Helpless?

What a week!

On Monday I returned to Toastmasters. I hadn’t been there since I finished my Competent Communicator book back in June. I was welcomed back with open arms, and when I was introduced to give the quote of the day, the applause was thunderous. It was nice to feel so welcomed and to hear that people missed me. It was timely, as lately I’ve been feeling pretty sad about my lack of local friends.

But that’s a story for another time.

What’s been at the top of my stress-heap lately is work. I’ve alluded to feeling like my job is taking over my life before. One of my “resolutions” for 2017 was to not let that continue happening. Yet already, in the third week of the new year, I’ve felt ramped up to the max with work-related anxiety.

It’s like my workload is a pileup on the highway after an ice storm. Things keep sliding into the mess, causing more damage and I’m pretty sure something’s about to burst into flames.

Just yesterday though, there was a bit of a mental breakthrough. My boss asked me why I was so frustrated, and what we could do to resolve it. I explained that one of my projects required skills that I don’t already have (HTML/CSS, JavaScript and other coding), so I have been trying to learn it all on the fly. A project that would take a skilled coder probably less than an hour was costing me days and days of frustration and failure, while the rest of my workload sat festering unattended. (Ok, not really –  I was attending to the high-level stuff!)

For whatever reason, it never even occurred to me to ask for help. I think about it now and I just think “Duh, I should have said something!” It’s not the first time I have tried to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders because I just had this dumb thought that I was the only one who could actually do it. Even though, obviously, I couldn’t!

My boss told me that we could find a web developer to work with. I don’t need to learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Bootstrap and whatever-the-heck-else these people use to build websites. She pointed out that if you took the amount of money I make per hour, multiplied by the hours I’ve spent trying to figure this out, we could have just hired someone else to do the job and it probably would have cost less.

Whoops. Lesson learned.

I have to remember that no one expects me to do it all myself. I have to learn to stop and think about alternatives before just leaping into something and thinking I can become a web designer overnight. I have to drop the mindset that it’s easier for me to do something myself than to explain how to do it to someone else, and then have to correct it when they don’t do it right.

It’s okay to ask for help.

As I was driving home tonight, I was listening to The Minimalists podcast about stress (what a coincidence!), and they were talking about how it’s okay to ask for help. Ryan said that when he was a manager, he respected people who came to him and gave legitimate reasons for why their job was too hard and why they needed help. He never saw it as a sign of weakness or the inability of that person to do their job, but more that they were wise for knowing what they could handle and knowing when to ask for help.

I do feel a bit like a dummy for not coming to this conclusion myself. It’s almost like I needed my boss to give me permission to ask for help. I’m sure I can (and will!) do a psychoanalysis on myself to figure out why I am like this*, but the more important thing is that I don’t forget about this, and I make more of an effort to actually ask for help when I need it, instead of suffering in silence and killing myself to get a job done.

The end.

*I am like this because my father is like this. There, psychoanalysis complete.

2 thoughts on “Helpless?

  1. terriandrews59 says:

    I’m like that too…I think now is why I say no to everything now because I stress myself out by trying to do it all. When I say yes to a job or project I think it’s up to me to finish it and finish it well:/

    Like

  2. dottym says:

    Great post, Heather….we all find ourselves at times thinking the same thing “why didn’t I just ask for help?”

    Next time….be sure to ask yourself, “I am equipped to do this assignment/project ina reasonable amount of time with my skill sets?”

    Liked by 1 person

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