Friday, April 14, 2006

Time to make another decision

I can't believe how long it has been since I have posted here.

Early in sobriety, a man told me, "If you're sober, and you've made a bad decision, you have the option to simply make another decision. Drunk, the only option you have is to say 'the hell with it,' and keep drinking. Sober, you've still got a choice."

Well, I've made a bad decision. And it's time to make a new one.

Back on January 13th, I wrote these prophetic words:
Without being hideously disloyal to my new employer (who I really, really love), the process of "going live" for our latest major client has been a minefield of screw-ups, and we've hit a whole bunch of them in the 10 short days since we cut live. Our small band of intrepid warriors have been battling bad converted data, bad software and systems interfaces, and a genuine lack of disseminated data about the client. Consequently, I've been at the office until 1 AM the last three days, and this weekend promises to be another long one.

There have been thoughts, especially in the last 24 hours, that I've given up one form of being half-alive for a slightly better-compensated form of the same condition. That there has to be more to life than this. That I did much better at this schedule at thirty-eight than I am doing at forty-eight. My info-technology skills picked up a lot of rust and barnacles over the last three years of getting into (and out of) seminary, and I have heard the voices in my head saying, "You're just not the right person for all this."
That voice has gotten a lot louder, recently.

It's not even the biweekly "Hell Week" runs, which have consistently kept me at work (and as the last person on deck) until 3:15 - 3:30 AM. It's the fact that even as they have added more people - supposedly, to help out - my job has become more about helping them out, and less about doing my own work. The result is that today, I am further behind than I have ever been, with no end in sight. People are continuing to send everyone on the team messages like, "I expect an answer by 4:00 PM today" - and I'm getting the email at 5:15.

The simple fact is, I really don't believe I have gone three days without breaking down in tears at work since the first of March. When I left the office at 5:20 yesterday, I left with 6 hours worth of work that needed to be done before the stroke of midnight.

And I just didn't freakin' care. Not a bit. Not at all.

I've put on weight that I can ill-afford to carry. My blood-sugar regulation has been in the dumpster for months now. I'm not sleeping; my apartment looks like a crack-den, because I have no energy or will to clean it when I get home.

And I should have worked all last night, too. And I even brought my laptop home to do it.

Instead, I ate way too much carry-out food and watched Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith, which has been waiting to be watched since mid-Februrary. (Thank God for Netflix and no late fees...)

As a friend fondly says, "How low do you have to go before you know you've hit bottom?"

Well, I'm not sure, brother - but I'm in the right neighborhood.

I love my boss...well, my former boss. She was laterally-transferred off the project as a sacrificial lamb to the corporate weenies. She didn't fail - none of us have - but she was at the helm as things were going down (even though the engines and the rudder and the navigation were all sabotaged before we even got on board), so she was the one shunted aside.

My dear friend, to whom I gave the Music From The Neighborhood CD (back here), also ended up being set-up as the bad-girl for several high-visibility screw-ups - most of which were caused my our near-fatal lack of knowledge about the system we're running. She ended up quitting the day after I gave her the CD. She took a week off - and then came back, and was shuffled to a new client (a slightly less dysfunctional one). Sadly, she's no happier - although she is going home at 5:30 a lot more (whereas we are going home at 5:30 only when we can no longer stand it).

So yesterday was Maundy Thursday - commemorating the Last Supper. And it was my own personal "Can't You make this stop?" kind of cry. I made it to one of my three regular AA meetings a week (the only one I make during the regular work week) and it helped a lot. But I still feel like sitting down in a garden and crying out to God.

The two big differences, of course are that I am not even remotely like Jesus, these days - and that I also can choose to walk away from the cross.

So we'll see what this day brings. My employer may well try to crucify me for the work that has not been done. But I'm all done killing myself for the greater corporate good.

If you're the praying type, pray for me.


tink said...

I am the praying type and I do pray for you- in your post you atated you felt like crying out to God in the garden; So what's stopping you, cry out to Him, friend He is your Father, and He welcomes you, always there. Sometimes, to me at least , it seems that when I'm on the verge of breaking down- those can be the sweetest moments of fellowship with the Lord; and in my humbled state of admitting defeat, or feeling discouraged, God uses that time to let me know that i am his and He is here for me, I 've come to call these moments in life workable moments, I am humbled, maybe broken, like when I lost my dad to cancer, but in His grace and mercy and love He took me in His arms, so to speak and said it's o.k.- I am here, and that made all the difference in "my garden".
Peace be upon you,

wesd said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
wesd said...

You're doing fine.

When you stop running the rat-race, you have to wait patiently as the rats chasing you pass. If you aren't doing it perfectly, you're still doing it.

"You must wait for the promise made by my Father..."

Peter said...

Yo, Steve man. Decisions hard a-starboard!

Ed said...

We'll activate the ol' morning crew, brother!

Erin said...

Hope they're compensating you enough. You seem to be giving them a huge portion of your life and health. There is no such thing as corporate loyalty anymore (as you well know)... so I hope they're making it worth it for you.

AnotherLostAngel said...


no deep wisdom here tonight..just hopes and prayers that you are looked out for by your God...I knew your gig was hard but I didnt realize it was so stalinesque.....maybe its time to pull the pin, or maybe time to just detatch with love..homnestly I dont know...whenever I am faced with one of those decisions I make the wrong may the force be with you...and may god watch over you this easter and always...

You know, there are millions of guys like me who dont know squat about computers...yet every penny of our livelyhood is governed by that little plastic box...there may be a career as a free lance consultant, starting out little by little...who knows?


Anonymous said...

Brother Steve,
Know that you too are loved! Keep between the yellow lines and your chin up.
Brother Z

Jennifer G Brownell said...

More prayers from a praying type....

New Life said...

praying for you bro. Steve, what are you doing to take care of yourself? How are you loving yourself, bro?

Man, when I read about your work I am screaming, "Stop!!! You are going to kill yourself with this pace."

I am praying for you. I know words come easy. God's peace.

Anonymous said...

Anything that comes to mind would sound I'll just "ditto" what Rick said. I'll be praying that God will show you a way to either step back or step out.

Sue said...

Praying here too Steve.

Keith Brenton said...

If you can't tell from all the responses above this one, you are deeply loved - and not just by your Creator.

Trust Him.

And pray for the wisdom to recognize the rescue boats by the One who sends them ... rather than perish on the roof of the house in rising floodwaters!

Heidi Renee said...

praying here too - keep us posted, k?

A Troll At Sea said...

This sounds like a Gethsemane cry to me. The big difference between him who voiced the original and the rest of us is that we are usually not able to move to "your will, not mine, be done". And we are not REQUIRED to cross that line more than once in our lives, if at all; as with him, it must be a free-will offering.
What you are describing sounds like something so far below wage-slavery as to require a new name. Not to mention that it makes working in the theater for twenty five years look like one long picnic.
I'm not sure what you hear in your cry, but what I hear is: find me a way to get out. If that's what you hear, take any door, take any window, tunnel out if you have to. What you describe sounds like a very slow, very painful death; the old Chinese empire used to sentence some criminals to the death of a thousand slices, and yes, it was pretty much what it sounds like. There were never that many, of course, because nobody lasted that long, but you get the idea. Don't sign up for it.
perhaps off-base
but not entirely off-kilter

Michael Dodd said...

There is, I think, a Russian proverb that says when the boat is sinking, pray to God, but keep rowing to shore. This situation -- without placing blame anywhere -- simply sounds intolerable. As far as I know, there are three options for intolerable situations: change the situation if you can, get out of it if necessary or change your perception of it. Only you know which of those is right -- and possible -- for you, and I am confident that God who saved you from the shipwreck does not intend to let you die on the seashore. There is a difference between self-sacrifice and suicide.

Meanwhile, the God who saved me from shipwreck came up with a most unexpected job at the last moment -- as usual -- and I am sure God has more blessings in store for you, too. Open to receive.

Im A Foto Nut said...

Phillipians 4:13 dude.