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Oh job, why must you exist?

Most of the time my job is pretty mellow. I’ve got my anxieties, but they are familiar at this point. It’s like, Yeah, this knife in my ribs is painful, but I don’t really remember a time before it was there… Last week totally sucked, though. It reminded me of life before everything was wonderful and perfect. I even snapped at my husband all weekend, which I don’t think has happened since Bun Bun came on the scene.

You see, my department is trying to hire a shiny new professor. And one of the people we’re interviewing is my best friend (BFB). So that’s odd on a number of levels. They are levels I won’t say anything about because while I’m cool with my colleagues finding this weblog and learning that I think they’re ASSHOLES or my students finding this weblog and learning that I think they’re LAZY and ANNOYING, I do have my moments of being all ethical about confidential shit. Suffice it to say, hiring people generates a whole lotta contention, and none of it is fun to be near. I imagine it’s like working for any small unit that’s part of a larger unit and is very concerned about its fate, and is full of strong personalities and competing interests, yet must reach some kind of consensus…basically, a bunch of monkeys flinging their shit around and hooting. I’m trying to keep my emotional distance, but people keep dropping by my office to air their feelings, and of course I’ve got my own complicated opinions about what’s best for our little department.

Mainly, it’s just WEIRD to be all stressed out again, after five months of not giving a shit about anything except my fetus. I guess I thought I’d achieved a higher state of consciousness, in which I was surrounded by a bubble of motherearthgoddessI’vegotababyinme-ness that petty bullshit couldn’t penetrate. But no, I was just lucky. Anyway, I know you are all EXPERTS in managing stress, so lay it on me! How do I shake it off?

19 Comments Post a comment
  1. You know, you have perfectly summed up my experience. Not to sound like a self-congratulating beeeeeyatch, but I felt the dark and intense depression I'd experienced throughout IF melting away when we finally hit the jackpot. No more tears, no more crying, no more hermit-like avoidance of my friends, no more giving a shit about work, well, shit. Hubs definitely noticed. My Mom noticed. I noticed. And then a few weeks ago some dramatic and frustrating and intense things happened with my work and I found myself waking up at night, complaining to hubs and friends about it, and generally stressing. It was weird: I cared about work again.I am trying to work the angle that this is a GOOD sign. That it means I have a life outside of TTC and pregnancy. That my brain is not all mush. That I still care about something that has nothing to do with Baby A and Baby B. You know……? As for BFB being a candidate at your university….wowza. That is complicated on many levels, Bunny. You haven't written about her much lately, but I know the phone call when you discussed your pregnancy for the first time was complex and emotional. I'm sure this adds new layers to your relationship and how you feel about it. Work is your space, and suddenly BFB is showing up again.ANYway, sorry if this meandering comment is ass-vicey. Just wanted to say that I totally relate to the not-caring-about-work-then-suddenly-caring thing. xoxo

    January 17, 2011
  2. JB #

    I dunno what to tell you. But if you wish you could care less now, wait until you go back to work after maternity leave. Just warning you, your level of concern on the give-a-shit-o-meter may plummet because BEHBEH! A good friend of mine got promoted while I was out (we work together) and whenever she called, the convo devolved into "oh fuck, you won't believe the shit I have to put up with now"-ness about work and I just wanted to get the hells off the phone because BEHBEH. I'm back at work and not really past that yet, so I'll let you know how it goes.

    January 17, 2011
  3. Ergh. So, I hate job searches. And I hate job searches even when I'm not on the committee that's doing the searching. I've had friends apply for jobs in my department, but they've never made it to interviews. So I can only imagine how caught in the crosshairs you feel about the whole experience. Also, let's face it: academic departments are just weird. Monkeys flinging their shit and hooting sums it up just about perfectly. So little (often) at stake, so many arguments despite that fact:)Good luck rising above it. I hope for your sake that you're not on the actual committee because that would killer. And I hope that you're able to go back to la-la-la-can't-hear-what-you're-saying-because-ah-am-knocked-up. SOON:)

    January 17, 2011
  4. I've mentioned this before, but both my parents are professors and some of my friends…I'm always amazed how political universities can be, especially when it comes to hiring! Having BFB as a candidate must be really tough. I do know what you mean…after getting pregnant, even though I've been scared and stressed for a lot of it, it's on a different level than when we were TTC. Like happy, excited, stress rather than doom and gloom. I hope this is just a temporary lapse in your happy mood and you'll be back in Bun Bun bliss again soon.

    January 17, 2011
  5. Advice to de-stress: You could start your last day of work countdown. Cause I guarantee, the second little BunBun is born, you'll stop caring about work again. You'll be in a new bubble of motherearthgoodnessI'vegotakickassbabywhoROCKSandwholooksatmewiththosebigwateryeyes-ness. Cause that does sound complicated potentially having BFB in your department. Hope the chaos passes soon. And if not, only 4(?) months to go!

    January 17, 2011
  6. AL #

    I'm sorry you're feeling the stress of work again – I can only imagine how political and ridiculous hiring is at a university – especially when BFB is a candidate. Hope the stress lets up soon as the days count down to your maternity leave. Tips to destress, hmm, lets see, take a relaxing bath with the viking rhune candle lit?

    January 18, 2011
  7. I know academic fields are tiny and incestuous, but….BFB? A candidate? Didn't you work with her before she got her current job? Too weird. And the whole arcane hazing of the job search process is hard on everyone: the committee, the candidates, the grad students who don't know who will be around to be on their committees….don't get me started.I'm with suchagoodegg — while I have all kinds of sympathy for how shit-throwing-monkey-like your department probably is, I think it's a good sign that it's getting to you a little. Bun bun is doing great, and you're waking back up to the other things in your life.Too bad it's lousy work politics stuff and not … oh, I don't know … lovely homemade pies or something.

    January 18, 2011
  8. BFB.BFB??(((Steamy silence of loving support for Bunny))

    January 18, 2011
  9. I suggest voodoo in this case. For all the crazies in the department who take up your time with their lament. As for the whole ambivalence about having BFB living and working right alongside you, I say sit with that one. Roccie put it best with her steamy silence and loving support. I second that.

    January 18, 2011
  10. I found that my career/job felt simultaneously hyper-relevant and completely irrelevant all at the same time as I settled into my pregnancy. (OMG, I'm talking about my pregnancy in past tense–WEIRD.) I haaaaate office politics. Like you, I went through a really warm phase where my pregnancy consumed, almost literally, all of my brain cells. It was such a welcome reprieve from work stress. There was suddenly this new light to focus on, and daydreaming about/planning for the baby was my favoritest thing to do… BUT THEN. A consultant was hired to revamp our department, and suddenly I was in the position to lose my area of speciality, and suddenly I was all BUT I LOVE WHAT I DO! I AM GOOD AT IT! DON'T TAKE IT AWAY FROM ME! ASSHOLES! And caring about it felt intensely good and intensely terrible at the same time. So terrible that one day I thought, "I can't wait until the baby is here so I can go out on FMLA." Which was promptly followed by lots of tears because I was in no way trying to rush through my pregnancy, especially not for my job. I groaned when I read that BFB was a candidate. I can only imagine mixed feelings that brings, politics aside. Eeeeps. I hope it works out in the best possible way for you–'cause that's what I most care about in this situation…

    January 18, 2011
  11. Ouch….I feel your pain office politics sucks and I work with psychiatrists so that's a whole extra layer of crazziness (and not the good kind). I find deep breathing and focusing on my last day-o-work helps. Plus simple stuff like eating what ever the hell I want and reminding myself, "I answer to a smaller power now". Hang in there.

    January 18, 2011
  12. Eeeek. What an awkward and strange situation. I think that there are some parts of our lives that are best kept separate and work-friends (barring those friends that you meet at work) are one of those things. I hope that the worry/stress go away soon. And I personally hope you can go back to not caring soon! It's much more fun!

    January 18, 2011
  13. Ew. What a mess. BFB being a candidate is definitely a weird situation. While I wish you could share details, I appreciate your ethical reservations. Still, BFB?! WTF? That is just…awkward.Infertility is stressful, adoption is stressful, finances are stressful, but there is nothing so stressful that I would wish myself back at my HEINOUS job. It's a whole other kind of stress.

    January 18, 2011
  14. I don't know how to combat the stres of the workplace. I have been concerned about this as well. I will say that nothing puts a damper on my day like doing interviews. I am way to overly critical for it and after the last few that I have hired I am also aparently a terrible judge of character. I say just take a deep breath and remember that nothing that happens at work even comes close to comparing to bun bun.

    January 18, 2011
  15. I love the monkey comparison. And wonder what I am getting myself into…The BFB thing sounds complicated though. As for relaxing, well, I have no idea. (Wasn't that the trick supposed to get me pregnant?)

    January 18, 2011
  16. Ha, I love the voodoo idea! I mutter ZOOM OUT to myself when things are stressful. I also like to make fun of the stressor. In a cartoon, where possible.

    January 18, 2011
  17. Grrr to Bunny being stressed. Sorry there are so many complexities to this scenario that are playing on your mind. I really don't have any advice (USELESS!!!) as I am extremely crap at managing stress. My only technique is to withdraw and find a safer place. Its not always possible and even when it is possible its a wimpy way out because the stress is still there, you're just hiding from it.Hoping you do better than me, and when you do, be sure to share your tips. I can sense a Bunny's top 10 survival tips for stress brewing. xxx

    January 20, 2011
  18. I'm sorry you are feeling stressed. I usuallly like to do something nice for myself in that kind of situation and forget it all for a while (you know, massage, day spa or something). Like egghunt I am not particularly good at managing stress. I must say I agree with Roccie and Callmemama on interviewing BFB – I sense a minefield of danger. Sending lots of love and support your way.

    January 20, 2011
  19. Thus begins my campaign to be your BFB one day (step one have baby!). I echo steamy silence with some wistfully kind thoughts. You want what's best, but you want to carve out a notch professionally for yourself. As large as Ohio is, I expect there are other places for her talents. Frankly, that situation is damned if you do and damned if you don't. Nod a lot and zip it, for now. That's my worthless two cents.I am personally so fed up with my job that I'm deeply interviewing elsewhere. Evidently, I have to hate my job more than I hate interviewing. Enough about me, again, back to you (see how thoughtful I'll be?).Okay, the hippy talk…this monkey shit flinging is intended to lure you in. You need to choose to involve yourself and then you need to cut through the crap with your opinion only when it matters. If this is anything like my world (I have no idea, clearly), being a woman of few words can be helpful to levy weight when you do want to say something. Because, I know you are right. They are assholes. Not worth the breath. If there's anything I do know, it's that having a battle of wits with unarmed people is infuriating. You can't win. So focus on the key decisions that you want pushed and who will help you promote those thoughts. Sharpen your knives and make a plan. Stress comes from feeling like you aren't being heard, so when you find yourself getting worked up, see if there's a way to alleviate that feeling with some small action. If not, fuck it. Let the chumps stew in it and wear waders when you get back from leave. It is what it is.

    January 20, 2011

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