In which I find a solution to work and get blown away

Thank you everyone for your support and your comments on my work situation, both here and at the forum. After much agonising, I think we finally have a solution.

Kojak and I have negotiated for me to move back into my position – in a part time capacity, with some working from home, and with a reduced workload. I have a number of big projects on the go at the moment, and a team of about 16 people. I’m going to keep about half of those projects (with people), and Kojak will oversee the rest. Thankfully the team is pretty high functioning, so this shouldn’t be an issue.

I think this is a better solution for me than stepping aside as I still get to do “meaningful” work, feel like I have a purpose, and work with my team (I’m finding it much easier to direct things than do them myself at the moment). By “meaningful” I guess I mean I’ll be able to shuffle papers that people are actually interested in from one side of the desk to the other, instead of shuffling papers that NO ONE is interested in. That’s probably not entirely fair, but you know what I mean.

My therapist thinks this is a much better solution than resigning, that’s for sure. Hmmm….

I think it’s ok, although I’m a bit stressed about the workload. I’ve done 3 days a week in the office for the last two weeks and I’ll confess that it’s nearly killed me. I’m so exhausted, highly stressed all day every day, and fluctuate between floating along in a daze and zooming along in a panic. God knows how I used to do the hours that I did BC (Before Craziness). I’m trying to remind myself that I have to take small steps, not wig out about anything too much, etc etc. I’m still quite unsettled and fragile, so it’s a bit of a struggle at the moment.

Kojak and I are going to try this for a few weeks until I have a second round of surgery. Then we’ll review.

On another note one of my senior team members (B1) came to me yesterday to say she wanted me to know that she and one of my other senior team members (B2) support me 110%, in a personal and professional sense. If I want to talk to them about anything at all, they’re there for me on a personal level (and will keep quiet). She said that they want to support me, but aren’t sure how because my walls are so high. I was blown away by her caring.

I’m not really sure what to do. Of course I was touched that she and B2 care. But I was also a little suspicious that they are just fishing for information (realistically I think I’m being paranoid about that).

Part of me thinks I should respond in kind by telling them more about what’s going on for me; but other parts don’t want to go there and don’t think this is appropriate. I’m really not sure what to do… any thoughts gratefully received.

I’ll keep you updated on any major developments on the work front, so stay tuned…


8 thoughts on “In which I find a solution to work and get blown away

  1. Hey Kerro,
    With my professional hat on…I would’nt tell them anything. Its kind of like the T boundaries thing. A little light tidbit, so as not to put them off, but that is about it. From a client standpoint I would want to test the waters and extend a bit, but I would say, I think my logical professional side would have to take precedence since I worked so hard to get where I am.

  2. Thanks Strangename, you captured my thoughts nicely. I agree a “light tidbit” might be appropriate, but what does that look like? My “stuff” is all so murky and bundled I’m not sure where to start/stop.

  3. I wouldn’t tell them much, if anything. I really don’t think it’s good to mix professional and personal stuff any more than necessary. With the best will in the world, sometimes people get bored at work and start to gossip. Then before you know it, everyone knows your personal business, usually in some garbled and completely inaccurate form.

    Maybe thank them for their concern, admit you are having a bad time with personal problems, and say you hope they’ll understand and support you as you are not up to working at full capacity right now. They are probably genuinely concerned for you and want to help, but if you can guide them into helping you in the way you need – with the work – and keep the discussion of personal issues to your therapist and friends. Oh, and maybe buy a couple of boxes of chocs for your team, to show how much you appreciate their support πŸ˜‰

  4. Hey cous, I agree with you about mixing personal and professional. BUT, I’ve already done the “thank you – personal problems” blah blah conversation. This is coming at the next stage, if that makes sense.

    Oh, and my team have told me not to buy them anymore chocolate coz they’re all getting fat!!! LOL πŸ˜‰

  5. Can you get them salad? lol

    I’m so happy for you that you found a workable solution!

    I agree with everyone who has commented here – I wouldn’t tell them anything, either. I would just say “Thank you” and let them know I appreciate their moral support and leave it at that. Only because even when someone has the best of intentions, personal info can eventually be turned around and used against a person, even if it is by someone else who overheard or was told a less-than-accurate version of what was really said (as HF pointed out, about the way gossip manages to twist facts).

    I also can’t help but think that what B1 perceives as “walls” are probably, in this instance, professional boundaries. I kind of think that, in the workplace, people tend to show more respect for those who they know less “personal stuff” about. Not that a person shouldn’t ever mention something from their private life (it’s good to see someone’s human side), but I think that very personal matters can cause trouble, in my opinion.

  6. I think it’s great that you found a workable solution, though it would be even better if you didn’t feel quite so stressed.

    I think you can strike a compromise with your team members — since part of your struggles are health-related, perhaps you can let them support you on that front, and leave the emotional/personal stuff off the table. That might make them feel more “let in” — and wouldn’t violate any of your wise boundaries.

  7. @ David. Thank you. I think that’s a great idea with my team members. My health issues are predominantly gynacological, and my senior team members (B1, B2 and the other one) are all women, so they’ll really feel “let in”. The guys in my team haven’t been nearly as interested. Besides, I’m sure if I mention the “G” word they’ll run away as fast as they can! LOL

    I agree that the emotional/personal stuff is better kept off the table, although the thing I said to a few people early on to let them in without letting them in is that I’m dealing with “some serious stuff” (my therapist’s phrase). It seemed to satisfy some of those with overly active curiosities. But I’ll think carefully on that before I go anywhere near it! πŸ™‚

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