As you’ve probably noticed, my posts dropped off from Monday/Wednesday/Friday to Monday/Friday. I haven’t been posting quite as much on Twitter or commenting on as many blogs.
I think I’ve lost my rhythm. I’m dancing a waltz, but I think the orchestra’s moved on to a tango or a foxtrot, and I just can’t hear the beat.
I’m a dependable old ISTJ, according to the Myers-Briggs test. I’m someone who works best with a regular schedule.
My old job was get up at 6, leave by 7:15, home by 6 pm, bed by 10. Weekends off. Time off scheduled way in advance.
Life was predictable, and I liked it. Having a predictable schedule, and the rhythm that creates, allowed me to work hard at work and work extra tasks into my week, like carving time out of the evenings and weekends to get an MBA or to teach Sunday School.
When I lost the job, I got into a different pattern. Take the kid to school, computer time in the mornings and early afternoon, pick up the kid, do kid stuff in the late afternoon and evening, cook dinner, get ready for bed. It was generally easy to get things done, except for those times we went out of town or Little Bit was tracked out.
My current job has an erratic and unpredictable schedule, and it’s kind of driving me nuts. One day, I work 9-6, the next 12-4, the next 8-1 with a marketing assignment 5-8. I work split shifts. I work weekends. The amount of hours varies week to week. The pay varies by assignment.
All of these factors make it hard for me to get into a rhythm to balance my work and other commitments. I rush from task to task, trying to get everything done. I feel I’m not getting as effective at any of the tasks I need to do, because I just don’t have a structure to fit all of my commitments into.
This job also has a known end date. I need to be hunting for something else, and that’s a distraction as well as a time sink.
I’m not complaining. At least I’m trying not to complain. i needed to get back into the work world, and this job is giving me an opportunity.
It’s income, and we need it.
I’m learning a lot. For instance, now that I have a boss who says “tell your clients you have to have 5s on the survey,” I’m a lot more sympathetic than I was when I wrote about surveys two months ago.
(Getting a 4, which is ostensibly “good” on a 5 point scale, still makes one’s scores drop below acceptable. I still think it’s a problem with the survey system (why is “good” bad and “great” acceptable?) I’ll think twice before not giving a top score for service that I have no complaints with next time I’m asked to judge someone else.)
Dropping the Ball
So, bottom line, having a job is a good thing. but….
Have you ever tried juggling? You have to have the right movements in the right pattern. Get the right pattern, and with a small change you can add more balls in the air. But if you don’t establish that initial pattern, the balls get away from you. You’re having to chase them down all over the room, behind the couch, and down the hall.
I can’t seem to get my pattern started. I feel like I’m not even trying to toss more than a couple of balls in the air, and they’re still landing on my head instead of staying in the air.
(Which is pretty much the result when i try to juggle balls, too, but at least I can usually make my daughter laugh with it.)
I’ve had trouble pulling three articles a week together (much less hitting my New Year’s resolution of getting a couple of posts ahead or making some much needed adjustments on the blog.) Heck, sometime I feel like I’ve had trouble getting one good article together.
I’ve had trouble being the good attentive mom and wife I feel I usually am. Jon’s taken over more stuff, like more of the cooking and more time with Little Bit. I’ve been more stressed and irritable.
I’ve had trouble taking care of myself by spending time with friends and getting good exercise.
I don’t think it’s the time commitment with my job. I’ve balanced full time work, mothering a small child, and getting a graduate degree all at the same time, without feeling as adrift as I feel right now. But there was an inherent structure in that life that’s missing now.
I’ve lost my regular schedule, and I’ve lost my mojo.
So, what can you do but keep dancing, even when you lose your rhythm?
My dance may be uncomfortable and ungainly, but I still need to dance.
I still need to work, be a good mom and wife, maintain the house, blog look for a more permanent position, and take care of myself.
I still need to find a rhythm that works for me.
It takes time to adjust to a new beat. Maybe if I keep going, I’ll find my rhythm again, and adjust to a less regular schedule. If I keep dancing, maybe I’ll hear the beat I’ve been missing and dance through my tasks a little more easily. I just have to keep listening and moving,.
Maybe I’ll find another job with a more regular schedule so that I can manage my life more easily. Maybe I’ll find a beat I can dance to more easily: a waltz instead of a tango.
Or maybe, I need to ask for help. What hints do you have when you’re feeling overwhelmed with managing just the basics? What do you do when you lose your rhythm in the dance of life? Because right now, I can use a little hint, and I’m not afraid to ask.
Got a suggestion for balancing or plugging on for someone who’s lost and struggling? I could use it right now, friends.
Top Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net with changes