May was a month that happened. I’m not exactly sure how it happened or how well it happened, but it’s done. Part of me would like to talk about how much I missed this space, if only for a month, but that part of me would be a liar. Not only did I really need the break, but I really didn’t have any time to write. Actually…no, that’s a lie too, because I did have time to write, except that I actively chose to use that time to do other things, like sleeping. Because that’s a thing that people have to do every now and again.
Oh, but seriously, I am glad to be back here, and, for the time being anyway, it looks like I’ll be back to my normal schedule. I’m going to use the Wednesdays this month to catch up on my “Play or Pass” posts – I’ve got four planned, and hopefully four will happen. Mondays remains Mondays, and an iTunes Diary entry will be back at the end of the month.
So here’s an awkward segue: I want to the rest of this text block to talk about being in charge. At work. Maybe in life, but mostly at work.
With my recent promotion came a major change for me – I was suddenly in charge. While I was not the boss, I became a boss. A boss in charge of my very own department. It was the next natural step from my former job as an assistant in this department. And all the while we were negotiating the new contract, never once do I think I truly considered what that would me for me. As I found out rather brutally last month, being in charge is the best thing ever and it’s the worst thing ever.
This job marks the first time that I’ve been officially “in charge” of my own space. Up till now, I’ve pretty much only made it up to second banana to any head honcho. And that’s always been okay with me. I was fine with not having to be the one making the big, hard decisions. I was fine with managing projects that were handed to me from a higher source. Being “second” was always a very safe space. I mean, just think of Commander Riker and Captain Picard. I liked being Riker, cool and confident in my position without all the bells, whistles, and bullshit that comes with possessing true command. True, being Number Two doesn’t get you much in the way of glory and recognition, but those are things I’ve never cared much about anyway.
On one hand, all sorts of power has come with being in charge, and that’s wonderful. And necessary. Because I need to have control over how my department functions. My to-do lists still remain packed with various tasks, only more of them take now on “big picture” thinking and planning. I’m privy to new levels of information and access, which I need to complete all the planning and doing. Rather than tackling projects from the middle up, I get to build them from scratch, and then delegate responsibilities as I see fit. I get to say “no” to things I think aren’t right for me, the department, or the organization. (And if I don’t get to say “no,” then I at least get to honestly verbalize my opinions.) And I get to say “yes” to things that I believe will benefit me, the department, and the organization.
On the other hand, with great power comes great responsibility, right? Well, in just the past month, my host of responsibilities has skyrocketed. I now have to answer to and help other departments that I didn’t have to before. I have more meetings, more email, more phone calls, and fewer moments to plan for all that “big picture” stuff. I have to navigate the awkward waters of personnel conflicts. I have to make sure that budgets are settled and projects get done on time. Because if they aren’t and they don’t, it’s solely my fault. I have to make sure that our supporters are happy, if to the point of giving up my own sanity at times. Because that’s how things are. To all this I agreed when I signed my name on the dotted line.
I used to go home feeling fairly accomplished at the end of most days. Last month, I went home most days feeling anxious. Nervous that I had forgotten to call someone important back. Tired from too much coffee. (Oh, how that habit kicked straight into first gear!) Stressed at the fact that somehow I was supposed to cram a week’s worth of overlooked tasks (my backburner is on fire) into the next day that was filled with one too many meetings. I was never a multi-tasker before, and I’m soooo not one now. It takes me a good bit of time to get started with something. And if I get interrupted, it takes me even more time to get back into that groove again. My days are much more unfocused than ever before, hence the current desire to favor sleep over being social, blogging, or hell, even gaming. Fact of the matter is that I’m too distracted to be distracted.
I get that these issues aren’t groundbreaking in terms of humans who go to work every day, but they are new to me, a new boss. At this late-ish stage in my life, I’m quizzical about what the future may hold. I’m sure that much of this self-doubt that I’ve built up will melt away as I become more comfortable being in charge, but I don’t know. I honestly don’t. All I know is that I love my job and I want to be the best at it. I’m sure things will fall into place.