Drowning from the firehose

Frequent readers know that I recently changed jobs due to an acquisition. It’s a great opportunity, but this week has been rough for me. I’ve been sort of paratrooped into situations where I have to pick up things in flight that I don’t know how to address.

This isn’t because I have terrible coworkers or a terrible job. It’s just a fact of life when you start a new job. It doesn’t help being remote on a primarily on-site team. And it doesn’t help that my role means I’m in an entirely separate part of the organization from my old coworkers.

But mostly, it doesn’t help that I’m me. I internalize failure easily. I care about not letting the team down. I’m still trying to figure out how to manage my work in progress at a must larger scale than I’m used to. And this week I have not done well.

I can never tell if I’m physically ill because my mental state is bad or if physical illness makes me more succeptible to a bad mental state. It’s probably been both at one point or another. But the end result is that I spent two days not eating and three nights dreaming about work and then waking up thinking about work.

It was not good.

To my credit, I realized it wasn’t a passing thing and I raised a flag. To my colleagues’ credit, they were supportive. Not in a “rah rah you can do it” way, but in a “yes, you’re in a tough situation. How can we make it better?” way. My coworkers want me to succeed and they recognize that success is a long-term goal.

It was tough to ask for help. I didn’t care about “showing weakness” or anything like that. I just wanted to come in, be unbelievably successful, and wow my coworkers into such a state of wonder that I could just sit back and stare out the window all day. But I’m glad I did. It turns out that some of the things I was sweating are small potatoes.

I don’t share this story because there’s any grand lesson in it. I just don’t think we talk about this kind of stuff openly enough. Which reminds me, if you think this is important, go support Open Sourcing Mental Illness.

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