May 3rd, 2011

#2698: Nothing but heartbreak and agony

God damn it.

Here I sit after getting four goddamned hours of sleep. That's after going for seventeen hours yesterday on less than four hours of sleep; one would think that a person who pushed himself that fucking hard would be able to get some goddamned sleep. I was in bed at 8:30. I didn't fall to sleep until after 11, and that required Xanax. And then I woke up at 3:30.

I can't do this.

It doesn't matter how good the money is if I get into a wreck because I fell asleep at the wheel. Working 100 miles from home means driving four hours per day--I've timed each and every trip and it's never been less than 1.75 hours--and if there's anything I have do to besides go to work and come home I have to run at top speed. I spent the three hours after getting home yesterday on chores, including making myself dinner so that I could actually eat a home-cooked meal rather than fast food, and I ended up having time only to shower before going to bed.

For the past week I have been worried that what I was struggling with was sheer laziness: for the past couple of years my main job (taking care of Mom) has not involved a lot of real serious work, and I was thinking that I'd gotten too comfortable.

But there are limits to what you can do on determination alone. And when you're spending 12 waking hours just on work--and getting to it and coming home from it--there's not a lot left over for anything else in your life.

I don't want to live in Rantoul. Forget the fact that I don't like the feel of the area; I have no support structure there. No family, no friends; and that's what I hated about being in the hotel there last week: that's what I have to look forward to if I continue this. Go to work, come home, eat something, watch anime/play WoW. Go to bed and do it again the next day; and God help you if you get locked out of your house or need help with moving a piece of furniture, because there's no one around to help you. Being alone all the time because you suck at making new friends.

In the past week I've been struggling with all this because I can't stomach the idea of quitting--and only after a week at that--but damn it, I'm not seeing any upside to all of this other than income, and it's simply not enough incentive for me.

I'd rather work some $10-per-hour job around here than drive four hours per day just to get to work. I mean, if I were being paid to drive it wouldn't be such a problem; if it were part of the job (such as a job like Og's got, doing on-site service) it wouldn't be an issue either. Especially since it wouldn't mean getting up at 4 AM every day to get to work by 7.

If it were an hour's drive, rather than two, that would be doable too.

But get up at 4:30 in order to leave by 5 to get to work by 7, work until 3:30 and then drive for two more hours to get home by 5:30, leaving you three hours for everything else before bed?

"People do it!" They do. I'm not "people"; I'm me. I'm pretty weak and stupid, but I know my limits, and I've hit them. I'm not proud of it and I really wish it were otherwise, but what the hell can I possibly do?

#2699: WTF is wrong with me?

Here's what I know:
I need a job, because I need income
the job at Rantoul is a good job with good pay
I don't have a choice about working
It's very hard to find jobs right now
I can't afford to be picky
if I don't do everything I can to make this work I'll regret it
the commute is, after all, impossible
I am utterly miserable.
That's what I know.

I don't know what the hell my problem is.

Look: every single job I've ever gotten--every one--I have approached with optimism and the expectation of success. I have never, never, ever felt like this about any job I've ever held, whether it was stocking shelves, writing technical manuals, fixing computers, or wiping butts.

Why not now?

Why do I approach each day with dread? Why can't I sleep when I know I'm going to work the next day? What is it about that place--with nice people and decent work environment and good pay--that fills me with such dismay whenever I think about being there every day of the week?

Is it laziness? Or is it something else? And why can't I figure it out?

Okay: having tried the commute once this week, I guess it's pretty obvious that it's a no-go. If I'd been staying in a hotel room down there, four hours of sleep would have been problematic but doable, because I'd only have to drive fifteen minutes and staying awake for a drive that short is usually not a problem. It's when you're going down a long, straight stretch of road for an hour that "highway hypnosis" sets in and next thing you know you're in a ditch. Especially when you've only gotten eight hours of sleep out of the past two days.

So where am I?

The first thing I need to do is to decide if I really want to continue to work there. The problem is, I DON'T KNOW.

I'm fine when I'm there, for the most part; but the rest of the time I hate it. I don't know why. It's not the work; for all my complaining, I didn't expect the job to be roses and tea in the garden--I expected it to be work, and as far as that goes this job is a ton easier than my job at Target was. (Which, for the record, I generally liked, the bullshit notwithstanding.) Marking, drilling, and tapping a zillion holes is tedious but it's not hard and it's not laborious, and my time at Target was more than enough to prove to me that I can buckle down and do mindless tasks that require physical labor.

It's not the people. Everyone there is pleasant enough. I don't know anybody but that'll come with time, and there are some people I can make small talk with even now.

It's got to be the location; I think I don't want to move. Well, I don't have a choice, do I? If I want the job, I obviously have to move closer to it, and that means taking down the blab slab and moving the computer and all the other stuff that goes with it. Spending money on an apartment instead of spending money on gas; it'll all end up being the same, I suppose, because with gas sitting over $4 per gallon it's about $1,000 per month in fuel to commute. You can get a pretty nice apartment down there, and pay utilities on it, for that.

...and even when I consider that, I realize that--while I don't really want to move--the distaste for moving is not strong enough to cause me to feel like this. I could find a nice place that's got enough room for the cats to romp around in, and not break the bank...and probably end up at least as comfortable there as I am here. And it's close enough that I wouldn't have to bring everything at one go, either; I could easily rent a U-Haul for one trip to move the big stuff, and then just make the occasional trip back for more stuff as time went on. Eventually I'd have everything down there.

* * *

Well, I've gotten two separete pep talks from two different siblings and I've basically been given marching orders: go work asshole. So I've got things to do, and I'd better get on them.

#2700: THAT is what it is.

Trying to get things put together so I can do what needs doing, so there are a bunch of phone calls back and forth, and my brother told me something that hit the nail on the head.

All the stress and pain and everything just poured right out of me. I'm kind of embarassed to say that I cried like a freakin' baby for five minutes, but when he finished saying it, I realized THAT'S WHAT IT IS and I couldn't help myself.

Item: I'm in a situation where I must not fail. It's a good job with a good future, and it pays very well, and the skills I gain there are highly portable.

Item: I've been given nebulous goals at best. The conditions for success over the course of this trial period have not been defined for me. I don't know how to succeed, nor do I know how well I'm doing. No one has told me, "Good job! We're happy with how things are going!" or, in fact, given me any feedback about my performance. I don't even know what their plans are outside of a vague "Well, we're going to see how things go again next week...."

Item: When people have to do well in situations where they don't know what "well" is, it is frightening, highly stressful, and depressing.

It fits! It fits perfectly, and the instant he said it tears began running down my face because I knew that is what my fuckin' problem is with all this.

I'm afraid I'm going to fail, because no one has told me what "success" entails, and I'm not getting any feedback from the people in charge. That's why I approached all this with dread; that's why I can't get my enthusiasm up; that's why I feel better as the day continues.

That last point: I start working, no one yells at me, everthing is fine; so I just do my job and it all works out. But the instant I'm done working, the brain starts back up and I remember no one has said whether or not I'm still working here next week and what am I supposed to be doing?

Understanding the problem is at least half of solving it.

So my next move--well, I really have got stuff I need to do now. Now that I understand why I have been unable to approach this job with the right attitude, that should change, because I can take steps to fix the problem.

So, off I go.