Thursday, August 21, 2008

What's Molly Dreaming Now? Edition 8

I slept harder last night than I had done in relatively recent memory. Here is the journey I took through the sandman's world:

I had dinner with Tina Fey. She and I were eating massive sandwiches and I was talking to her about my recent health issues and how I'm still trying to cope with those, physically and emotionally. The ear she lent me was completely sympathetic. Poor thing was basically my therapist over hoagies.

Then I dreamt that I was at home with Honey, but we were in an apartment from which we would be moving soon. Our apartment looked like a larger version of one of my childhood bedrooms. I ventured into our kitchen and discovered we were hosting a sorority reunion (Kappa something or other), which was particularly interesting since I was never in a sorority and Honey scorns collegiate social fraternities. I didn't mind so much except that they had brought all these fantastic cream puffs, vegetable platters and liquor and it was all off-limits to me. In my own kitchen! They weren't even going to leave any leftovers with us! Ugh. One of the sorority sisters was a girl I went to high school with, Leah. Leah looked fantastic and had a great job and a little daughter and was happy. ... I still just wanted some puff pastries.

Then I was at work. What my job was was not entirely clear, but it did involve rolled fondant and it took for-e-ver! I was chugging along and chugging along and chugging along and when I finally looked at the clock, it was 4AM. I had been at work for 19 hours! The sun was beginning to paint the black sky periwinkle. I decided it was time to go home and sleep for a few hours ... because there would still be work to do in the morning. More fondant to roll, or whatever. And the staff I was working with was still plugging along. No one was quite sure when to leave.

Normally, when I post a dream, I'm a bit befuddled by my dream and want to hear if any readers have any thoughts as to what the dream "means." This time, I have no doubt.

Tuesday night, I had dinner with my best friend from high school, who was in town on business for a few days. She mentioned that some of my quirks reminded her of Liz Lemon, Tina Fey's character on 30 Rock. She agreed with Honey's assessment of me, in an imagined alternate choice-path, living as Liz Lemon. Why the apartment and why the sorority reunion in my kitchen, I still don't know. Why the denial of food? Still unclear to me, but I LOVE food, so maybe I'm feeling deprived of something and it's manifesting itself in my dreams as happy, sweet, puffy food. But I know exactly why I dreamt the third part of my dream: I am working lots of long hours, lately.

We've got a massive project at work, which will churn on for at least another 6 weeks, for which my average day has become 10 to 10.5 hours long, frequently longer. Yesterday was about 11 and a quarter hours, about 11 and 3/4 if you include the time I left my front door to the time I returned. This has been going on since about mid-June and will continue till early October, if I'm lucky. I'm feeling very stressed out; I'm not getting paid any extra and though I've finally been given responsibilities commensurate to my experience and capabilities, as well as delegation authority, my title still languishes in the dusty entry level.

I'm a zombie. I haven't been reading half of the blogs I normally keep up with - not because I'm not interested, but because I'm exhausted. I have to make appointments to leave at a decent hour (6PM) just so I can have a life or get home to feed my dog on time. And even then, it raises the eyebrows of my superiors, like I'm a slacker. I really like what I do but I detest that I can't have dinner with my husband every night, or that if friends want to meet at 7 for drinks I can't promise I can make it.

I'm feeling really stuck. Family is vital to me. I want to have dinner (preferably before 7) each night with my husband, just like we used to, just like my family did when I was growing up. Outside interests are vital to me. If I have a rehearsal at 7:30, I don't want to have to feel like an asshole for leaving at 7, or 6:30 or 6 or 5:30! Or even if I just want to go to a play or a movie. But, it's not just my office, it's like this anywhere in my line of work. In fact, my office is probably on the better side of work/life management for my industry, so I'm not sure looking elsewhere would improve the balance. I really love my line of work, though. Even though this particular project has a terminus, the time-stress will continue. Maybe not 11 and 12 hour days - though, why should I complain when everyone in this area works those hours in every industry, because we are all hyper-acheivers - but the stress of feeling like an asshole for leaving on time or at a reasonable hour.

I'm between a rock and hard place, I think. I love what I do. I hate that it impedes my real life. I despised my last long-running office. It was an insult to my intelligence and my creativity. It accounted for 70% of the reason I went to grad school - anything to keep the synapses firing. But I was out by 5PM, sharp. This job insults neither (though I'm not a fan of our products, per se), but the dinner hour is ruined.

So sorry to be dour. So sorry I haven't checked your blogs in a long, long time. Maybe in October?


mommanator said...

sounds like allot-but you must be up to it, plus you can see a light at the end of a tunnel so to speak.
Also you'd better stock up on some pastries sounds like you need em Teehee

JoeinVegas said...

Sounds like my last job. Unfortunately, the boss will the bonus and you will just get another project like that, because you've proven that you can do it.
I just said it wasn't worth it, and just started giving them an hour overtime not an unlimited amount, if it didn't make schedule then it was the fault of the person giving the estimate or the one supplying the personnel, not you. You are more important than the project, and life isn't long enough for crap like that.

Sonnjea B said...

I'm with Joe. While loving your work is important, it shouldn't regularly affect the rest of your life in a negative way, otherwise what's the point of either? Practically every office in every profession in America is understaffed because of "budget issues" (ie, the higher ups are greedy), forcing the entire country to work constant overtime and suffer chronic exhaustion, crazy levels of stress and the consequences of not having time with their families.