It has been a really rough week at work.
Our company acquired a Californian-based company roughly the same size as ours and we took on all of their work at the beginning of the year, so our work-load has nearly doubled. While my department as a whole may be adequately staffed, my particular team is kind of drowning with all of the things that we have to do.
I’ve been given more responsibilities on my team – which when I write it out makes it sound positive, like they’re rewarding my good work – but in reality it just adds a lot more pressure and stress to what I’m already dealing with.
Monday was particularly bad. We hired a new person on our team, so trying to train him while at the same time get all of my normal work done was nearly impossible. Tuesday wasn’t much better, and I came home that night completely exhausted and in a terrible mood. And then I thought, this is ridiculous. I spend 9-10 hours a day at my job, and the little time I get to spend with Andrew or doing just what I enjoy in the evening is totally tainted by what happened earlier in the day.
I realized, I can’t live like this. So as I got ready the next morning for my day, I tried to think about how I could make this day a better day. I can’t really control my workload, but I can control my attitude. I pondered about how one of my coworkers explained to the new person that the person I was on Monday and Tuesday was the “frazzled, grumpy, stressed out” version of Becca. I didn’t want that to be me or that to be how the new person viewed me.
Today is a good day for a good day.
I’m not sure when or where I first heard this saying, but that’s what popped in to my head that morning. So as I drove in to work, a list of all the things that I had to do piling up in my head, a took a deep breath and said, “Today is a good day for a good day.”
It sounds silly, but all day Wednesday when something popped up that I wasn’t planning on or didn’t go as expected, I repeated that phrase in my head. And I took a deep breath, and it really changed my whole day. While I was still a little stressed about the amount of work I had to get done, I wasn’t frazzled or grumpy – I tackled my tasks one by one with a positive attitude knowing that today had truly been a good day. I came home feeling relaxed and accomplished, and left work at work.
Encouraged by how my attitude completely reshaped my day at work on Wednesday, I had to try it again on Thursday. The morning started off well enough but then the day really started to go down hill. One of the groups in California that I handle submitted a whole afternoon’s-worth of work past their deadline, so I had to scramble to get that done on top of my other work. Then our team lead informed us that because of the winter storm that was supposed to hit the next day, we had to stay late and finish up some payments that needed to go out for tomorrow.
Tired, a little frustrated, feebly telling myself that today was a good day even though it clearly had not been, I went to pull in some payments to get the projections for the next day and I simply clicked the wrong button. It paid all of the files in the system that I simply meant to view and created an absolute nightmare. We had to call financial systems support down and my boss and her boss got involved. That one little wrong button took two hours to fix and we still hadn’t even finished everything that we were supposed to stay late to complete.
I was at work until 7:45pm.
My head was reeling; I was exhausted, almost in tears, and wanted nothing more but to forget that that day had ever happened. When I was finally released to go home, I climbed into my car and started to sob. My little mantra could not have made that day any better and it was hands down the worst day that I’ve ever had not only at this job, but of all the bad days combined from previous jobs.
I felt inadequate, like after the day that I just had I shouldn’t even bother to go back in. I was discouraged, and felt that I couldn’t do anything right.
When I got home, I climbed straight into bed and didn’t even say a word to Andrew. I willed myself to go to sleep, but the events of the day kept replaying through my head and I knew it would be impossible. I realized I could stay in bed and be miserable, or do something about it. So I got up and talked with Andrew. He offered to go get some food so that I could have dinner and then we watched a movie. Nothing particularly profound happened, but I made the decision to move on from what happened at work.
So even though that day was the worst I’ve had in a long time, I just reminded myself that it was one really bad day. I always strive for perfection, even though it’s unattainable, and need to be satisfied in the fact that I’ve simply done my best. I am more than my mistakes. I’m not placing my worth into how successful I am at my job. My sins have already been paid for, and I can take comfort and peace in that.
It’s hard to shake those really bad days, but you have to move on. Telling yourself you’re going to have a good day doesn’t magically make it The Best Day Ever, but we’ve all got hope in better tomorrows.