There’s Something That Lingers.

163 | 365 - November 14, 2014

It’s Sunday night and my brain is twirling – twirling over work projects and anticipation over Monday and an apprehension is setting in about the week ahead of me, a feeling that has occupied me in various degrees over the past two weeks.

Nothing is really wrong. I’ve got a lot of projects and some time frames and a lot of moving pieces and a lot of people and a lot of components and as is the nature of the beast, when you have that many parts and that many people – not everything goes according to plan.

So plans have shifted and timelines have shifted and through it all I’ve done the absolute best that I can.

All of the wheels are in motion, everything is rolling. Sure, it’s not according to plan but… the general public doesn’t know our planned timeline. Only the people close enough to the project know that the time frame shifted.

Why, then, does it consume me the way it does? Why, then, when there were roadblocks beyond my control, do I take on all the negativity from a project when I have done everything I could? I can motivate, urge, prod. nag, and push to make things happen but ultimately? There are things outside of my control that interfere.

Every project is a learning experience, a chance to take away something that will give me greater experience and comfort moving forward.

I want everything to go perfectly.

I want timelines adhered to. Things to mail when scheduled. Approval processes to not get bogged down.


Sometimes that’s not the way it goes.

And while I don’t want to let go of caring, while i don’t want to let go of my drive for perfection, I need to let go of the all-consuming anxiety I tend to feel about these projects.

I am not doing organ transplant surgery. I want every project that I take on to be successful, but I have to remember at the end of the day, where it fits in the overall scheme of things.

Lately, I’m losing sleep over problems real and imagined because I want so badly to please everyone.

I am dealing, i am certain, with the after effects of having lost my job earlier in the year. At the time when I was transitioning from old job to new job, I was wary of saying too much online – I still am wary: a) because it’s tacky and unprofessional to talk smack about your employer or previous employer online and I AM A PROFESSIONAL, DARNIT and b) because i actually had to sign something stating that I would not speak negatively about them, especially online.

But I figure knowing what i endured may explain why I am how I am. I also figure that I’m not disparaging the employer – my problem was not the company but rather one person within the company, a person who has since been stripped of her managerial role and no longer has direct reports, a change that – in my opinion – was far too long in coming. (The company itself? I won’t name who they are – but emphatically believe that the professionals there are top notch and phenomenal at what they do – there’s a reason for the company’s longevity.)

I worked hard there to do well – I worked so that my contributions would better the company as a whole. I had great success with projects large and small – and then somewhere along the way, one person decided that instead of supporting my efforts, she’d criticize and disparage them at every pass. And then she started giving pieces of my job away to other people in my department. Slowly, the pieces of my job where I excelled were taken from me and little by little I was treated to more and more hostility until my job was cut to part time and then it was eliminated altogether. I have no doubt that along with budgets and reducing head counts – that not having this one person in my corner contributed to what happened.

I lost my job in the midst of getting back on my feet after my divorce. I scrambled to find work and was lucky to find work. I work in a fantastic company with great people.

So, uh… why am I freaking out all the time?

It comes out of nowhere – that feeling of, “HEYYYY I’m doing great things!” to “We had to deviate from the timeline and is this going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the one that makes them change their mind about me?”

“Be confident,” my friend says. “You need to focus on your value which is off the charts!”

(I have the best friends – you should be jealous.)

I’m trying to please everyone in an industry where pleasing everyone is a rarity. I’m still learning. I’m getting on my feet. I’m working hard to turn every project into a learning opportunity. I’m working tirelessly to gain confidence from each experience.

But oh.

What do I do with myself, y’all?

How do you balance a desire to do well with a realistic expectation of what the best case scenario can be? How do you let go when something doesn’t go according to plan – you can’t go back and change it, you can’t undo it, you can only learn and move on – so how do you learn to leave it at the office at the end of the day?


I don’t know how.


Because I’m interested in how other people operate, feel free to leave me a comment telling me what your work style is? How do you deal when things don’t go as planned? How do you balance a desire for success with the reality? I’d love to know what the norm is for other people, how y’all cope, what you do.

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. I am also big on worrying about things out of my control. I fixate on worst case scenarios. I’m better about it than I was, but it’s a tendency I still battle with. One thing that has helped me is to sort of analyze why whatever it is I’m worrying about matters. Because I want to keep my job? Sure, but why? So I can afford to eat and pay rent. Ok, but I’m capable and smart and I work hard, so odds are I’ll always find a way to pay the bills. When I sort of dissect a scenario, it’s easier to get practical about what it is and why it matters. Then I know that there’s really nothing to worry about. Some days this exercise doesn’t work. I worry and there’s nothing I can do about it. Those times I just breathe through it and try to distract myself with people, fun, whatever takes up all my attention so I don’t have space for worry. I think it bears nothing that you had a hell of a year or so, and no job or situation is going to be easy. Everything you fell, even anxiety, is normal and to be expected and okay. It’s all okay, and you’re going to be just fine. I promise you that.

  2. I don’t talk about it a lot but after I stopped working to stay at home with my teenager for awhile I decided to go back to work. I got an amazing job but things started going wrong from the start. It was as if I was set up to fail. I was fired within a few weeks. Fired for the first time in my life. It took me FOREVER to feel confident in what i was doing again. I”m good at what I do. And for the most part I remember that. But I still have days where I worry. It was also the same year that my ex and I were splitting up so I can completely relate.

    Ironically what came out of this is that I speak up for myself more now. When things don’t go the way I planned I’m prepared to take responsibility for any part I had in it but I don’t allow myself to be railroaded. At the time I was fired an attorney told me that everyone should experience being fired at least once in their life. I don’t necessarily agree with that, but I will admit that it helps to know I made it through.

  3. I suffer in exactly the same way. Just last week I had a couple of sleepless nights because a project was going wrong. I think with me it’s because I take it personally when a client isn’t happy with a solution – regardless of why that might be.

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gone away with work, and ended up staying up all night in the hotel, purely to have half a chance of “winning” the next day…

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