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.
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.
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.