I like my job just fine, and am extremely grateful to have it, but after passing the midpoint of what I am considering to be the Bataan Death March of presentations (which started in June with the two big ones, followed by the disastrous executive committee presentation of a few weeks ago) I am ready to go be a crazy hermit in the woods with chickens. I might starve, but at least I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone…
The one yesterday went better than the executive committee shit show, but still not well. I had to speak to an auditorium full of people, wearing a mic, and I was shaking so hard that I couldn’t use the laser pointer. I don’t really know what to do at this point except resign myself to the fact that I can prepare (I practiced so much for this presentation that I dreamed about it) and know everything by heart, have meticulously prepared slides and narrative, and still stand there as terrified as I have ever been in my life. There’s nothing for it. If they keep asking, I have to keep doing it, it’s part of my job, but it takes me a long time to gear up and a long time to ramp down, I leave the presentations drenched in cold sweat, dehydrated, and with a sick headache that lasts for the rest of the day. I have another one next week that may be as big as the one yesterday, and I just have to get through it, as much as I would prefer not to. The worst part is knowing that my problem is all in my head and that if I could just get a grip on myself, I would do a great job. But I just can’t and when it’s done, I go be by myself for awhile and laugh a little, shakily, and try to console myself by thinking there is something character building about continuing to try to do my best. It’s disheartening, you know, to put so much effort into something, doggedly, and continue to knock your own self back down. I feel like Charlie Brown on the pitcher’s mound.
So today, still in an emotional recovery mode, I had the chance to take a teleconference meeting from home and I did it. In the old days, I never took opportunities like this – I was always afraid it would reflect poorly on me and jeopardize my employment. Now, if I get a chance to do something from home and have a leisurely breakfast with my daughter, and walk her to school on a mild, damp autumn morning, I do it, for better or worse. It doesn’t feel stressful anymore – it feels like a treat, and even if it means I am more mediocre employee, it makes me a happier human being and mother.
I brought in a sack full of green tomatoes, and am thinking about trying a green tomato pasta sauce for dinner tonight. The world outside the windows is full of wet leaves pasted to sidewalks and turning lawns yellow. The trees are almost at peak here in Michigan and from now until Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite time of year.