Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Coast Ends Back There

I've been tired lately. Nothing new since I have a less-than-perfect immune system thang goin' on, but let's call it some serious mental fatigue. These past nine months at the new job have been the most challenging, humiliating, empowering, frustrating, rewarding, and refreshing moments of my life. A lot of people make statements like that - in the same dramatic, cliche fashion - but I really mean it.

Transitioning from a large office of mostly fat cats where everyone worked for a fraction of the day to a teeny tiny, all-female office where workflow blazes at lightening speeds and we are vastly outnumbered by clients and publications has been a difficult one. When you're surrounded by lazy people, it's easy to look like a hard worker and I prided myself on being one, but it wasn't long after I started the new job that I realized what a glutton I had been with my work time. Personal time suddenly became non-existant. No more extended lunch breaks (or any lunch break for that matter), no more chatting and gossiping and texting for as long as I pleased. No more scooting out early or taking half days whenever its suited me. These days I can maintain a few sporadic conversations on g-chat, but that's about it. And I'm not complaining, this is how it should be.

This job has humbled me in ways I didn't know I needed to be. I'm the tall, awkarwd, self-depricating one already, so is it really necessary to bring me down a few notches? But I've learned it was - and is - because that's what it takes to truly improve. Over the last few years I coasted through the days and told myself I was 'living the dream,' working my way up the ladder, and I couldn't have been more wrong. That's the thing about that word 'coasting' - it implies continuning on the same path you're on, no increase in speed, no vertical movement - steady on. Coasting is no way to grow.

My first few months were filled with days that ended in tears of frustration and confusion. Of truly feeling I can't do this. Of having questions and having no where and no one to turn to for answers. Figure it out, they'd tell me. To me, figure it out meant Take these instructions, follow them, and then check your work. But there were no instructions this time, just figure it out - somehow. It's not that my coworkers or bosses are some fembots (I love that word) who refused to help or kept me locked in a dark, dingy chamber with nothing but a Diet Coke and a typewriter - yes, there were times I felt very alone - but I believe they saw my spirit needed a little breaking. I needed to be told - No, wrong. Try again. I see now that I had developed some fat cat tendencies, and they worked on me to develop more swift, Greyhound-like tendencies. Each time I was wrong, each time I felt lost, I returned to square one and began piecing things back together, slowly at first and more quickly with time. I still get overwhlemed, but I can feel how I've grown in ways, how I've developed the tools to take a step back and figure things out. I'm still a puppy, I still have a lot to learn, but it's comforting to hear my bosses note how I've improved and made real strides. I can't believe the sense of value this new experience has fostered within me.

I consider myself a lucky one to have discovered what I wanted to do early on in college, in life. Freshman year brought the realization that writing was my true outlet and passion, and my sophmore and junior years revealed that I would combine that love of words with a critical eye for editing and make a career out of it. I graduated college with little more than the belief I was going to be an editor. I was going to make it. It has been slow-going for a while - moving at 'coasting' speeds - but it seems 2012 brought me the momentum I finally needed to kick this thing into high gear.

'This thing' being my old bag o' bones, but mostly this job I love that has become such an important part of me. This other love of mine. My love of the swift, red pen coursing across a manuscript; the feel of pages between my fingers that my own hands molded and stretched and combed; the rush of an idea sparking somewhere in the dark depths of a mind; the moment everything clicks and begins coming together - both people and publications do that, I've learned.

So maybe this fatigue is finally the good kind - the kind earned after a long day spent on a job well-done. I won't expect it to stop. After all, 2013 is shaping up to be the year of HAUL ASS.


1 comment:

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

The rush of the idea sparking somewhere in my mind, that I need to snap up and turn around in my mind and refine on paper...that is one of the things I love most in life.