Thursday, October 12, 2006

Do they make pills for this?

In a former life I was a workaholic. I still have workaholic tendencies, but I try to keep it in check. I am not sure I am all that successful at keeping balance, but I try.

I used to work for a company in Seattle that I loved. I lived it, breathed it and every moment was spent either actively working or thinking about work. I was going to be promoted and eventually be elected Queen of the World - it was all fitting nicely into my Master Plan. I gave them all of my energy and attention - to the detriment of all else - for a year.

Then I was fired.

I got fired because I "couldn't effectively communicate with a co-worker" and to avoid delving into deep, dark territory from wence I managed to crawl once I am going to leave it at that. Let's just say it was really crappy and if I had more energy and less dignity I might have done something about it.

That one day sent my life into a tailspin. I didn't understand how one person could so completely derail not just my career, but my life. I have spent every day since then trying to convince myself that I am not a loser, that I do have talent and that I am not going to walk into my office on some random day and be fired because my shoes squeak. I also moved to another state and built an entirely new life because my old one got blasted to smithereens and staying in Seattle was a psychological impossibility.

Since then I had some really great contract gigs and one great job opportunity come my way. I gained some wonderful experience that led me to my current job. I am now an HR and Recruiting Manager for a small firm that is eerily similar to that "other" job I mentioned.
I love my job. I love the partners of the company. I trust that the company is ethical. The problem is that I suffer from a little ailment I lovingly refer to as "isuckitis." I walk into work every day and wonder if today is the day I am going to be sent packing. I work my tail off. I put in 12 hour days. I work from home at night. I have absolutely no indication that anything is wrong. I regularly get kudos for my work, yet I still have this little voice in the back of my head that says it is all going to come crashing down at any moment.

Is it a subconscious way to make myself work harder? Am I a closet sadomasochist? Do I like self-flagellation? Is it a control thing in some bizarre way? I haven't quite figured it out, but you can bet I will sit around and beat myself up trying.

It all just makes me wonder why some of us kill ourselves chasing perfection. Even as I do it I question my motives. Who am I trying to impress?

Why is it that I think I need to prove something, what am I trying to prove and for that matter who am I trying to prove it to? My son doesn't care what my title is - he just wants me to lay on the floor and do a puzzle with him. My husband doesn't care how big my office is - he just wants me to tell him I love him every night. My friends don't care how many deals I closed last week - they just want me to laugh with them over coffee.

So, I ask for what has to be the 973rd time:

How can I cure this? How do I mute that voice and move on from the "episode" and just do the work happily and with gusto instead of expending an inordinate amount of energy waiting for the proverbial pink slip?


Monday, October 9, 2006

WARNING: Golf is bad for your self-esteem

I never professed to be the world's greatest sporting enthusiast. I like football. I like soccer. I have been known to watch NASCAR from time to time. I am an avid hockey fan. I don't, however, PLAY any of these sports. I instead chose to play golf. Seems innocuous enough. Beautiful course, sunny day, innocent looking little white ball and me with a big, bad club. I can get used to this!

I did not realize when I started playing golf that it would become an odd little obsession that would lead me to enter the world of grumpy old men with cigars and adult temper tantrums.

I haven't actually played an enormous amount of golf. My Dad and I would go to the driving range together and I went out a few times with co-workers and played 9 holes here and there. When I was pregnant there came a time where I could no longer swing the club and that effectively ended my golf career for a while. I haven't played golf in well over a year, but in my infinite wisdom I decided I was just the girl to join the partners of my current firm in a little charity golf scramble last Friday. Full of hope I headed out to the driving range the night before with clubs in hand and a happy tune in my head.

You know where this is going already, don't you?

My friend, Carrie, agreed to go with me and we got all set up and stretched out and ready to send our bucket of happy, little white friends sailing out into the yonder. Carrie's golf balls each had their maiden flights while mine remained steadfastly grounded. I adjusted my swing. I adjusted my stance. I kept my head down, my eye on the ball and my knees bent and still those little, white orbs mocked me.

One bucket later and my happy tune has changed to the funeral march. My heart races and I spend the entire drive home trying to think of some deadly disease that has sudden onset and vague symptoms. Only 12 hours to go and I will walking up to the first tee of the day. Crap.

Friday dawns bright and sunny (crap) and I feel wonderfully healthy (crap). I get dressed in my golf pants, golf shirt, golf shoes, ball cap and off I go. No 10 car pile up on the freeway (crap) and I arrive at the course in plenty of time to sign in (crap) and find the little cart with my name on it (double crap - they have my NAME on it so everyone will know who I am). My team-mates arrive and after the usual annoucements about the charity we are supporting and the rules of the scramble we set out for our tee. We tee'd off at hole 13 (how is that for an omen) and surprisingly I had a great drive. It was about 150 yards, straight down the fairway and I am feeling pretty good.

That was the last good drive I had all day.

I think my next best drive dropped from the sky after about 100 yards and that is being generous. I did have one really great shot where the ball hit the water, skipped three times, bounced up onto the fairway and went about 50 yards. The downside to that stroke of genius was that my team called me Skipper for the rest of the day. I think I may have a hat made with that on it or have it stiched onto a polo shirt.

So...what did I learn during my latest golfing adventure?

1. I learned not to volunteer for charity scrambles unless I am given 18 mulligans right at the start.
2. I learned that the West Nile virus has sudden onset and vague symptoms (won't catch me unprepared again, suckers).
3. I learned that I am a crack shot with a pitching wedge.
4. I learned that there is no such thing as self-esteem in golf.

That little ball looks innocent...oh, does. But don't be fooled. That little sucker is like those Happy Bunny shirts that have the cute little pink bunny on the front and then the message is something really tacky like, "you smell like butt." Well, I smelled like butt on Friday and those stupid balls made sure I knew about it.

I am going to the driving range this week. I am going to defeat those little, white bastards if it is the last thing I do. I may have had the last shred of dignity sucked from my body...I may even have had a couple of tears on the 15th green...but I am not broken - oh, no - not broken. I will prevail!!!