When It Rains, It Pours

Somehow, I have ended up with more responsibilities than [business] days in a week. Perhaps that isn’t a lot to those of you out there with a tremendous amount of productive energy, but I’m not used to feeling like I don’t have any free time.

My most exciting new project is the one with the highest stakes. On this blog, I’ve alluded to my desire to make a career change. I’ve never been very specific about the career in particular, partly because of my own fears that I would never enter the field. Those fears were especially prevalent after I was not offered a position that I had high hopes for (original post about that here). But the person who interviewed me saw my potential and got me in contact with someone who was looking for a freelancer. And now I am working on my first long-form copy editing project! I am excited, but I basically have two jobs now and recent events (detailed below) have left me exhausted. I’m planning to buckle down tonight with a pot of tea and finish my preliminary edits—wish me luck! This is also my first time freelancing, so there is a bit of learning curve involved.

My duties at my full-time position ramped up around the same time I was told about the freelance opportunity. On top of my usual workload, for the past couple of months I have had to conduct a search for a new student assistant to my department, as our current one (J.) won’t be able to maintain a part-time job after the fall. I am actually glad we are looking for someone new. J. has not been consistent in the quality of his work and any sort of feedback that I or my supervisor has given to him seems to fall on deaf ears. I don’t think I’ve ever heard J. apologize for failing to make backups of our database (something that I’ve made clear is one of his responsibilities), even though the database has crashed several times during his tenure here and we have lost data because the backups weren’t up to date.

Unfortunately, we’ve been holding interviews for a month to no avail. We’ve already offered the position to five candidates, and we were turned down by all five for various reasons. My supervisor suspects that budget cuts within the university have created a buyer’s market, where more positions are being delegated to students and so they have more room to be picky about which jobs they accept. This has been a disheartening process, and the longer it takes to find a new hire, the longer I will have to deal with J.’s inconsistencies. My ability to take disciplinary measures is limited, so I am stuck in this bind until someone new (and hopefully better) comes along. I am also responsible for the hiring and training process of the assistants, which means that even if we hire someone today, I will still have another week or two of extra work on my plate.

Before any of the above happened, I had committed myself to making my Halloween costume. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and I wanted to challenge myself this year. The costume I have in mind involves a strapless gown, which will require boning and waist stays to prevent a wardrobe malfunction. I’ve never worked with either of these sewing elements before, but I assumed that I would have the time to devote to a more complex piece. I did not foresee receiving a freelance project or encountering complications in the student assistant hiring process. While a costume is certainly the least important item in my to-do list, I am still determined to stick to this commitment, which may mean a few late nights in my future—after I finish my editing, of course.

In the background of all of the above are my desires to maintain this blog, maintain my wardrobe goals, start writing fiction again, and keep working on my friendships and my relationship with my significant other. I’m trying to remain positive and tell myself that I can handle all of this. Unfortunately, I had a very unpleasant therapy session this week that has left me emotionally exhausted. I’ve seen the same therapist for almost six years now, and while he has had a good track record so far, in our latest session I felt all of that progress had just dissipated. I ended up shutting down, and I left feeling very insecure and misunderstood. For a whole day I thought about just shirking all of my responsibilities. Fortunately, I found my optimism and hope again, and I’m forcing myself back on track. I still have this issue with my therapist though. There’s a part of me just wants to avoid speaking to him for now, but I know the mature thing to do would be to contact him to talk about what happened.

So, suffice it to say that I am feeling very stressed and overwhelmed. For the rest of this month, I’m going to keep telling myself that I can do this, and that everything will be okay. I think it all will be. I just have to keep pushing through.

— S. (a.k.a. AMisplacedPen)


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