Friday, April 21, 2006

Reflections of a Cloud

I think a good description of my personality can be expressed in a couple of words.   Positive, out-going, upbeat…  mind you there are many who may also throw in terms such as cynical or sarcastic, but today’s comments are more about the positive sides of things.

For those of you who know me in real life, you will understand when I say that March and April have served me up a big ol’ steamin’ bowl of Stress. Stress with a capital “S” I might add.  This has been both in my personal life and my professional life.

For the most part I deal with stress but letting it slide off my back or burying it deep in the recesses of my mind and dealing with it only when I have to. I try not to be a fretter. However, when great gobs of it are slung around your life and you feel like you are walking slumped over all the time there can certainly be visible signs.

2 weeks ago things hit a peak and I was buried at work.  I ended up pulling some 60-hour workweeks while trying to balance everything that was going on at home.  The end result was that my usual jovial work face was replaced with a much more quiet and somber visage.

In hindsight it was interesting to watch the reactions of my co-workers, who for the last 15 months had only dealt with my sunnier disposition.  Last week people tended to tiptoe around me. I had management coming up to me, using their quiet voices, touching my arm or shoulder and asking if everything was ok….  The first couple of times it was kind of amusing, then as the stress built it got annoying. At one point I remember thinking “Yeah, I’m fine, just stressed, but if you keep asking me if I am ok then I will show you what fucking stressed is truly about”.

I found it interesting to watch the reflections of my own personality being mirrored on the faces of those around me.  In the back of my brain the little social scientist that lives there (along with the historian, biologist and author) kept notes.  

I have often commented to my spouse that I have little patience for negative people.  It is my personal belief that spending your days wandering around being grumpy and pissy does nothing but sour the air of the people next to you.  I try to wake and face every day in a positive and upbeat manner. The reaction of the people around me confirmed my opinion.

While the stress levels have actually continued to grow, I have become a little more used to them, and like a pack mule, have hunkered down and bent my back to the load I need to carry for the next little bit. In doing so my smile has returned.

A final thought occurred to me as I was writing this.  While the concern that was expressed by management was certainly an annoyance, upon reflection it was certainly nice to be working with a bunch of people that actually seemed to give a damn.  

Mind you they were probably concerned about me going postal and the product not being delivered on time.