Friday, February 6, 2009

duplicating myself

The strangest thing has happened at work. There's another me. Well, not really me, she's a completely different person. More hopeful, less frustrated, and certainly less tainted by the chaos that is my job. Lucky her, she only has to take on 25% of it. So she's only 25% of me.

Last year was a battle. I was stressed out to breaking point, and then got married (but it was awesome and worth it, like going down in blazing glory). I got shingles on the way back from our honeymoon. Why? Because my subconscious recognized that I was returning to the domain of excessive stress. Shingles sucked (it's like revenge of chickenpox), but then I got progressively worse and worse. Mentally, I mean, which has a huge effect on your physical well-being. I was descending into depression and illness; it was a dark place.

My husband is incredibly supportive, though, and after some consideration and prayer we decided it wouldn't be the best thing for me to leave my job just yet, but I should work less so that I wasn't falling apart every day and/or unable to work. The chaos of the new school year in September brought more stress, so I bargained with my boss. He listened, and supported me (people often say they don't know what he'd do without me...and I know he'd be so lost and sad; I don't really want to leave). I reduced my hours from 40 to 30, and rather than spreading it evenly over 5 weekdays, I decided the best thing for me would be to commute less overall and to have one full day off in the middle of the week (I jokingly tell my boss that I can only handle 2 days of him before I need a vacation).

The cool thing about volunteering to reduce my hours was an idea I had to give the other 10 hours per week to someone else, and have them focus on 25% of my job, so that I wouldn't be so stretched over so many projects. This is where Beyth comes in (you remember, the other me, who's actually someone else). She's the new journal coordinator, so she gets to focus on production and coordination of the seminary's biannual academic journal. This was supposed to take 25% of my time, but always got neglected and wasn't very well-organized. The idea is that giving it all to a single person with a dedicated amount of time will give the journal the care it needs and help it flourish. I'm sad to say goodbye to the editorial team, but it's really for the best.

So Beyth. She's very organized, very professional, has high standards, dresses way better than me, has similar musical taste, and likes to laugh a LOT. Good so far! We've completed 1 week of training, which has been enough time to give her an overview of her new job and start some pressing tasks.

Oh, and speaking of pressing tasks, I get the new dean of the seminary is testing me. Each time he asks me to do something, it gets progressively more difficult and further outside my training and skills. And it's always urgent. The first time he asked for a report of our financial data, which I had to track down (turns out my predecessor didn't keep that data to hand). Then I had to calculate potential budget savings from hypothetical initiatives, all of which are impossible (it's like squeezing a lemon that's already bee squeezed...and left out on the counter to dry...for a month.)

Then he asked me to come up with a new pricing system for the journal. I dragged Beyth into it with me, and we thought we came up with a pretty good plan. At the end of the meeting, he said he needed more information: our production costs laid out against some different revenue scenarios. We put our heads together again and managed to figure out how to forecast various hypothetical pricing rates with hypothetical growth and renewal rates for the next few years. We think he'll be impressed. But if he's not, I might just remind him that I have a BArch, not and MBA and if he wants an accountant, he'll have to pay me much more than I get paid right now. Sheesh.

So training is going well, and we're off to a good start. Getting all of my other work done is more hectic, though, and more draining. Once again, I'm spreading myself pretty thin, and juggling too much for too long isn't my thing anymore. Every night I've come home exhausted, numb, feeling queasy, but then I haven't slept well all week. And I haven't been motivated to go to the gym, cook delicious foods, or even knit. I just want to be unconscious or lost in a book. On the plus side, I've been getting a lot of business planning done for Bumblebirch Designs. I got some supplies in so I can get more stitch markers listed soon. Keep your eyes peeled.


  1. If only we really COULD duplicate ourselves! My house would be clean, I'd be knitting or crocheting constantly, and the ideal "supermom" housewife! Alas, I can't, and feel like I'm stretched too thin as well, but nothing like what you've got going on! LOL I hope you take a break and get some good rest soon! And congratulations on the marriage!

  2. I hope things get a litle easier for you. It's no fun being stressed all the time and not have the time or energy for things you enjoy. Less work more knitting!