets dry and I drink so much water that the poor person I’m interviewing likely thinks I have a medical condition. My words get stuck in my throat and sometimes my voice cracks or does weird level/pitch changes against my will. I tend to get hot and sweat a little. The more anxious I get the more my sentences start to go in circles or just trail off because I don’t know what to say next. I repeat myself A LOT. I know, what a lovely visual – red faced, sweating, unable to get words out of my mouth (don’t forget my essential tremor so my hands are shaking), and gulping down multiple bottles of water. Wouldn’t you want to work for me?!
I will say that my interviewing skills are better than they used to be (yes, if you can imagine, my interviews were once MORE awkward). Lots of practice has resulted in a slight lessening of the anxiety and more comfort with some of the questions I have to ask (i.e. Can you pass a background check? What about 3? Can you pass a drug screen? How is your driving record?) I’m hopeful that in the future, with much more practice, my anxiety level during interviews will continue to decrease. My goal is to, one day, interview a potential employee without sweating or stammering. It’s a lofty goal, but I think I can do it.
The death of Zeke: A guest post.
via In memory of Zeke — Learning from Dogs
Hey everyone! Check out my first guest post over on Learning from Dogs. I write about the experience of losing our Rottweiler, Zeke, last year as well as the grief and healing that has occurred since. It’s not as sad as it sounds!
Though we could never replace Zeke (and would never try), we did get this bundle of cuteness in January so that we would be a 3 dog household again:
His name is Pierce, after the street my husband lived on when we first met. I’m sure I’ll mention Pierce and my other fuzzy creatures again at some point! Until then, you can learn more about them over on Learning from Dogs.
I promise I’ll have more content soon! This is the last week of the semester so it’s crunch time but after Friday at 5 pm I’ll be FREE for the summer (kinda….not really….it’s complicated)!