The past couple weeks, ok, months at work have been tough. But here's the thing. My job is not stressful. I mean, it's a job, and I am expected to do well, keep my numbers up, etc., but the person putting on the pressure is me. Let me explain: at work, we have quotas (called "fair share") of how many cases we are expected to do. If you are "green," you are ahead or at the point you need to be. If you are "yellow," the bosses start to look at you askance and wonder what you're up to. If you're "red," you're fired. Just kidding, not really. But as long as your numbers are good, management doesn't really care what you do, when you work, or how you work. There is no micro-managing, and we are not expected to work long hours or stress out about cases. As long as the numbers are good, they leave you alone. Which is refreshing.
Anyhoo, staying green is not that difficult (cue Kermit jokes here). It means you have to write 3 cases a week, I usually average 5. But the past few months...maybe it's all the new attorneys we've been hiring, but the cases have been very difficult lately, and I'm slowing down. None of the higher-ups have said anything, I doubt they've noticed, but I have noticed. Which means the stress begins. Because, as the old saying goes, my harshest critic is myself.
Out of the 70 attorneys on my team last year, I had the most cases, which made me the so-called, "top producer." I ended up setting the bar pretty high for myself. FYI, when I say year, I am referring to the fiscal year, so the new year began October 1. Confused? Yeah, me too. But since I am no where near where I was last year, I've been putting all this pressure on myself to work faster and better. Which means I am stressing myself out.
Why is it always we give ourselves the hardest time? Why do we beat ourselves up over things that probably don't matter that much on a macro level? Is it ambition? Or arrogance, in that we think the world revolves around us? Or does this just stem from a life-time of striving for over-achievement, like how I freaked out over that C+ I got on a chemistry final my sophomore year of high school and OMG NOW I WILL NEVER GET INTO COLLEGE NO MATTER HOW MANY AP CLASSES I TAKE. So, really, it's probably our parents' faults. As is everything, right?
Anyway, these are pretty heavy thoughts. Basically, things have just been slightly more stressful than usual at work, and with preparing for the holidays, it just gets compounded. Stay tuned for the return of happy-go-lucky Maggie after the New Year. And now, to make up for the relative seriousness of this post, here are some Mom quotes.
Regarding the giant Santa head Mom affixed to the wreath on the front of the house:
Mom: "What do you think??"
Me: "Honestly? I think it's kinda creepy."
Mom:" Damn you, Margaret. It's not creepy, it's vintage!"