Thursday, February 23, 2017

Time to stop letting former colleague live Rent-Free in my head

About a year ago I started a new job.  It's probably about as close to my dream job as I'm gonna get in this lifetime.  I have a lot of autonomy, am paid well and enjoy good benefits.  It's still work and there are the usual Corporate America frustrations that come with most white collar office jobs. 

That said, there was one conflict I had to deal with.  An overzealous coworker who was also assigned to be my mentor and unofficial supervisor.

I'm gonna call him Nearly Headless Nick like the ghost from the Harry Potter series.  He wasn't a bad guy and we got along well enough except in the power struggle area.  My real boss has a lot on his plate and asked Nearly Headless to manage me.  He took this task to heart and really tried to over-manage me.

I don't want this to be a gripe about a coworker but I want to point out one form of psychological warfare he played on me.   My team is on the East Coast and I work in our Chicago office.   So we do the majority of our interaction electronically.  Email, Instant Messenger and phone. 

Over a two week period of time, I would come into the office, sit at my desk from 8am (okay 8ish) and not get up until 1, 2 or 3 in the afternoon to take lunch.  No matter when I took lunch (full disclosure I eat lunch at my desk but then go to the gym next door to get some semblance of a workout in), I would come back to an IM and email asking me for something. 

I don't know what the odds are of this happening but it has to be an incredible coincidence that he didn't need anything from me until I left my desk! 

The coworker is long gone.  But he is still living rent-free in my head.  I get stressed out in the morning when I'm trying to get my kids to daycare and get to work on time.  I stress when I go to work out and the elevator takes a little longer, or God forbid I spent a little too much time in the post-workout sauna. To be clear, I'm not spending hours at the gym, I either run 3 miles or swim 10 laps, that's about all I can manage in an hour when you factor in clothes changing and showering.  Even with the gym right next door, it takes the better part of 10 minutes to get from my desk to the locker room.

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  1. Oh no that sounds horrible! But, you know, it can take a while for those feelings to fade - especially from someone like that. It's taken me almost 2 years to realize that I'm my own boss and it's not the end of the world if I don't get back to someone right away. It's a little different of a situation, but I remember that guilty feeling even though you are totally allowed to take an hour lunch break - even if you work from home. Totally damaging. But I promise it will eventually go away!

  2. Thanks. It's roughest on days when Moose & Squirrel make me late for work,I stress so much. But I do get a little better each day.


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