Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The difference between happiness and unhappiness: a change in perspective

I have spent the last couple of weeks feeling overwhelmed about work. This was exacerbated by my not feeling well. I didn't have the energy reserves to cope. And so I fantasized about not working and I wrote in my blog that I was unhappy at work. Which was true for me at the time, but is not true a couple of days later. So did anything external change since I wrote my last post? Nope. I still have the same amount of work. Except that I feel better physically and have more energy. And because I have more energy I have shifted from feeling like a victim to taking responsibility.

Today was the day that would have sent me over the edge, if I had continued on my old path of victimhood. I woke up at 6 am to go to the office in San Jose for a couple of meetings. One of the meetings was with my boss, and I thought it was important that we be face to face. At 8:30 am I was stuck in traffic still in Marin, wondering if I was going to be late. I received a phone call from my boss. The child of one of my coworkers was sick, and she wasn't going to make it in. Since she wasn't going to make it in, my boss decided to stay home as well, because her 17 year old dog was sick. "Lame excuse," she said. Not lame at all, I thought. Of all the stuff that my boss is dealing with, her dog's illness is probably the only thing that isn't lame. The political stuff at work is lame. And even my issues are lame. At least the drama part of them.

Well, I was happy to turn around and come home. There was a lot of work to be done and I could put my time to better use than driving five hours. I looked at all the meetings I had on my calendar, and all the deadlines I had agreed to, and I figured that I would just work over the long four-day weekend and get everything done. Then something awful happened. I spilled some water on my computer and my keys got stuck. I couldn't type with any spaces. Shit! I wasn't going to be able to work the rest of the day, and I was going to spend tomorrow driving to Cisco. That was the straw that woke the camel up. I thought, there is no way I can do everything that I promised. I need to ask people to move meetings back. I won't be able to produce some reports until a few weeks later. And a strange thing happened. I calmed down. And when I calmed down, I became much more effective.

I called Tech Support and they told me that the water probably created globby dust that was causing the keys to stick. They would open my computer up, take a Qtip and some alcohol, and clean it. Well, I figured I could give it a try myself and see if I could save myself the long drive. I took a toothpick and some alcohol and started cleaning the keys. Lots of cat hair came out. (Thank you, Max and Bradley!) And then my computer was working again! So no trip to San Jose tomorrow. Whew! What a relief!

But I could still change my meetings and deadlines, and get some space in my calendar and in my life. I emailed my colleagues--most of whom are very reasonable people--and next thing I knew several time consuming projects were moved over a couple of weeks and my calendar was cleared of meetings for tomorrow, so that I can focus on an analysis that is due. I will not be working this weekend, except for Monday which is a holiday. I feel that I can breathe again. I have regained my perspective.

I still need to discuss my workload with my boss, and I'm thinking some things need to come off my plate. But there is no drama attached to this now. There is an opening that wasn't there before, and a knowing that we'll work it out. No one out there was asking me to do the impossible. I was doing that to myself. But I knew that; we are in a prison of our own making. I just forgot...


Anonymous said...

Way to choose! So glad you're feeling better...


Anonymous said...

Dear Despina happy 2009 to you. I like to share my understanding of happiness and success with you and your readers


by grace I found that, what was transmitted by the love of my teachers Gangaji and Eli several times. Nick is the living form of it. Excuses stop definitetly facing his disability. I am humbled and accepting my unseen disability. No excuses.

Em said...

Thanks for the example--love it! Blessed be!

Anonymous said...

a suggestion: remind yourself before going to sleep that the door to the prison is not locked and the key is in your own heart. POOH