Thursday, October 20, 2011

Trying To Keep Perspective, But Mostly Failing

I have never before been so stressed about work stuff that I just couldn't stop myself from thinking about it all the time, while at work and at home in those moments where my mind is not occupied by something immediate.  When I'm driving, when I'm taking a shower, when I'm doing the dishes, despite my best efforts to calm down and stop thinking about it I find my mind turns to work issues.

I have never wanted to write about work stuff on my blog, and I still don't but there seriously isn't anything much else in my head these days.  And I'm so busy, and so tired.

I work in a call center operations department, overseeing two call centers in two cities, totaling over a hundred agents and dozens and dozens of different types of calls coming in on different lines.  We use two main programs for this, one to watch/control the calls and one to watch and track the agents.  Both are changing, this weekend.

The new program to watch the agents is one that we have received a fair amount of training on, and a manual.  The training was all done in a hypothetical context, because none of the actual information that we will be using was loaded into the program.  Still, it was helpful.

To learn about the new program to watch the calls we were included, along with a dozen other supervisors and managers, in a web conference projected onto a screen in our training room.  The actual stuff that we will do, watching and controlling calls, was but a very small amount of time, and very hard to see on the screen.  And that's it, no training manual.

To say that we are panicking is putting it mildly.  My department is small, only 9 people, and we are all walking around like we are in a nightmare.  (One co-worker is actually having nightmares.)  One other co-worker looks weepy and confused, one keeps snapping at me and then apologizing. 

Our boss is a wonderful person who we all care about a lot, and she is having a very sad family emergency and has been out of the office most of this week.  Our sadness for her is not helping, and neither is the fact that she's not there.

Pretty much every other department is the same as ours, panicked and overworked and understaffed (two supervisors have left and not been replaced, two people on the technical team overseeing these changes have quit).

Like a cloud of doom hanging over our heads is the fact that our office location will soon be reconfigured to be 50% smaller.  We have no idea how this will happen or when it will begin, but the office manager keeps bringing people into our area muttering about knocking down walls and putting in doors.  When asked they tell us that an official statement will be coming at some point, they don't know when, but soon, within a month.  Until then we feel somewhat homeless, having been asked to clear out anything not vital from our cubicles.  None of us has even started with that yet, and unused bins sit stacked in the corner, a reminder that something is coming, but who knows what, or when.

We found out yesterday that a giant amount of information that was supposed to be uploaded into one of the new programs hasn't been, and won't be -- the company didn't pay for that upgrade.  I have no idea how that wasn't made clear to us earlier, but it means we will have to do it all manually, before Sunday.  It's extremely tedious and will take a really, really long time.

When I visited Mom last month, we went through some very old photos, and I found this one.  Mom laughed but was slightly appalled when she saw it, I don't think she quite approves of Dad having taken a photo of her so (in her mind) unattractive.  It must have been taken sometime in the late 1930's.

I love it, and I am sharing it, because it really makes me smile.

Written in her handwriting in pencil on the back is this.  It says, "Made just after I got up to the top of Stone Mt! Some climb --"

And here is the front.  I love this, and I feel a lot like this lately, especially when I am finally walking out of the building, across the parking lot to my car to go HOME.  Too bad I don't have a cute hat like that.


  1. ahhh, ellen! i came online to see what i could write, because i was in a fit of anxiety and often the only thing that relieves it is writing it out, and then I saw your title for this post, and my spirit rose to meet it, truly, because as much as i don't want you to be anxious or miserable, misery truly does love company, but only because when I see what I am feeling reflected here, I feel not quite so alone, i feel as if we can link arms across virtual space and know that we can shore each other up. i feel understood when i read this post, because this is just how i am feeling, not in the particulars of course, but in the general themes, the overwork, the understaffing, the confusion and opacity about what's coming, the sadness on the perhiphery, and yet, here we are, still standing. just like your mom in that wonderful, wonderful photograph, on top of the mountain, breathless, but she prevailed. We will too. Hang in there friend. I cannot tell you the gift you have given me today just by allowing me to feel that someone out there knows what I am feeling, i am not alone. I wish i could give that back to you, the sense that you are not alone, and you will come through to the other side, you will get through this. A step at a time as you work out the kinks of all the new systems. And breathe, friend. I'm pulling for you from here. With love and sisterhood, Angella

  2. ps do you think your mom would like an ipad. i got one for my mom and you should see her play!

  3. I do feel understood and no longer alone, Angella, and I can't thank you enough for giving me back what you got from my post. I feel your love and your sisterhood, and even though (like you said) I am sorry you can relate to this kind of horribleness, I'm strengthened by your friendship and your virtual arms linking with mine. :)

    I know you have been going through work stress for a long time now, and I can only imagine the toll it has taken on you. Hopefully things will get better for both of us, soon. Although it can't be soon enough.

    Until then, we will breathe, together.

    About your mom and the iPad, I am so glad she likes it. My mom is fairly technophobic, and I'm just not sure how open she'd be to it. She would love looking at photos on it, and possibly playing a game or two. Plus they are pretty expensive. I will give it some thought...

  4. I have a similar situation at work, a lot of unknowns and challenges ahead...and it's all I can think about, even after I get home.

    We're getting stronger though! Right? With every uncertain situation that we get through, with every problem we solve...all the's making us tough tough tough...there are weak and worrisome times, but these tough times are making us tough.

  5. Hi breeeze! It sucks when you can't stop thinking about it when you're not even at work, sorry to hear you are in that place as well.

    I know that every challenge teaches me a lesson, and every bit of suffering makes me stronger, but at the same time I don't know that I want to be tough, exactly. I feel like I might be on the edge of getting bitter and angry, and I don't want that to happen, either, you know?


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