Red and Me

I think my short stint as a staff at the Red is coming to an end, and I'm feeling disappointed and vulnerable.

From October to December, which is our spring/summer, we were very busy and Jay was away a lot, so I was less the computer Girl Friday I was meant to be, but more a sitter. Which wasn't a problem because I liked being there and appreciated the income. She gave me the fun job of being in charge of the greeting cards, too. I always imagined that after the real summer rush was over, she and I would sit down and discuss my role and her expectations and training for the gallery stuff. Because we had no job description and only a verbal contract, as these things are done a lot of the times in Nelson.

Then I was away in January. A new staff with tons of experience joined while I was away and the first time I went back to work, I was introduced to her as, among other things, the person in charge of the cards. Well, OK, then.

But then my hours started to get cut, I became preoccupied with the house thing, I had to ask to have the days changed because of it, and I miscalculated the time I had for one job, so I worked for her for free for two days to get it done, which was done in time. But though the file is centered, the printed material didn't come out centered, which annoyed both of us.

Then I couldn't work because of the foot thing, the new person instigated new things, or at least I sensed so, my hours were further reduced, a regular task of mine was given to someone else this month without my knowledge. The new person never made eye contact with me until this month when I gave her money towards Jay's birthday present. Strange. Most crucially, I got a little confused about an important file and spent yesterday rebuilding it. And though I have no intention of blaming anyone but me, because I could have had more backups, kept paper backups, etc., the file in question was "updated" the day after I was last at work.

The very reduced hours and the changes taking place in the gallery made me take my job lightly at first, and then I started to dread going in. I know that's when I make mistakes. I was most relieved when she emailed me she didn't need me, but going in so sporadically I lost continuity and couldn't even remember when the last time was I worked without consulting my notes. I hate working like that. I became unattached to the work, Jay and Red. And Jay was becoming decreasingly thrilled to see me.

I'm disappointed because I know I've been an unreliable employee since January. I'm disappointed because at the last office job I had, in a lawyers' office in 2004, I was also detached, uncommitted and therefore no good and lasted six months. I can dress it up and say things like I operate on a different mode now, I appreciated the experience, or that this is a new beginning, but for now I'm disappointed at myself.

It's also been six days since our building project officially concluded, and I thought my Preposterous 2009 was really finally starting, but I didn't hold on to my sanity as well as I thought I had, and now feelings are crashing down on me. The worst part is, Claire, the psychologist who got me started on a brilliantly upward track last year, has well and truly left Nelson, so I have to go see her colleague. We met Dr Eva's brother Dr Tom, our new GP, yesterday and he was lovely, but he wasn't Eva. So I am feeling vulnerable. And it's easy to blame external reasons, but if I can't fix me, the external stuff won't go away. Ben's worried about how much the house project is costing us; it'll end up probably twice the estimates. So we had to commit not to go to the writing retreat this year. And we forgot our anniversary yesterday.

We so need some time off, but I hesitate to ask, because externally, my life looks like one long time off. So, time out on the inside for a while. That's after Jay and I have the last "talk". "Impasse" was the word she started to use yesterday, before we got interrupted by customers, but in retrospect we've possibly been building up to it from the very beginning.


  1. I think Jay had a soft spot for me, but saw the job as not a soft job. I, on the other hand, confused the two. On the other hand, I feel I've been gradually pushed by an unforeseen force since Jan, and I finally got sick of fighting back, because the job is costing me so much emotional time.

  2. powerful positive vibes for you dear Meg.

    go make some art to heal the wounds. A colouring book. A voodoo doll. A ripped up shredded scarf with paint, caulk and nails in it. Or maybe a box to hide in? Show your emotion as art.

    more powerful positive vibes.

  3. I would try to see the dwindling job as a blessing that you will be free to pursue things which you are more passionate about.

    And I'd think of that new card girl, as most likely uncomfortable or at least deserving of the position she has stepped into.

    Now, pour a lovely cup of tea and stoke the fire would you, please? the best therapy you provide comes from within.

    Love and encouragement.

  4. A depressing job is definitely a bad link in the cycle of depression/uplift. If you need to cut it out then feel free to borrow my scissors. While you need to evaluate what went wrong. don't do it when you're down. Have a cup of tea, spend some time with the textiles, and let yourself recover from the trauma that is building work.

  5. I know that cost, the emotional time. You will never get payed for it. It's just destructive.

  6. Sorry but that sounds like the wrong job for you. "Detached and uncommitted" makes me think it's the jobs that are boring. It's not your fault.

    Hold your head up Meg, respect yourself. You are clearly an interesting, intelligent and talented person. Not your fault life's tough.

    Best advice anyone ever gave me was "don't put yourself down, there's enough other people will do that for you". It pulled me up short and changed my life. I learnt to cut the self criticism to the level where it wasn't harmful.

  7. Thanks, everybody, for your kind words. I'm OK, just a little slow to get back on the saddle again.

  8. Life is too short and unpredictable too spend your time in a work situation that you don't love. However, you still have to allow yourself to grieve for the job you are leaving behind -- even if you didn't enjoy it.

  9. Oh Meg, you are such a lovely person, that job obviously just wasn't right for you. Do some weaving, spend some time just for you - and Ben - and do some writing. Just because you can't go to the writers' retreat (and I'm really sorry to hear that because I know how good it is), don't feel you can't do some serious writing. You DO write well, I can vouch for that. I love reading your blog and I think my life will be abit more organised now so I'll be able to keep up to date. So, it's nearly a year since we were at The Portage - and I'm so pleased I met you there.

  10. Thanks, Holly and Carol. The grieving for the job took only one day, and 2 shots of rum with lime, and a long bath. Everything worked out for the better today, and I'll blog about it before the weekend, I promise.

    Carol, I was going to ask you if you were coming back this year. If not, we'll just have to come over to NSW, I think.

  11. uh Meg? Did you realise that Carol lives in the same town as I do (according to her Blogger profile thingy). (hi Carol) so YES, COME TO NSW!

  12. I knew she lived in NSW, but she's recently moved so I'm not 100% sure where she is. It would be so convenient if it's the same town.


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