I am really tired of thinking about and talking about my damn strengths and weaknesses as an employee and figuring out balance between work and home and wondering if I’m doing too little or too much or if I’m adding value to the workplace and why I care if I’m adding value or why I assess my own value only in terms of what I am doing in the workplace and all that crap that you think about when you’re me and make it all some big deal.
We recently went through our annual review period at work and I let all that caring too damn much show and now I have people caring about my well-being in the workplace or whatever which is great and I don’t mean to sound cavalier or ungrateful but I’ve been going around and around with all this in my head for about a month now and I don’t want to hear another word about the areas in which I excel and the areas that could use additional attention. The way our organization is set up, I can’t just have this discussion with one person, but rather with four different people, each with their own set of priorities and perspectives and ways of doing things.
What I really want is to find a way to be completely emotionally unattached to work, to do a good job and enjoy the work, but not get so emotionally invested in the every day ups and downs, and then to go home and leave work at work, and have a great life away from work.
But for now, I get frustrated and sometimes I cry, and lose all sense of self-worth when things aren’t going as well as I’d like and it’s a big mess. I’m really tired of thinking about it.
But there’s one thing I have been thinking about. The overall message I’ve gotten is that I’m super! I mean, not stellar or anything, but pretty good! Keep that up! Just what you’re doing! No, really!
The one thing I can do better is “communicate the obvious”. What the fuck does that mean, right? The way I ordinarily communicate is this: say I’m at a meeting, and during the course of that meeting, we all find out that something has changed for a project, like maybe the scope or the schedule and say it affects me, so I say, during the meeting, OK, so I’ll [insert consequence here, for instance, make those changes/adjust my schedule/etc.]. And then the meeting’s over and I do it.
Only with this communicate the obvious thing, what I should do is exactly what I do, but then, at the end of the meeting, provide a little recap, along the lines of “to sum up, here’s what I said I would do, and as you recall from the discussion we all had ten minutes ago, here’s why! And so that’s what I’m going to do, because I said it. Just now. And I’m saying it again.” And then, after the meeting, I should send out an e-mail to everyone at the meeting, saying what I just said.
Note that I’m not the faciliator at the meeting or the project lead or anything. Just keeping everyone informed about what I’m doing!
I’m really, really against this form of communication. But at first, I could not figure out why. Why was I so against extra-informing people? It’s better than under-informing them, right? But it just bothered me so much and I didn’t think I could bring myself to do it.
And then, I realized why. I realized it when someone communicated with me this exact way. And I wanted to smack them over the head and yell, “I am not a complete idiot! I heard you the first time. I was able to follow the conversation we just had. You may find this astounding but I do not need you to recount to me what I agreed to only three minutes ago. Nor do I need e-mail confirmation of same. I am actually bright enough to retain this information and use it properly. Dumbass.”
I do not want to be that person who communicates the obvious because it assumes that those around me can’t pick up on the obvious themselves. And I assume that they can. They’re adults! And are able to hold down full-time jobs! As engineers!
But becoming the annoying person who operates under the assumption that everyone else is unable to follow along without repeated summaries and reminders is apparently my action item for the year. It is my new area of growth: to stop communicating with others as though they were smart enough to understand me the first time.
I’m understandably excited.
So, to sum up, I’ve just written a journal entry in which I rambled on incoherently. I expressed frustration with the suggestion that I change a communication dynamic that’s been working well for me so far. I’ve indicated that I find those who communicate in the manner I’ve been asked to be fucking irritating as hell. And I’ve said that I can’t wait to start. But really that was just an attempt to find something funny in a frustrating situation. AKA: a lie.