A few times in the last couple of weeks, I had felt a little disillusioned. I had a few ‘woe is me’ moments and probably cried once or twice quietly in the bathroom at work. Not because anyone upset me but because I had suffered a bout of extreme fatigue and had been absolutely overwhelmed with work to my bones, knees and soul. I felt silly crying but better after. Its felt like certain days I have only been able to move as a result of gravity. I could barely keep my eyes open most days. I am a coffee enthusiast which is really terrible for my condition but life is unfair so I have decided it’s one thing I wouldn’t give up. So I have had more and more coffees recently.
I questioned the purpose of work and what days like the last couple of weeks meant. I had to adopt what I call my ‘robot girl mode’ and I only slip into that mode when there is a conscious need to do so- like returning from a lovely holiday and landing Heathrow. It’s the ‘switch’!
This is coming from an extremely hardworking person with the craziest work ethic I could possibly muster. I am usually tired as a result of my anaemia but I tend to get on with stuff and undertake tens of projects at the same time and achieve the end results. But when I say “I am fatigued”, I have reached rock bottom physically. I rest twice as much as I work but there are times when I cannot physically find any time for rest because I compete with myself to achieve great outcomes for conflicting priorities.
I am contracted to work 37.5hrs a week but I have done some mad hours recently, ranging from 50hrs a week to 60 p.w not taking into account other hours I do outside my main employment.
For a lover of work-life balance and a girl who loves to play and work hard, it’s been extremely difficult to function out of that comfort zone of mine.
I really enjoy spending time with people I really really like. It’s important to me to do so because I have learned that life is too short and so when I feel like one part of my life (my career- which is equally an important part) is taking me away from being with people I love, I start to feel out of touch with life.
My career is important to me. Afterall, we all spend time building it and working hard. But my dad always says you want to look back when you have peaked your career and give yourself a good pat on the back for the terrific things you have achieved because people will talk about you and acknowledge your work when you do great things. However, he says always continue to build those important relationships and never put work ahead of anything. Balance is a critical factor to my existence.
I need a great career to enable me achieve my infinite (expensive) bucket list.
I never seek validation for my work but everyone needs some motivation from the people who matter in an organisation. I got an amazing appraisal yesterday. Someone even used the f-word to express an adjective that put emphasis on how brilliant she thought I was. I burst into laughter and I felt so damn good.
But this came with its limitations as I haven’t spoken to Mum or Dad as much as I do and would love to. Haven’t spent any time with my brother recently. I crawl out of bed at ungodly hours of the morning to get to the office early and I return home after dinner time. This means I have barely spent any time with my buh either. I rarely even say goodbye to him in the mornings as I hate the thought of waking him up that early so I tiptoe between the bathroom and bedroom and end up creeping out of the door. But I am a lucky girl because I know I would have ended up skipping dinners if I didn’t have him. The thought of making dinner after leaving the office at 8pm never comes to mind.
I haven’t spoken to some of my best friends in weeks. Sonia, Jermaine, Ijay, Sandra, and lots of loved ones.
I mean weeks…
I speak to Sonia nearly every morning on my way to work.
I haven’t seen my god-children or had any headspace for them recently.
My sister has been the only one sort of very engaged in this madness and somehow we still get a chance to speak or text daily, no matter how monosyllabic and vague those conversations are. I gave her the heads up weeks before I delved into this intensity so she was well aware of my situation.
I have missed working out recently, haven’t had my meditations or any sort of wellness recently.
I am behind on admin functions with my mentoring programme and there are more requests for mentoring coming up.
I missed the board meeting for my support group this week, forgot to attend an event I was invited to at the All Party Parliamentary reception, haven’t opened my posts for weeks, behind on my emails, my blogs, articles, books, tv series, movies, other personal projects and planning for my holidays.
But I know on 31st October, things will settle and it will be worth something beautiful in my career.
Over the last 9 weeks, I have written the maternity transformation strategy for the whole of East London (all 7 boroughs) and this will potentially come with investment from the Department of Health/Treasury for the local population to transform maternity services for local women of East London. The outcome for me is that we receive at least half of what we require (£). The report will be submitted to NHS England and will be widely published. There are 6 providers of maternity services in East London. This should you give an indication of the level of work involved. I work for 20 organisations as a partnership and maternity is just one workstream I lead on.
But in all of this, the most important thing is the outcomes for local women including myself (perhaps in the future) to have the best quality of world class care from maternity services esp given that I reside in East London, I hope I can benefit from it.
To top it all, the highlights of these terrible weeks came with these emails from the lovely ladies I work with (quite senior people, I must add) including the most amazing feedback from my exec lead, a woman who isn’t that easy to please. She said, “June, this is an amazing piece of work and will be a positive footprint for other workstreams”.
I take pride in my work.
Today I caught up with most people I haven’t spoke with. I spoke to Ijay my friend, text Juno, saw a movie with my brother, text Sandra to arrange a meet up, had a lie in with my man and had fresh hot croissants and latte brought to me in bed! Spoke to Dad, text Mum and feel like I am back to life.
After I press send on 31st October. I would be a happy girl looking forward to her long haul holiday and an amazing Christmas and start to a new year.
Note to self: Hard work and determination is an amazing thing but never lose yourself in work…