One of my cousins died yesterday morning. 34 cousins on that side of the family. We weren’t close. He never came to family reunions; hadn’t seen him in years, maybe not even at our grandmother’s funeral.
He was in his late 50’s. He’s the first to die of ‘our’ generation, except for the two babies. My little brother Michael died of a heart defect, and my cousin J.R., who taught me to talk, had cancer.
When someone dies, it’s a wake-up call. This time is no different.
It’s an extremely busy time at work for me. I’m already working overtime just to make the arrangements for the upcoming board meetings, plus my usual daily stuff, follow-ups from the last (other) board meeting, and an extra committee meeting thrown in the mix.
I’m very good at what I do and have been at it long enough that I no longer have the anxiety that characterized the early years in this job. I trust myself and my abilities, I have cultivated the right connections, and I am careful never to ask too much. My colleagues understand that when I ask, it is not a frivolous request–it is a true need.
I spent several days last week and part of the weekend playing tug-of-war to get two world-class minds to reach an agreement and send one, single e-mail. During that time, I was on the receiving end of the wrath of one, as he failed to express his thoughts and expectations clearly and I scrambled, rather unsuccessfully, to satisfy him and convey them to the other. The e-mail in question was finally sent around 10:00 pm on Sunday evening before Monday’s meeting.
The issue amounts to a power struggle and the misunderstanding of a newcomer and the mastery of someone who has long since assimilated the distinctions and precedents, starting maybe around the time I was born. Both their salaries are at least four times more than mine. But I was the one who took the heat and am carrying the aftereffects.
I told my boss yesterday morning that it’s no longer worth it.
Housing in the area is targeted for the wealthy; even if I were willing to go all out and borrow what the bankers offered, mine would still be substandard, based on the single, paper-pusher’s income that I am paid. Instead, I chose to spend less and still be able to join friends for drinks and dinner, be able to shop when I feel like it, or go do something if the mood strikes.
I’ve been passed over for several positions that would have amounted to a promotion, either pay increase, more vacation days, or both, and have heard that someone else is being considered for a position I’ve been recommended for. I will apply and do my best, but getting the position would be a pleasant surprise. I don’t expect it to happen.
My son has started classes this semester, which are free. He has yet to receive the letter saying that he’s fully admitted. A three-legged race after a SNAFU at his school and not finding out until applications were no longer being read kept him from going full time this semester. We’ll know for sure in December.
And the dating pool here would be better characterized as un-dateable. There is no one who would be capable of joining me to meet former first ladies and world dignitaries without substantial grooming, and those who could aren’t good choices politically speaking. Not that I’m a snob, but that I can’t risk bringing an adversarial or indiscreet personality to the table.
I sacrifice a lot in order to do the kind of work I do and feel like I am making a difference in the world. When people ask me about it, you’d never be able to tell, but all the untold bits and pieces add up to a lot of good work, crises averted, and behind-the-scenes influence on people and situations…and history. I keep us from going off the tracks.
When work goes to hell, however, all of those other factors come into play. If I am taking the heat and can’t do what needs to be done because of a pissing contest where one competitor isn’t even paying attention, my unmet needs are suddenly speaking loudly.
- I want a nicer home, and the odds of getting that in this market on my salary are slim.
- I want to make more money so I can do some things I’ve been putting on hold, but someone else always gets the job.
- I want to find my life partner, someone whom I love and who will be present and be loyal and love me every day, not just on the weekends, but I can hardly seem to find a date who will show up and is relatively compatible.
- My son gets a free education – maybe.
- And my work is gratifying and goes along smoothly–except for these last few days.
The demands at work are heading toward more hoops to jump through with less time for jumping. I don’t have any idea how we’re going to get the newest one implemented.
I told my Friend yesterday that it was a F&*( This moment, but I was wrong. A month or two ago, I told him I wasn’t sure how much more I could take, but it’s getting closer.
My cousin died yesterday. He wasn’t that much older than me, and here I am wasting my time and my life on people who are so busy going about their lives and have so little consideration for me that my wants and needs are falling through the cracks.
I am ready to walk away. I think I’ve had enough.