I happened to notice this past Sunday that I was free from the “Sunday scaries.” I’ve always experienced: that common anxiety toward the end of the weekend that comes so often with the coming week. Even during periods of my life where work didn’t feel like trauma and pain, where I actually enjoyed showing up somewhere, where I liked seeing the people I saw every day, even then, Sunday evenings have always come with a certain tension, an inability to relax and enjoy myself because of all the tasks I had coming to me in the morning, either real or imagined. On one hand, it’s a little confusing because I don’t feel that same anxiety on any other four weeknights that precede the other workdays. But part of me wonders if it’s just a function of difficulty with transitions in general playing out in the transition of weekend to weekday.
This past Sunday, I looked at my partner and said, “I am actually excited to go to work tomorrow,” and it was the truth. I feel like I’ve finally found a job at a company that values me for who I am and what I’m capable of without me having to “flex” into something else or struggle to be something I am not, which has been my experience throughout my career. The past week and a half have come with a lot of promise and hope, starting a new job that feels like I’ve finally found “the one.” What’s more promising is the people I’m meeting are transparent about their challenges. Even during the interview process, it seemed like they were more nervous about luring me in under false pretenses and really wanted me to know the volume of work I was signing up for by taking this job. It’s a stark contrast from previous roles where the optics were of utmost importance. What the thing was did not matter as much as what the thing looked like and how it was communicated and how it was received, where it seems like here, we are mostly just concerned about the “thing”, what it is, how it functions. It’s ok if it’s a little ugly or unfinished or misunderstood because we can deal with all that later. It feels more tangible to me.
So tell me why I am miserable today for no discernible reason. I feel physically exhausted. I woke up this morning with a sore back, but I’ve woken up that way every morning for the past month or so. I got about as much sleep as I always get. I had too much junk food last night and my body just feels uncomfortable on multiple levels. And while I’m still excited about work and the culture here and the chance to make my own decisions and do the things I want to do and how I want to do them, there’s some creeping doubt telling me I can’t do this.
I can kind of picture how I want things to go. I can conjure an image in my head of what this job might look like a year or two down the road but I have no clear vision of how to get there. I don’t think I can do this. I have been too anxious to go down to where the rest of my team sits and visit with them today because I don’t have anything to say and I’m not sure I can stomach another awkward moment of just standing around staring out the window, not sure if I should be saying something else or walking away. And if I were to walk away, do I say something before I go or do I just leave? I also don’t know if they’re busy and I’m intruding or bothering them. I can’t stop thinking about all the times so far I’ve just stood there for way too long and then eventually walked away awkwardly. They must thing I’m really odd. And I don’t want them to think I’m odd so I won’t go there. But I’m not quite sure what to do with myself and this lack of a clear direction is making me feel useless. I was sitting at my desk almost in tears but I was distracted by IT installing some software on my computer before I could fully break down.
What is wrong with me?
I wanted this job. I want to do this job. I think I can do this job. Most days I want to do this job. Today I just want to sleep.