Finding the Eye of the Storm

Yeah, sorry, no guide update yet. I try to save my writing energy for constructive stuff, but perhaps that’s my problem. Perhaps I need to write about less useful stuff to build up momentum.

Anyway, last time I posted I was sitting in a hotel in Moloka’i, stunned by my guild (the near-perfect guild I had been looking for all my gaming life, dammit!) breaking up. But, I’ve bathed in the WoW guild world for so long that my frustration was limited to a short lived disappointment. Guild breakups happen, they suck, but all you can do is move on. As far as I can tell, I’m still on good terms with every party involved, and I’d have plenty of potential homes to choose from, if the need came up.

The timing of the guild breakup, actually, ended up being pretty good. While, yes, it did happen as I was sitting in a hotel room in the middle of the pacific ocean, it also happened right before some stressful changes at my workplace.

Yes, I know that just about each of my posts can be summed up to “I’M SOOOOO STRESSED OMG OMG OMG”, but it’s my blog and I can write what I want.

I have no Hawaii pictures on this computer to distract from the wall of text, so here's a picture of a weekend trip to Banff

I have no Hawaii pictures on this computer to distract from the wall of text, so here’s a picture of a weekend trip to Banff

My life as a grown up

So. I’d consider myself to be rather well adjusted. I have a good job. I’m good at personal finances. I have diploma wall in my living room. I make friends easily. I’m happy about my life. I have a wide variety of interests. I have no hangups about my weight, my gender or what others think of me. Cherishing positive relationships and avoiding negative ones comes naturally.

Yet, when I look back at the last year and a half in my workplace, I want to slap myself.

I had a very toxic coworker.

The laziest, most selfish person you could imagine. A slob who left everything lying around. (I even suspect she used go out of her way to mix up my paperwork to make my life miserable.) A hoarder who’d use our work area as an extension of home, and crowd it with her food and personal belongings. A miserable person who’d randomly yell at others whenever she sensed the world not revolving around her (she even made a few customers cry). A control freak who’d make up bizarre rules for us to follow (but, of course, wouldn’t follow them herself). She’d refuse to learn the basics of her job (what I figured out on my own in 5-10 minutes, she still couldn’t grasp after countless explanations from me, and over 25 years on the job) and would just leave anything less-straightforward on the counter, in drawers or on the floor for me to first find, then puzzle out.

As a new grad, it didn’t occur to me that this wasn’t normal. In school they make you aware that you’ll be constantly juggling problems, that your short term memory will always be stretched to its breaking point, that the hours are hard and that work never ends. When I came home exhausted, stressed and sick to my stomach every day, I figured it was just inexperience. When I suffered a mini-burnout last April (after about 8 months on the job), I thought it was me not being strong enough. (After all, I do have tendency to crumble under pressure… I had my first minor burnout when I was 12 and have had several burnouts of varying intensities since.)

Eventually, the rest of the staff started complaining too, and head office began issuing warnings to this person. Corporations being what they are, it took a long, long, long time, but after a lot of me losing my temper on the phone, that person left the company around the same time as my plane from Hawaii touched ground.

I didn’t even make it home that day. I went straight from the airport to work. Remember, I was gone for 2 weeks. And this toxic person does not do anything. Which means that I had 2 weeks worth of problems, paperwork, mistakes, complaints and hoarding garbage to sort through.

As the stress of doing my regular job added to the stress of cleaning up 2 weeks worth of garbage (plus the 16 months of crap she’d been hiding in closets and cupboards – which amounted to about 3 large boxes of neglected paperwork), bubbles of anger kept surfacing. Anger at this person for taking advantage of me, anger for all the patients and customers who’d been neglected or treated badly by her, anger at being deprived of a “new grad learning” period, anger at the higher ups for not acting immediately.

And mostly angry at myself for not asking for help, for not exposing this person sooner.

I always try to be superwoman. My entire life I’ve been surrounded by overachievers. When things were overwhelming at work, I’d think to myself “Well, Jenni, or M-E would do this easily, I should be able to do this easily too.” Not realizing that Jenni or M-E would have been on the phone with the higher ups from day 1, reporting every incident, speaking their mind, standing up for themselves. Using every resource available until they were treated with at least basic respect.

I’ve been mostly on my own this week to fix all the damage that had been done by “Toxic”. I have a new colleague starting tomorrow and the rest of the staff has been trying to get into their normal groove. I did learn my lesson and have been calling my higher ups whenever I need help, and have been insisting until they give me what I need. But I’m exhausted. There are just mountains of papers and problems everywhere. And every time I feel better, I discover another hidden pile of horrors.

But beyond the work, it’s the anger that’s taking a toll on me. It keeps me up at night, it makes my insides hurt, it makes me snap at my staff and at my friends. I’m not worried, I bounce back easily, but, you know, even for me, healing takes a little while.

How this all ties back to WoW

I’m kind of glad I don’t have to concentrate on raiding with all this turmoil. I do miss raiding like crazy and want to yell obscenities on Twitter whenever friends talk about their raids. Yet, it’s good that I have this time to myself to recover and reorganize my emotions.

A group of my most recent guildies welcomed me to spend my guild transition time with them, which was tempting. Their alt runs would keep me up-to-date for future raids and I respect every player on that team. But as I sort through my fury and fumble toward the light, I felt the need for something different. I wanted old friends, I wanted family.

I sent an email to my good friend Vik (of Leetsauced fame), transfered my character over to Nerzhul and within a couple of hours, carried the Conquest guild tag once again.

It was such a warm feeling. I wasn’t expecting anyone to remember me, but to my greatest surprise, there was a lot of cheering and fanfare when I logged in during one of their raids. I had been having a rough day, and they just turned it around. It felt like I was finally home.

I’ve been sneaking into their Mumble and just quietly hanging out, which is more than enough for me. I’m also happily on the same server as Team Sport, another guild of dear friends, so whenever I escape the stress of work I log into the game and feel blessed.

It’ll be short lived – I miss raiding too much too stick around for too long (and Conquest’s raid schedule isn’t compatible with my work schedule), but in the meanwhile it is reminiscent of when I was going to school in Newfoundland and would visit my friends and family in Québec city for two weeks over the holidays.

I’m visiting old, dear friends for the holidays.

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8 Comments on “Finding the Eye of the Storm”

  1. Shy Says:

    Good to hear Toxic is gone. I know the type of people, and it always amazes me how long it takes for them to be exposed. Also good to hear that your higher ups seem to actually be listening and acting. Listening alone would not really be enough..

    Also, you sound a bit bitter about the whole guilds break up, it’s a fact of WoW life thing. Or maybe not bitter, resigned? yeah, that might be the word.

    I have been with my guild since the first day I play World of Warcraft. The guild has been around for 18 years or so now (since EQ) and has been there since day 1 of World of Warcraft. Yes, some people come and go, and I haven’t always had a happy place in the guild.

    When I joined a US guild (being Dutch) I knew that it would not be easy to attend raids. So at first I found myself raiding at 3 am in the morning.

    Currently we raid at 5 am on saturday and sunday morning. I’ve been doing this since a couple of years now.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes you can think you’ve found the perfect (the guild you were in), but it turns out not so perfect, and sometimes it just takes a little time and adjustment from both sides, and it turns out to be much more perfect than you thought at first.

    You’ll find a new place, and in the mean time enjoy your stay with family :)

    • Ophelie Says:

      Yeah, I think “resigned” is a good word for it. I get very attached to guilds, but I’ve had my heart broken so often (and I’ve heard so many guild break up stories) that I’ve gotten to where I make the best out of the moment, and if it doesn’t last forever, then so be it.

      In the past, I’ve been the one to change, to discover I needed something different. This time is a little different, but I know there are good guilds out there.

      The question is, after falling behind on progression again, will they want me!

      (Also, 3 am to raid… That’s dedication! I wouldn’t be against the 5 am raids though. 5 to 8 am, I could definitely work with.)

  2. Vidyala Says:

    Ugh. The only thing I want to comment to say is to cut yourself some slack. It’s often REALLY hard to realize when you’re in the middle of it exactly what is going on or what the best course of action is. I remember talking to you at that time and you were learning so much about how to handle the demands of your new career – it is pretty natural, I think, to have confused “normal demands of new career” with “unnecessary problems caused by someone who deserves to be fired.”

    I’m really so glad that you were able to rectify the situation. And it sucks that your guild folded, but I’m likewise glad to hear you’re back where you feel at home for the time being. You didn’t need extra stress as you get back to a new normal at work! Hopefully a much improved normal that won’t make you feel sick all the time!

    p.s. I read a news article that someone stole a Christmas tree from a department store in your town – I strongly suspect your ex-coworker as a likely culprit!! ;)

    • Ophelie Says:

      Our town has so much weird stuff happen in it! I wouldn’t put my ex-coworker past stealing a Christmas tree, haha, though I think this time it wasn’t her.

      I don’t get why anyone would steal a Christmas tree in my town other than to grief. This is the Rocky Mountains! Christmas trees grow everywhere!

      Thank you for your comment, I really appreciated it!

      My new coworker started Saturday and it’s been amazing. Almost dreamlike. I’m sort of afraid to look away, in case I wake up!

  3. Shaadan Says:

    O, I’m glad to hear you found something for now. It was always a pleasure raiding with you, and any team where you are a part of will be extremely lucky. Be positive as always! And enjoy the holidays.

    /salute
    Shaadan

    • Ophelie Says:

      Shaadan! Thank you so much for dropping by and for your kind words! It was an honour to raid with you these past months and I hope our paths cross again sometime.

  4. DKlotz Says:

    Glad you found a happy home, if even for a little while.

    You are always welcome to come visit helix on Area 52.

    /cheers

    -Clasmir


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