Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mental Health Day

I've had a hard time adjusting since I got back from the West Coasts so I took a mental health day today.

Slept in
Had a massage (for the first time in 5 months: and made another appt for next week)
Sushi for lunch with my sister
Extravagant Pedicure (also with my sister)
Caught up on our household bills (feels good to have that under control)
Had dinner out with hubby
Ran a few errands with hubby
Going to bed in 15 minutes (@9:30pm)

I think that's a pretty good mental health day. Although physically I feel like I got my butt kicked (hold all my stress in my neck and shoulders and massage therapist tried to work a bunch of that out for me today), psychologically I am really glad I took today for myself.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Home sweet home

My East Coast brain can not handle the West Coast time zone. I have been sleeping well but you would never know it too look at me, I look like a walking zombie. I'm at a work related conference which means I had to go to a session during every available time period (for both taking notes to report back to the team and because it was important to have a presence at this conference).

During down time I have been logging into work and troubleshooting what I can. The team has become increasingly more frustrated and their unrealistically (in my opinion) impatient with the fact that things haven't changed since I last week. The fact that I'm on the opposite coast, 3 hours behind has made all of this worse because I can't respond to them timely and help to simmer things down before they get all worked up. I am exhausted.

I never ended up using the bathtub. But I'm glad it was here. :)

I scheduled a big meeting at work on Monday, otherwise I may think about not going in. I feel like I am in serious need of some downtime. But at least I'll be able to spend the weekend in my own bed with my hubby and my puppies.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Breaking News

There is a bathtub!! :)

My east coast body can't handle the west coast time right now.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Update on the work issues

To continue on with this post, the project manager came to our meeting on Tuesday, it was good to have them there (and they got to see some of the issues I've mentioned pertaining to my boss on their own) and I hope these visits by the project manager will continue.

However, after the meeting there was a parade of sorts through my office of all my team members telling me how miserable they were, how much the week I was on vacation sucked and how they were all thinking about ways to either get off our contract or leave the company all together! This is the 2nd time I've taken a real vacation from this position and this is the 2nd time I've come back to this sort of parade. Mind you, there was not any sort of major event that happened while I was gone. It's just when I'm gone the team has to deal more directly with my boss and this pushes them over the edge.

So, on Wednesday I had a two hour meeting w/ our project director. I once again laid out all of the team issues with very specific examples of how these issues play out amongst the team. It was by far the most frank discussion I've had with the project director and I also shared the reasons why we needed to move quickly (i.e., major members of the team looking for new work!).Bottom line I told the project direct that things needed to change in a major way and quickly. Project director agreed, and we brainstormed some ways that restructuring could help the team. Then project director had a one hour meeting with the other senior member of my team who confirmed everything I told project director and project director said that the bottom line from her conversations with us was "The status quo isn't going to cut it and things need to change and change fast." We all agree that my boss is the biggest hurdle to issuing in the much needed structural changes and project director confirmed that it was up to them to get my boss on board. Boss and Project director already had a lunch meeting scheduled for Friday and project director was making plans for how to have this conversation with my boss and put things in motion for major change.

I saw my boss after the lunch meeting and boss didn't mention the lunch meeting which I think is good news because had project director made boss feel like the team was ganging up on boss then I think I would have heard about it. I haven't heard from project director -- they left on Friday right after the lunch meeting for work on the west coast and won't be back until mid-week. I'm headed to the west cost (but states south of where project director is) tomorrow afternoon and won't be back in the office until the following Monday. So, we wait.... I suspect I won't know anything for at least another week....

I feel hopeful though... not sure why but I do. I know feeling hopeful is half the battle.

Oh, and hubby had a job interview on Tuesday... he's not happy at work either... stressful times here in the PPD household, but things seem to be looking up... I think.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Can't a girl get a bathtub?

Back in May I traveled for work and complained about the fact that the hotel did not have a bathtub. This past week on vacation, no bathtub (and even worse it was a 3 square foot shower)! I am traveling next week for work again, this time on the west coast... but I just received my hotel information and it's the same hotel chain as the May trip.

So help me if there is no bathtub this time I am done traveling. Luxury! Vacation! Not without a bathtub I say!

The job issues

I mentioned yesterday that I am having some issues at work and that I was hoping that I'd feel less frustrated after getting some R & R on vacation but I don't feel less frustrated, instead I feel pissed off and anxious <>

There are two main issues that have lead to these feelings about my job.

One of them I have alluded to in the past in my description of my job as a wedding cake baker here and here. Oh and I mention more here too. The moral of this story is that the person who coordinates the contract for the project that I work on (FC) is CRAZY and I'm not sure how much longer I can deal with this. In addition to the constant changing of their mind, they're also not letting me do anything Psychological in nature. They turn down all my ideas (even though my boss and project director think their fantastic) and the work I'm doing on this project is just not at all fulfilling.

The second issue pertains to the need for change on our team. Many of our current procedures are not working, people (me especially) are stressed, overworked and disgruntled. We've hired new people and have been given more money on our contract but neither of these will help the current situation. The entire team had a meeting to discuss our issues, everyone agrees on the issues. Then we brought up proposed solutions and everyone is on board with the solutions... well...except my boss. My boss pretends to be on board with the solutions given that the rest of the team thinks they're a great idea, and in theory the boss thinks that the solutions proposed really are effective ways to deal with the issues. But in reality my boss is totally threatened by the proposed solutions and is already (not even 2 weeks in) doing things to undermine the new procedures.

As one of the senior members of the team I have been one of the loudest voices pushing for change.The rest of the team agrees but they're less vocal. My active participation in pushing for change has begun to deteriorate my relationship with my boss who is one of those overly sensitive people that drain me of all my energy. My boss reads my complaints and suggestions as my own personal issues, and completely disregards any evidence of the team's agreement with me.

After many counterproductive discussions with my boss I have begun talking to the project management (those who oversee my boss and the entire team) about the teams issues and the complications I'm having discussing the issues with my boss. Before I game flamed I have not done this in any way that undermines my boss. Instead, I've made it clear that I'd like those above my boss to hear out the team (they've talked to everyone else on my team-- which is what I wanted my boss to do and they refused) and help me to maintain my relationship with my boss while helping the team institute the changes that are essential to our future success.

Thus far all of this had yielded nothing more than what I consider to be lip service. I know somethings have been said to my boss but that led to more condescending and passive aggressive interactions between us. Before I left for vacation I had another frank discussion with someone on the project management side of our contract and it made it very clear that I was frustrated and angry and that the team itself was losing steam and feeling disgruntled.

Over vacation I have been thinking more and more about what I can do to be happy at work. What can I control? How can I make things better? I have some ideas but they all pertain to getting off my current project which sucks because I really enjoy working with this team and see the potential for the project to be great.

My last bit of hope is that our project manager is coming to our team meeting tomorrow (this is one of the suggestions I made when I had a conversation with the project manager prior to vacation), I don't know why they're coming but I hope it's going to be a regular thing. It sure would help me gain back some hope.

Oh and if things were better within the team, I'd drop down to less than full time on this project and apply for other contracts that would allow me to do Psychological work and then I could be fulfilled as as Psychologist and continue working with the co-workers I've grown to enjoy.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

RBOC: back from vacation

  • Came home a day early. It was a beach vacation but today and tomorrow temps are only going to reach 70F which just doesn't work for sitting on a beach. I was content with my 7 days of vacation.
  • After practically growing up on the beach, I really, really missed the ocean when I was living in grad school town. I was thrilled to sit in the sand and watch the waves roll in for days on end.
  • Family vacations are great in theory but aren't all their cracked up to be in reality. There were 11 of us share a 4 bedroom cottage, need I say more?
  • Some people are incredibly selfish in every aspect of their lives, this really comes to light when you're sharing a small, not well insulated space with them for 7 days. I just don't know how they get away with it (especially when they have kids).
  • I really needed some R&R and I made it a priority to get some on vacation.
The reason I needed the R&R on vacation was to get some time and space away from ANJ and do some thinking. I just had my one year anniversary, and things have not been great for me over the past few months but I wasn't sure whether I just needed some time off (hadn't taken a real vacation since March and had been working 60 hour weeks for the past month or so). Unfortunately the closer I get to returning to work the more I realize that I was not just tired and strung out, because the negative feelings I had when I left have not disappeared with time away as I had hoped they might. A more detailed post about these issues and what I need to do about them to follow over the next day or two.