I've been traveling again for work.
Monday night I had dinner with coworkers. I went back to my hotel, logged back onto my work laptop, and tried to start getting shit done.
Work's been pretty crazy lately.
After about an hour in which everything I tried to do failed to take, I started feeling guilty for going out to dinner. I already knew i'd have to work late every night this week, plus probably both days this weekend, if I wanted to make my Monday deadline.
In another hour or so I was crying. (Still in front of my computer, still trying to do work.) I realized I felt guilty for taking the time to eat food that day. I realized that while I love working for my current company, I was at the point where I was going to start looking for new jobs (I'd already emailed a recruiter back on LinkedIn that day) because I was ready to fucking jump ship and get the hell out of there. But I like my boss. I realized I'd been in this role for 8 months, which was depressing, because every single month as my deadline has approached I have told myself, "don't worry, next month, it will be better." And this is 8 months in and no, it hasn't gotten better, not one whit.
So I did a very scary, very adult thing.
I wrote my boss an email. (I wrote a few drafts first.)
"I don’t think I can continue testing for XXX the way that I have been doing. I realized today I have been in this role for 8 months and for at least 6 of those months I have been constantly stressed: either I feel my hands are tied, or that I am working myself to the bone to meet a deadline that often, much to my upset, is missed anyway (due to exceptions, work not being done, business pushback, or whatever).
Tonight I am sitting in front of my computer trying to update the June testing calendar (which is not working for some reason) and all I can think of is the 30 [system name] screenshots I still need to get, that I was going to get tonight. And now it’s 8:30 and I feel guilty for having gone out to dinner because I feel like I should have spent that time working. That’s not right. I feel like I need to work late every night this week and both days this weekend if I want to meet deadlines. That’s not right. Unfortunately, this is the way I have felt almost every month for the past 6-8 months. I have to admit that I can’t do this anymore.
I hope we can try to talk about this. I am feeling a little emotional right now but I have to admit that I have not been happy with this situation for some time now. Maybe we can slim down the big controls (the ones with 20+ attributes), reduce sample sizes, eliminate redundancies (like how we test for insurance fulfilment on 3 different controls), or maybe there are other options. I hope there is something.
I love working with you, but there is nothing that I love about the XXX project.
I did figure, they weren't going to fire me for saying this, and at least I was giving my boss the chance to help fix this situation and keep me, instead of just jumping ship. I kind of figured it was fair. It was better than just jumping to another job at another company that I probably wouldn't like as much.
The very next morning we had a meeting face-to-face with the department head.
They took every single suggestion I made and went with it. I was a little amazed. I walked out of that meeting feeling like I had gotten everything I wanted. I also felt like, at no point did this become an issue of "are you not working hard enough?"
I have to admit that that feeling, the feeling of guilt, that my workload was a result of me not working efficiently, or well, or prioritizing correctly, was what had been holding me back from having this discussion. I was worried that it would all come back on me. I was worried that it was actually my fault, and that I couldn't see it, or that I just needed to work harder. That it was all my failure.
No one felt that way.
I think this is among the most adult things ever that I have done, and I wanted to share it with Hubski. In part because wow, that was a really hard and stressful thing, but for those of you that maybe havent' had to do this or don't know that you can...I tried it. And it worked for me. And no one is going to fire you because you say your workload is too heavy. (They might put you on some sort of 'plan'....I guess it depends...But what I want to say is that, it is worth a shot.)
Look at me guys. I'm...I'm...Adulting.