New contract

Well, one week down for a ten week contract. I am extremely tired. I feel like I’ve burned out – just have that heavy exhausted feeling all the time. I’m not depressed. It’s as if my cells are not getting the oxygen they need from my breath.

The contract is a mixed bags in terms of positives/negatives. The people are nice. I’m with fellow writers who are pretty independent, like me, but also fairly friendly. The Project Manager is acting as boss, and he is younger and fairly soft spoken – I can’t imagine him yelling. The quality assurance person is an older woman, very chatty and seems bright and competent.

The down side to this one is the sheer volume and speed of work required. The company I’m with has committed to completing and enormous amount of procedures in very little time. I’ve already fallen behind, delivering only two procedures when they wanted five. I don’t think anyone actually was able to complete five either, but I suspect I delivered the fewest.

I guess they need volume as opposed to quality. Somehow, I have to be able to produce enough for the right number of check marks on the PM’s spreadsheet, regardless if there is any quality there or not. Not how I like to work.

I feel it is harsh to ask so much from the first week at work. We didn’t get connectivity until end of day Wednesday, or email. First two days then we did more training exercises, though it wasn’t clear that’s what they were at the time.

I am intending to make some kind of plan for myself so I can conform to what’s being asked. It’s just taking me a few days to acclimatize and even figure out what they want and how to give it to them. It’s only ten weeks. I do need to keep this contract if I possibly can, to replenish the storehouses.

I feared I would be let go Friday, after not getting in enough documents, and the PM and QA who had been friendly, suddenly becoming frosty and in the case of the QA, who is nice, worried looking.

Anyway. After becoming enormously afraid and tearful Friday afternoon, going for a walk and coffee to try and compose myself, I made it back to work and at least handed in my two measly documents. I almost quit actually, because the task seemed so impossible. However, I didn’t, and I’ll go back and try to make it work somehow.

I wonder what really causes this exhaustion. This is a challenging contract, but I have this reaction for any new job I take on. I think it’s maybe the stress of clamping down so much on my reactions and triggered feelings. I end up being unable to sleep, I’m so tense. Then I drug myself to sleep, though I also try and do meditation/self-expression/prayer/reading. I am likely not getting proper sleep.

It is so easy for bosses to start seeing me as a problem child. I think it must be something I give off, some vulnerability, some essence of not being competent. I don’t know. It’s hard. Writing about it is bringing all these feelings up. Just being seen as not good enough. That echoes my place in my family – simply not as good as my siblings. Defective. A squashed and hopeless feeling.


  1. Ashana M said:

    It seems like the fear in every situation that you don’t quite know what’s expected and you aren’t sure you are doing everything right might be what is so exhausting. It would be hard to work quickly when you are wondering what the standards are at that particular organization, and then trying to hold all of the emotions in about perhaps not measuring up.

    • Ellen said:

      Hi Ash – yes, that’s true – I don’t know what is expected. And it is hard to work quickly when so much is new – the email system, the browser, the template, as well as the subject matter I’m describing. Also of course all the people. And I know I’m not measuring up, it’s a simple metric. I tend to kind of blurt things about how I’m feeling, which does not do my image any favours either. Sigh. Somehow I will get through. I’m googling ‘new job stress’ to see if I can get tips. Thanks!

  2. leb105 said:

    Such a change from the last contract! It seems like speed dating… and so ripe for your family issues to come up. Being labeled as the problem, deficient child. Perhaps you could connect with your co-writers, to get off the script? To get some realistic perspective? Some useful tips from the old-timers?

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, it is a change! Always the problem is some new thing….I am interacting quite well with co-workers, and it is a help. We’ve all just been hired though – and the ‘old timers’ kind of includes me. šŸ™‚ Thanks Laura

  3. Being held to impossible expectations is something that definitely pushes all my buttons. There was the sense from my mom and stepdad that things were never good enough (“you got straight As but your room is a mess”), and my first husband did that all the time as a way to control me, constantly changing the rules and expectations and then berating me for not knowing/meeting them. Then my last job that I recently quit was like that, too, with a workload that couldn’t possibly be done even when I worked every night and weekend. I can’t take that anymore. I hope you can talk to the QA or other writers or someone to give you a more realistic assessment, because this situation sounds crazy-making.

    • Ellen said:

      I am sorry you went through all that Q. For work, this is new to me – mostly I haven’t had enough to do up until now. But if this was full-time, going on for years, it would not be doable. Hopefully I will find some way of making this work – likely by turning in work that is not much good, in order to meet the quotas. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Good luck on getting this contract to work well enough for you! It sounds really challenging.

    An aside: your saying that it feels like you aren’t getting enough oxygen from your breaths makes me ask if you have had your b12 levels checked recently. I, myself, and 3 of my local friends have been diagnosed with pernicious anemia in the last couple of years. It definitely leaves you exhausted in that way and makes it ever so much harder to think and simply deal. If you have experienced any tingling in your limbs or sores in your mouth, I particularly urge you to have it checked.

    Take care!

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you Cat.

      I do take B12 supplement, as my levels were low a few years ago. This feeling did start with the job, so it seems to be stress – my body just can’t seem to metabolize stress the way other people do. I don’t have tingling. But your comment does make me think maybe I should go to the doctor – maybe it is something medical. Or maybe it’s the adrenal exhaustion my naturopath diagnosed years ago – who knows.

  5. Grainne said:

    I feel you on that dread….the nearly immediate sense of self-pressure vs the desire to do the excellent work you know you are capable of providing. I often think about what energy I must give off in the workplace as every boss I’ve had, save a few, in the entire 15 years I’ve been at my workplace, has ended up ‘turning’ on me somehow. I disappoint them somehow and then forever feel as if I’m paying catch up to make up for my mistake.

    I think confidence is the key. Take credit for what you have accomplished on the first week of the job (which is a lot, when you stop to think that you’ve really only had a couple of days and you barely have a feel for the job/task yet), and own up to not feeling like you’ve provided exactly what was asked. If they wanted five and you managed two, start the new week on a positive and got right back at it. I know you are able to speak your mind well….maybe if an opportunity presents itself, mention to the PM that you’re feeling more into the swing things and that the clearer they make their expectations, the easier your job for them will be. ? I truly hope this week goes as well as it should for you!

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks for sharing about your job experiences Grainne – it makes me feel less alone. I do speak my mind, sometimes too much so unfortunately. I will definitely try to define my goals more clearly and make some kind of plan.

  6. Ellen, I am reading and listening, and wishing you the very best at the new job. It sounds like a fast paced-high stress environment. I would struggle with that because of my perfectionistic side. Please try to be kind to yourself. You are learning a while new system of work, meeting new people, learning new rules/the company’s culture and expectations. That is a lot. It is a lot to handle all at once and I think you are brace to do so. Xx

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks for the kind comment Alice. I think positive messages to myself can only help.

  7. e.Nice said:

    Ughh this sounds exhausting. I am glad you have work and that the people are less crazy then your last place, but the work itself is crazy. Do you feel like the 10 weeks will be doable?

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks enice. It’s gotten a bit better, and I will push through!

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