Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Crunch time

I'm about to ramble, so you've been warned.  I have missed coming here, and since this is my therapy I was a bit overdue.

My big work event is in a few days, and we're in the major crunch of getting it going.  I have responded in typical fashion, working twelve hour days, coming in on the weekend, having dreams about work....and getting sick.  My lungs crackle, my throat is full of glass, I'm so tired I could cry, but I keep putting in the hours.  Not only am I putting in the hours, it's like I'm on speed, trying to get things done as fast as possible, only slowing down when I'm talking to another human because otherwise they can't keep up.

This is good: I'm getting my work done.  I know that my work is good.  This event is going to be a success in great part because of the work I've put into it.  I'm proud of myself.

This is bad: I'm totally overdoing it, I should be in bed with hot tea, fresh sheets, and Netflix, but instead I'm driving myself to the edge, coming home, and collapsing, leaving Katherine to fend for herself while I call from the sofa, "I'm so sorry, honey, it's just a few more days, thank you for being patient" and she fetches me drinks.  I am not eating - skipping lunches and God-knows-what for dinner - and I'm a wreck. 

My boss's response: to be very sharp with me, to point out every little flaw ("What?  You haven't done that yet?" and when I say, "I am working on X, Y, and Z and I know that I need to work on A, B, and C next but I can't do it all at once, so if you'd like me to drop either X, Y, or Z while I deal with this, I'm okay with that," and then he says "Well, just get it all done, and hurry.  I'm going out to lunch, and then I'm getting a haircut, so I'll be back at 3pm," and then I skip lunch to get it done.)  I actually asked my boss into my office last week, closed the door, and said, "Are you angry with me, or have I done something wrong that I need to work on?" because frankly I think I'm deserving high praise right now for pulling off multiple miracles a day in a professional way, and all he does is point out the problems (which are often minute in nature but make him VERY sharp with me).  He was surprised and said, "No, everything is fine!" and said a couple of nice things, and then two hours later it was business as usual.  My boss is absolutely unsympathetic about me being sick (I actually think he's annoyed) and told me that unless I have Ebola I'd better come in.  (Actual quote.)

My main colleague's response: to be very emotional and to run around basically crying "the sky is falling! the sky is falling!"   When I ask her questions about what she needs to get through, what work needs to be done, how I need to prioritize, she says, "Never mind that we just need to get it done!" and repeats "The sky is falling!"

This is our biggest fundraiser of the year.  So far, we have a record number of people registered to attend.  The meal, decorations, and entertainment are all taken care of.  We have more items up for bid than ever before - the silent is bigger than ever, and we had a hard time choosing what to put in the live, and our system tells us that the total dollar value of these items is higher than ever before.  We have new sponsors, and more money from sponsors than ever before.  At least three new potential sponsors for next year are attending the event, and one of our biggest sponsors - a national company - is sending several VPs because they have a special interest in us (and they've never come to this event before).  I am a brand new development director, and I know I don't know everything, but damn, that sounds pretty damned good to me.  More people, more money....that is EXACTLY the goal, and so what am I missing?!

My boss keeps saying, "We're behind!  We're behind!" and I say "What deadline are we behind on?" and he can't answer and just says "We're behind last year!" and I say, "Well, not according to what I have in the system, why don't you take a look, because we're ahead and we're not even done..." and he says "I don't have time for that we just need to get this done!"

OOOOOOOOooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh it felt good to vent that.  Thank you for listening.

So.  It's crunch time, and all of these personalities are coming out.  I am the enabler, and when others are rude to me or have their own breakdowns, I enable that by picking up the slack and taking it on at my own detriment.

I'm going to have to work on that.

Right now, I just need to survive this event, and I need to do it in style.  I need all of the odds and ends to be completed, and I need to manage the volunteers the day of the event, and then I need to slip away and put on a cocktail dress and look fresh and attractive yet professional, and I need to attend the event and talk to the sponsors and the big donors and act like I'm having a wonderful time and spend money I don't have on items I don't need to support this organization (WHAT?!).

On Sunday, this will be over.  I will either get praise, or I won't.  There will either be a work celebration, or there will be grumbling.  But I'm not going to get sucked in.

I have been busting my rear end, and *I* know I'm doing a good job.

I also believe that I never, ever, ever want to throw an auction ever again, or certainly not in this manner.  It's chaotic and frustrating and filled with other people's emotions, and while I realize that it's hard work, I want it to be more professional in my professional life.  Development Job 2.0 will meet those goals.

But until then, wish me luck, because my crackly lungs and I are off to work to face the mess, and it's another 12 hour day.

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