serinde: (Delirium)
[personal profile] serinde
I haven't really posted about work since starting the new job a year ago. (Then again, I haven't posted much about anything, so it's not that I've been deliberately exclusionary.) But it is needful to set up some background before getting to the actual meat of this post.

When I walked in the door, the structure of the faculty/staff helpdesk was thus: Me => an Assoc. Director => five full-time technicians => ~10 part-time student helpers. To be brief, the AD had been there a dozen years, starting as in essence "the computer guy", and had achieved his position by floating on the rising waters; his technician skills were passable, his bedside manner excellent (much of the userbase, especially the nervous and fearful ones, thought he hung the moon), and his managerial capacity nonexistent. His previous boss, my predecessor, was a micro-manager, and wanted him to do exactly whatever she said & decided, so he was successful in that regard; but also, she was a librarian of a certain age, and (from all that I can learn) entirely non-technical. As a result, there was a whole bunch of no leadership, and no real organization or vision (and I'm not even getting into the issues that were generated regarding the group's relationship with the back-of-the-house groups), which came mighty clear after the previous boss left; he certainly did his best to grow into what was needful, but in the immortal words of tjls@panix, he didn't even get what "getting it" was. So he was downgraded to a purely-technical position, and then moved on in September.

So here's me doing his job and mine, until we can hire to replace. His job is definitely one I can do; not just the day-to-day, but also going to town on all the brokeassery and getting it back on track. Burning down the insane implementation of our incident management system and making it at least reasonable enough to get on with, yelling at the right people so that my techs can actually reset passwords for all three core account flavors without having to send it to another group with a varying return time, putting basic documentation into the shit-arse wiki we have so that the students have some clue of what they're doing, paying attention to what the techs are doing and starting to rein in the ones who have been blithely ignoring our policies spoken & unspoken...I am barely scratching the surface here, but you get the idea. It's all important, even critical, issues that need fixing, but it's a full-time job just doing that. Let alone my OWN job. But I was managing, somehow, to juggle this, and it would be okay as soon as we hired a new AD, right?

Only the hiring process started not. It wasn't because we didn't have the money, or didn't have a personnel req, or HR being lame: no. It was because I didn't get off my butt and re-write the job description (which was needful, since the last time it had been written was about 2004, and it was wrong then too). I found excuses; oh I found excuses. I'm too busy. There's too much going on. All this other stuff is more important. I can put it off a little more. The real answer: my lizard brain was mapping this as "OMG I need to get this group into at least a rough shape before giving it to someone else, or they will do it wrong." Y HELO THAR, control freak... Of course the right answer is, "if you hire the correct person, that person will be on board with your vision and will not implement something you think is wrong". This penny finally dropped during the winter, and I got the job description done and sent to HR right before the Christmas break, and it was posted in early January, and the resumes started rolling in. But then one has to set aside the time to go through the resumes, and sort them, and decide who to call, and set up interviews (I didn't even know I could hand that part back to HR. I'd never done real hiring before), and try and make time for that even though it was still really busy... Anyways we didn't find anyone who was more than "eh...okay, I guess", and now it's March going on April, and I'm getting really frazzled, both because I've been doing two jobs and I have a growing consciousness of how I'm not doing either of them justice, and because I know that the higher-ups are wondering why this position still isn't filled; and now the end-of-year chaos is coming upon us (not user problems, but everything else: budgets, and spending the last of this year's money, and setting things up for the summer, and vendors dropping new hardware, and sorting out student staff, and etc.) and no one seems to have learned anything and the ball keeps getting dropped and I know I need to be watching and managing the techs more closely and and and and. Plus, outside of work, it was finally (now that I had been living in NY State for two full years) in my power to begin the divorce process in my own right, since [livejournal.com profile] audiovile had not done so, and I did that thing; and as I was slogging through forms on that head, he announced he was moving to Portland (not related) (but my emotional reactions to these two items could be a post in their own right); and I had committed to do a favor for someone which turned out to be far more considerable than I realized, and I was (and still am) having problems getting it done in a reasonable time frame; and there were new elements coming into play with my relationship with August, as I alluded to a few weeks ago, which have turned out well and better than well, but at the time were chewing on my brain in fearful fashion; and I'd been completely failing at controlling my diet or instituting regular exercise; and and and and.

So here I am, stressed, and I know it; and I would come home at night and not feel like doing anything, not cooking or researching or cleaning or sewing (or even mending) anything but flopping on the couch and reading fiction I'd read sixty-eleven times before. And I'm not sleeping well, and that's probably forming a feedback loop. But the catalyst that kicked everything to a new and unfamiliar state was a request from the Overboss for the results of an inventory of staff machines I'd had my people do back in January. Now, the results had been duly presented in a spreadsheet to someone in his office in February, but then she left, and no one had done anything with it, and at this time he needed it prettied up (as I guess she would have otherwise done? I'm not sure) and with recommendations and costs and things. So I needed to do this, and it was stressing me out far more than it really should have, looking at it in retrospect. Much of the reason is because I do not wield Excel at all--I am barely above the chimp-banging-on-rock level, and I know that's a big glaring weakness for someone at my level--but whether or no, I was so wound up about it that I would become paralyzed trying to even think about it. The spreadsheet would be open on my screen and I would stare at it like a deer caught in the headlights, and when I tried to think about it (even without looking at it, just making notes on a scratch pad of what needed doing), I would get a nasty feeling as if electrified worms were crawling around just under my skin. And I'd get a similar sensation, chiefly in my legs, when trying to fall asleep, too--so at first I was chalking it up to lack of exercise catching up with me, until I realized I was sleeping like a log on Friday nights at [livejournal.com profile] sweh's. I started feeling that sensation whenever anyone need anything of me...including myself. I knew things were desperately awry, but I had no idea what to do about it; my usual techniques were useless here. All I could think of was to endure for just a few more days until I got this spreadsheet launched. And this I did, hanging on with bloodied fingernails, on the edge of tears or flight; and the Overboss was absolutely delighted with the result, and roughly the same time I managed to clear up one or two other Demands of Damocles that were hanging overhead; and it did all get better, and the clarity (such as it is) about the situation I have regurgitated here has come after confiding in several good and patient friends, which helped immensely. But it hasn't gone away entirely even yet.

I learned on COÖP (which was only hiking at the time, I may add. I only wish they had river canoeing when I did it!) that my naked will could not make my body do what it could physically not. This year's lesson is that it is not a drop-in replacement for my mental/emotional reserves, either. Moreover, I'm not doing right by my job or myself if I don't recognize this fact and work it into the equation of whether I have the resources to do something I want to commit to.

Also, I have some useful context for those around me who have had anxiety / pressure issues, particularly how the brain can just shut down and solutions or options that are blatantly obvious and simple from the outside are entirely masked from the inside.

Date: 2011-05-06 02:46 am (UTC)
ideological_cuddle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ideological_cuddle
Boo for having to deal with this sort of thing, but yay for figuring stuff out!

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serinde: (Default)
serinde

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