At work, we always joke that we're livin' the dream. Fighting with the copy machine again... livin' the dream. Arguing with a contractor... livin' the dream. Losing an hours worth of work when the computer crashes... livin' the dream. But especially when I'm trimming drawings, or binding documents or compiling pdf's.... that's when it really hits me that I have finally ARRIVED. That paperwork, it gets me all emotional every time.
But honestly, I really do love my job. I have great colleagues and bosses, I have challenging and meaningful work and appropriate levels of responsibility, good location, good hours, etc.
But, there is this one recurring theme at work that I cannot seem to overcome: anxiety. It is a constant companion at work. I am a total perfectionist, and the thought that I am doing something less than stellar terrifies me. This is ridiculous and completely unsustainable, I know, and I'm working on it. Read more about that here. But those unattainable standards that I set for myself are always there, lurking in the back of my mind, nagging at me and making me CRAZY.
I confided in a work friend recently about my anxiety, and she assured me that I am not alone. She said that in fact, she would bet that most everyone that we work with feels the same way from time to time. "Even the guys?" I asked doubtfully. I thought maybe this was a woman thing, expecially in a male dominated field like architecture. Yes, she assured me, the men suffer from anxiety too. So we decided to have a little pow wow at lunch one day to discuss this topic and come to find out, ALL of us feel this way at times. We all care deeply about our work, and truly want to do our best. We all struggle with not knowing things from time to time, with failing to ask enough questions, with worrying if we're doing what is expected of us, with keeping our perfectionism in check. This is NORMAL! Geez, who knew.
Just talking about this with others has really helped me to put things in perspective. Connection and communication are the quickest ways that I have found to ease my anxious mind. I feel so blessed to be in a group of people who are open and willing to be honest about their struggles. We're all human after all, and at the end of the day, no matter what project we're working on, or what deadlines we have, our connections with one another and our willingness to help each other are what really matter most.
So, keep on livin' the dream!
© Haley McManigal 2015
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