Tag Archives: work

[How Tired ARE You?]

29 Aug

I had some crazy deadlines recently and they made for some bad sleeping habits–I’ve been perpetually tired and running on empty (but still working! hi ho hi ho hi ho!) for the better part of a week. I was vaguely disgusted with myself because I used to keep crazy hours when I was in college–crazier hours, really–but here I’ve been more of a zombie than I ever was as an undergrad. What gives? Did I get out of the habit? Was it because my roommate, neighbors, and fellow dorm residents were also up at all hours, so I wasn’t alone? (Misery loves company?) Did I not work as hard, back at school?

Have you noticed that when you tell someone you’re tired, it’s sort of like telling them that you’re brunette (if you are) or short (if that’s the case) or covered in freckles (aren’t you adorable!). A declaration that you’re less than bright-eyed and bushy-tailed is no news headline. What, you’re tired? We’re all tired!

But sometimes I just want to say, “No, you don’t get it. I’m really tired.” Or, it would be nice if the other person would play along, stand-up comedy-style. 

“Whew. I have been working like crazy lately and man, am I tired!”

[“How tired ARE you?”]

I’m SO tired, that when I was taking a break from work to chat with a friend online, I spelled “fun” p-h-u-n. Yeah. Phun. A minute later I got an email from the college I went to, declaring that they would be taking back my diploma and revoking my English degree. “Fine,” I replied in a followup email. “Then I demand a full rephund.”

I’m SO tired that when the dogs wouldn’t stop barking at a speck of dust or a neighbor walking by or whatever the heck they were barking at, I started barking with them. “Arf arf arf arf arf! Auouuuuuuuuuuu! Arf arf arf arf!” That’s about the time my dad walked in. “I’m not even going to ask,” he said. “Grrrrrrrrr,” I said.

I’m SO tired that the skin on my face weighed two tons and I had to use my hands to keep it from collapsing. The phone rang and I thought, there’s no way I can answer that. I sat in my desk chair and listened to my mom leaving a message, wondering where I was.  Can’t come to the phone now, Mom. I have to hold up my face.

I’m SO tired, that at lunchtime, I punched in 2o minutes on the microwave, instead of 2 minutes. I watched the numbers slowly count down and thought, something is not right. My lunch exploded in the microwave and it came to me. I’m going to need a fork.

I’m SO tired, that when I blinked my eyes I felt like the alien in Men in Black that Will Smith chases. You know the one I mean. He has two eyelids that are really two gills, which Tommy Lee Jones tells Will Smith back at MIB headquarters. So then I thought maybe I’m an alien. Which means that Will Smith will probably chase me. Score.

I’m SO tired, that reading the word “yawn” made me yawn. So then I tried typing and reading “awake awake awake awake.” Unfortunately, the power of words is selective.

Well, that’s it folks. You’ve all been great! Tip your waiters and waitresses! Grab some shut-eye and 40 winks. Hit the snooze button. Zzzzzzz.

When Your Soul and Your Foot Fall Asleep

21 Mar

My right foot and my soul fell asleep at work today. Boring, hope-sucking projects will do that. Here’s what I did to wake them up:

  • I stomped on the floor several times, really hard (with my foot, not my soul–ouch), like a horse trying to communicate. This made one of my coworkers look over curiously. Interestingly, this is the same co-worker with whom I have a secret work language. “How are you?” we ask each other. We actually mean “How do you feel about work right now?” Accordingly, the responses range from “I’m pretty good” to “Need. Chocolate. Now.” and untranslatable noises. So when she looked over at me and my stomping foot, I’m afraid she may have thought that I had upped our language to the next level–morse code. I hope I haven’t established a new precedence, because I’d hate to have to learn how to stomp “chocolate” or “help” or “tell me it’s not Monday.”
  • I ate my emergency candy. This chocolate was only to be eaten in cases of extreme crisis, and after much consideration and careful thought, I ripped into that sucker like the tasmanian devil. My soul needed that chocolate fix! After the initial taste, I tried to be like Charlie (of Willy Wonka fame) and only eat a little bit every once in awhile–to preserve the chocolately goodness and stretch the enjoyment out. But my self-control is minimal when it comes to chocolate. I’ve now decided that your name must be Charlie and your grandparents must all sleep in the same bed if you hope to achieve true chocolate rationing. 
  • I worked on a different assignment for a little while. In theory, this was a great idea–a way to avoid work, but still get work done. But my distraction turned out to be an article on bakeries that needed fact-checked and edited. This meant looking at pictures of  gorgeous, scrumptious cakes and reading mouth-watering descriptions of baked goods. Since my last bit of work chocolate was now a distant memory, this was cruel…cruel indeed.  
  • I took a ten minute break and walked around the outside of the building. It was pouring rain and I had no umbrella, so I mean I actually walked the outside of the building, following it’s shape and staying under the two-foot eave all the way around. It was nice to breathe a little fresh air (it’s a small office with, shall we say, unique smells) and look at natural light instead of computer light. But I felt a little like a crazy person, following the outline of the building and muttering to myself. (Did I mention that I was muttering? I’m telling you, it was that kind of project.) There aren’t too many other tenants in this office space, but I did pass a few who happened to be sitting right at their windows. Maybe they, too, were bored to the point of physical and emotional (spiritual?) paralysis. If so, I’d like to think that I provided a brief distraction–maybe even a wake-up call. At the very least, they could watch me hobble past and think “At least I’m not an intern.”
  • I thought about the project and my foot and my soul and decided yeah, I can blog about this.

 And that’s when I started to feel tingles in my foot and my soul.


1 Oct

Happy people confuse me. That sounds bad, but I hope you’ll take my words for it that I’m neither a bitter old woman nor theposter-child for depression. I wouldn’t describe myself as an unhappy person. I like musicals and babies and puppies. I smile regularly enough. I sing to myself for no reason. Let’s be clear–I do not wish unhappiness on anyone.

Still, in the interest of being clear, I feel obligated to repeat: happy people confuse me. 

At work, there is one other intern besides me–let’s call her Joy. When I was hired, I didn’t know that they had accepted any other interns, so it was a surprise (and a bit of a relief) when I met my one and only peer.  Joy is a very sweet person. We haven’t gotten a lot of chances to chat and bond since we’re each given different projects and we spend our lunch time working but I’ve interacted with her enough to know that she redefines happy. When we were each assigned our own cubicle, she looked at me and squealed “eeeeee!” while shaking her fists like maracas. When we got to sit in on an editorial staff meeting she skipped to down the hall to the room. On our first day, she asked our bosses if it would be okay if she brought cookies or baked goods to work. (The only thing she likes more than baking is sharing goodies with others!) We had to take a proof-reading test on our second day. It took me 3 1/2 hours to finish and I still missed a lot of mistakes. Afterwards, I was sitting there feeling slightly miserable when Joy plopped down next to me with her lunch (which consisted, suspiciously, of all the major food groups). “Wasn’t that fun?” she asked. Big smile. Contented sigh. I started to feel like I was playing Captain Von Trapp to her Maria. And how do you solve a problem like that?

I’ve discovered that I don’t know how to act around super perky, perpetually cheerful, prone-to-squealing people. Have you ever watched someone who’s unfamiliar and uncomfortable with children when he/she is around a kid? There could be amused bafflement, mindless panic, painful formality. Well, it’s like that when I’m around a super perky, hyper-happy person. My personality doesn’t know what to do with itself. My close friends will tell you that my sense of humor tends to include a lot of sarcasm and facial expressions–neither of which seem appropriate when faced with a Mary Sunshine type.   

It would be fairly easy (and maybe a little satisfying in a petty sort of way) to hate her. It just dawned on me today who she really reminds me of–okay, I’ve likened her to everyone from Pollyanna to Julie Andrews but to really get where I’m coming from there’s only one pop culture icon you should bring to mind… 

Progressive lost me as a potential customer the second they signed on the spokeswoman from the planet Perky

There’s a catch though. I think Joy is actually nice, genuinely happy. (Unlike Progressive’s Flo, who couldn’t possibly be that inspired by car insurance. She’s probably got a flask hidden in that hair.) If Joy was faking the perkiness, if the constant good cheer was some sort of sinister plot to come out on top in the workplace, it would almost be my duty to hate her. But you can’t hate genuine happiness. Or you shouldn’t. You may complain about it to your family and friends. You might make jokes to those same confidants about how sometimes downers are downright necessary. But ultimately, if it is a sincere emotion or personality, you should recognize the value of that. Somewhat ironically, ehow.com has instructions on how to love and appreciate positive people. Number one, for those of you who are interested, is take a good look at yourself.

 Think about why you find perky people so annoying. Often it’s because you’re not perky yourself. Maybe it seems like things are never going your way, no matter how much you try. Or maybe you think people with such positive attitudes are not being honest with themselves and you resent the phoniness.

Fascinating. More than a little true. I hate syrupy, phony sweetness–probably because I’m not very good at it. Meanwhile, over at The Happiness Project, Gretchin Rubin seeks to undermine the myth that “happy people are annoying and stupid.” Studies show, she says, that “Happy people are viewed as friendlier, smarter, warmer, less selfish, more self-confident, and more socially skilled – even more physically attractive.”


Well that’s great. No wonder I don’t know how to act around such super-human creatures. It’s a little like the chicken-and-the-egg question, no? Which came first–the happiness or the confidence? The social skills or the fact that people find you physically attractive? The kicker is that it’s hard to maintain a cheerful, happy outlook when you’re not feeling very confident. And that is probably the key. I think I’ve been associating that kind of perky happiness with confidence–and why should Joy be that confident? I was so unsure of myself when I started that my lack of confidence prevented me from doing small, insignificant things like parking in the parking lot or drinking the there-for-everybody coffee in the lounge. Dumb, right? I have a parking pass, but somehow it felt wrong. Did I not deserve to park in the parking lot? I stuck to the street. There’s a never-ending supply of coffee and my boss made sure to let us know that it was up for grabs….and yet I couldn’t bring myself to grab a cup. I alternated between feeling overwhelmed and frustrated–how could I be perky and happy when I couldn’t park my car with confidence?


I’m just small enough that I would feel immensely better if Joy showed just the slightest chink in her happy armour. Just a sigh and a casual “that was hard” and I’d be set. Then she’d be human, and I wouldn’t be confused by happiness. But make no mistake–I have a certain admiration for her. Oh, I’ll never skip to a conference room or beam after a test or even have all the food groups in my lunch.  But today I parked in the parking lot, in an actual parking space. And that made the start of my day just a little bit happier. 


I can only hope I’ll confuse someone someday soon.