Saturday, March 19, 2016

Meditative Thinking For Non-Meditators

Last weekend I made a decision.  Since I am so stressed at work, anxious about Donald Trump, and have been struggling to treat myself well, I needed to figure shit out.  I had a bad spiral into negativity at work last week and unknowingly was saying nasty things about myself in front of Super Boss. So we had a run in, he got pissed, I apologized, he and I had a talk about the morass of frustrations we're stuck in. I kept asking him why does it matter what I say about myself and he said it creates a hostile workplace. In a phone call with my brother later that night he said, "Good for him [Super Boss].  You know he's right?" Two days later my mother said that same exact thing and I started laughing, "Did all three of you have a talk and decide to get me right with myself?"

My decision last weekend is to choose to focus my attention. I would stop myself from worrying about should haves, could haves, and what ifs.  The way I did this is when I felt the only familiar "Oh God, maybe..." worry brewing in my mind, I would go through a mental checklist - where am I, what am I doing, how do I feel. Somehow it worked! It wasn't easy on the more stressful days this past week but holy smokes I was so much happier!

The timing could not have been better for figuring this out because Super Boss and Baby Analyst had a really shitty couple of days.  Our analyst group got saddled with printing over eight thousand tax forms on a printer that overheats and jams.  On top of this we had to keep each form in an exact order because we had to run them through twice - once for tax data and second time for mailing address.  Super Boss handled printing the first three thousand and I completed the rest Tuesday. It was so nice Tuesday morning Super Boss came into my office and said, "I need help.  Can you help me" looking so tired and stressed and I told him of course I could help and thanked him for asking. Wednesday Baby Analyst found out in a meeting that she is going to be saddled with more administrative work because there is basically no one else who can do the work.  She has been an Analyst II for almost a year and she still is stuck doing her old administrative assistant work.  She was not happy. Her method of not being happy at work is not talking to anyone and looking miserable. Super Boss, her and I had a meeting to review a project we need to work on and she was just emanating sheer misery. Super Boss and I basically had whole conversations with concerned looks and tried gently to ask if she's okay. After the meeting, Super Boss turned to me, saying that he needed to fix this by talking to Mandroid and hopefully thinking of new solutions. My method of fixing it was going to Baby Analyst's office and informing her that we were having a talk.  She didn't do much talking other than insisting she is fine and crying.  I told her that I understand how much it sucks and that Super Boss and I are in her corner.  Afterwards I told Super Boss, "Man, I had no idea how it felt watching someone cry knowing you can't help so, mad props to you!"

Wednesday night, Super Boss found out some of the tax information was wrong, some of the forms were out of order, the printer ran out of toner, and was at the office until 2:00 AM.  He told me Thursday morning that if he had a job lined up, he would have totally quit Wednesday.  Thursday, an intern and I finished the second round of printing. I had a split second worry/thought that I could have accidentally gotten the forms out of order and screwed things up for Super Boss but where was I, what was I doing, and how do I feel.

I had two good talks with Mandroid.  He isn't a full Mandroid necessarily - maybe Vision? He listened to me, thanked me, and gave me good feedback/ideas.  Also, we had a kinda deep philosophical talk that made me appreciate his human-ness more.  Super Boss and I had a chance to discuss a lot of stuff.  He totally understands the Trump worrying plus he sent me some very good articles and I helped him with a worry/frustration he has about all the work our team is being saddled with.  I suggested thinking about it like every new project adds a tool to our toolbox. "Just call us tools." I joked.

The best part of the week is we had our first weekly Analyst team meeting!  We haven't had a weekly meeting for months and I missed them - they helped me learn from hearing what everyone is working on.  We talked about a lot of stuff this first meeting, Baby Analyst was in a hilarious mood, Worker Bee Analyst had great ideas, and there were a lot of laughs. I love how sometimes when Baby Analyst, Worker Bee Analyst, and I run with an idea, Super Boss gives me a look like, "What have I just started?" with a wry grin.  He announced that each week one of us would be running the meeting, cue Baby Analyst freaking out, Worker Bee teasing her, and me saying, "If you want the inmates running the asylum, sure!" then Super Boss' Look.

Have I ever mentioned Super Boss is a pretty fabulous feminist? He got worked up in a discussion with me after the analyst meeting saying how he doesn't like how people get encouraged to work on safe unchallenging work, especially females. He wants us to be challenged and stretch ourselves.  I told him that awesome Sarah Silverman anecdote from her pickup basketball team.  She's the only female and every basket she misses makes her feel like she has let down her entire gender but she looks at the guys on her team, they just shrug off their missed baskets.  My point was that when you're a protected class/minority failure carries a lot more anxiety/weight but I loved the goal to challenge stretch and grow.

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