Just like the publishing industry, I combined months to give one update!

Accomplished:

Visitors & Travel

27. Go to Europe with Josh, go to Europe with Josh, GO TO EUROPE WITH JOSH

In process:

Be a Grown-up

16. Work, at work, and not use it as a headquarters for my volunteering activities
17. Start implementing a career plan

A major goal for this year was to stop participating in the activities I no longer liked. This was covered in the recap to #29 on the Thirty Before Thirty list. For the first time in years, I am not busy. I am not planning a wedding or Oktoberfest or volunteering 4 out of 5 weeknights. Sure, there is still a ton of laundry piled up at our house so I can’t really put my finger on where all my new “free time” has gone, but I just have less to-dos on my personal calendar.

I didn’t think that eliminating “volunteer” stress would automatically create a new channel in my life that I could fill with idle pursuits such as grocery shopping weekly like a normal adult or wearing clean bras all the time. I know myself too well. At the core, I am one lazy, lazy individual. But I thought it would kick up the level of interest I have for my 9-5pm 10-6:30pm gig, where I previously did a lot of the coordination for that volunteer work. And for a while there, I thought I was doing better!

Until last Monday when I was pulled aside and told I wasn’t billing enough hours.

Now, it was not nearly as bad as the time Rachel had to be retrained on being a waitress at the coffeeshop on Friends. I did not automatically send out a thousand resumes to work somewhere else. I like my job 90% of the time. Strangely, that little chat has not set fire in my belly to actually bill more time (case in point, I’m typing this at work). Now, I’m a good employee: I arrive everyday, I don’t steal, and I get my work done. The chat about billable hours was probably more an economic thing plus a little confusion about how I fill the hours I’m at work. (It’s sometimes a lot of unbillable work, blogposts aside.) I like coming to my job and having no one bother me about my “work”. Just let me be and things will get accomplished.

A funny thing happened while Josh was working at the Supreme Court: I stopped telling him “work stories”. I just stopped. Sometimes I would start one and get overwhelmed by the minutia of all the details he couldn’t possibly keep up with because of his work schedule. I would just stop talking: Nevermind! It isn’t important! You know what? I actually don’t want to talk about this. The overall healthiness of this approach has yet to be determined, but it did kick me of a habit that I’ve had since childhood: telling stories about people and things that those listening do not know and therefore can not care. One of my oldest childhood memories is Mum telling me that repeating a story from that day’s episode of Live with Regis and Kathie Lee was not entertaining to my father over dinner.

Sidenote: my therapist thinks that I am re-traumatizing myself by talking about traumatic things for me outside of a therapeutic setting. I agreed with her, but didn’t realize how careful I had to be until a few weeks ago. I was retelling a kinda traumatic story from my childhood to some friends, which I thought would be funny. But as I said it outloud, it just made me realize that maybe I wasn’t over that experience? And if I am not over it, how could I help I child live through something similar? #nobabies

BACK TO THE JOB (at hand): Obviously, my husband wants to hear my work stories and be involved in my life. The point is, if I didn’t think my job was worth discussing during the precious moments when I got to see my husband awake last year, then it really just isn’t that important to me.

I am in such a good position right now: I have a job, but also a husband who is about to have an awesome (for us financially) job. He’s ready for me to quit and go to art school (srsly). I’m ready to keep working and sock my salary away for a rainy day. The thought of putting each of my paychecks into ING Direct Capital One 360 automatically just might be the motivation I need to try just a little bit harder to bill a few more hours.

In the meantime, I’ve created a support group at work. I’m the oldest (chronological age) of the paralegals. I formed a club with some of the younger women to help them find their next jobs/future careers. Hopefully we will have some mentoring going on soon. Because really, I just can’t stop volunteering my time to make other people’s lives better.

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