Sleep had already been hard to come by. As the last week crawled along, I began to miss Ohio more and more and the result was the same melancholy and the same insomnia that had become so familiar since last September. Three hours one night, perhaps an hour and a half the next.. Mountain Dew cans were lining my desk at work and I collapsed on the couch every day at five.
Wednesday night I used my second favorite sleep aid to get some shuteye. After finishing the bottle of Jack, I crashed for seven hours of the best sleep I’d had in 2012. I knew there’d be hell to pay in the morning but I didn’t need to be at the office so I could knock out the day’s work without looking like a functioning member of society. I set no alarm because I’ve realized by now it’s simply not necessary. At 8:57, I groggily pulled myself off the air mattress and stumbled to the living room, sliding the dimmer switch about a third of the way up while my dilated pupils adjusted to what felt like the surface of the sun burning into my retina.
Why did I have an appointment with the big guy? Typically my boss passed along all the messages from above, so I immediately assumed I had been fired for some offhand remark made in a moment of lowered inhibitions. Wait… why is it in three freaking minutes?
Nothing sobers you up like a sudden meeting with your boss’s boss with a nondescript title.
I took a deep breath and dialed. My fears were unfounded but a new type of desperation came over me as I was informed that the man I worked for had just accepted a position with a competitor and, as is policy in this competitive environment, he was required to terminate his relationship with the company immediately. After seven years in services I made the leap into web planning only to have the guy with all the answers pried away in just over three months.
Did I worry because I felt unprepared for the responsibilities of his role on top of mine? Perhaps. I knew there were several projects I had never seen, contracts I didn’t have copies of… and I wasn’t exactly blessed with a lot of bandwidth in my current spot as it was. I felt exposed, like I had been set up or failure.
This wasn’t the biggest problem, however. As I stated above, the insomnia has been getting worse every time I come back to Minnesota, especially after I’ve been away from her for a couple of weeks or we don’t get much of a chance to communicate. With this shift in staffing and responsibilities, how was I going to be back home by spring? How could I justify this move when the one person I’d been proving myself to was no longer with the company to vouch for my trustworthiness and work ethic? Was I doomed to stay in Minnesota, and if so, was there a bridge nearby?
The rest of the day was a blur. That night was a blur. The next morning, I gathered everything and did something I’ve rarely done on a Friday… I went to the office. (Not only that, but I stayed until five.) Upon my arrival, I sat down with my new boss and discussed everything. My mind was put at ease as I learned everyone understood this would be a learning period and we could work together. I spent the rest of that day being as productive as I’ve ever been and began to see this for what it was, career-wise: An opportunity to demonstrate how quickly I learn, adapt, and excel under pressure. This was all going to be very visible and I felt a newfound confidence that I would be knocking it out of the park.
Outside of my career, though, there are still too many questions. It seems a selfish time to suggest a conversation about my residency while we’re all scrambling to make our new situation work; however, I simply cannot continue to provide the level of efficiency, quality and positive contributions on ninety minutes’ rest each night.
I’m concerned about my work/life balance, not because I’m working too much, but because I’m too far removed from my life. I found a temporary cure at the bottom of a bottle of Jagermeister last night, but that’s not an acceptable long-term answer for someone just getting back into decent physical shape nor someone with my predilection for addiction.
I’ve resolved to address the situation Monday. I feel that I have a duty to be as transparent as I can with my new boss and to work together with him and the larger team to do what’s best for our projects. From where I sit, I still believe my best work would be generated from my home office… but it’s not my call.
I made a vow to work my way back where I belong. I’m moving forward and keeping that vow.