A few weeks ago I had a dream. I dreamt that I was sitting at my desk at my old job and my in-box was stacked with months and months of unanswered mail. On top of my desk were piles and piles of projects that had to be done. I suppose I had just come back from a very long vacation or something, like maybe the two years I have been retired. The party was definitely over.
On my desk was a note from a co-worker saying that she needed me to finish her personal taxes by 3:00 pm that afternoon. (It was just a dream, but this part isn't really that far fetched.)
I spent hours just trying to get through the mountain of mail. I couldn't believe that no one had done any of my work in the two years of my absence. I didn't know how I was ever going to catch up.
And then at 3:00, that co-worker came into my office and asked if I had completed her taxes. I just lost it. I yelled, "You are not a priority! I have actual work to do here!" (Actually that part is very far fetched.) I was so demoralized by being back at my desk and felt so burdened by the quantity of work I had to deal with.
I woke up with a knot in my stomach.
Last weekend I had dinner with a friend. She told me all about some of the challenges she is facing at work with one of the people she manages. It's a very stressful situation, loaded with conflict and confrontation. I know exactly how hard her situation is, it brought back some very real, non-dream memories of my own.
Yesterday, I read this post of Penelope Trunk's about managing her anger. It reminded me how stressful my life felt when I was still working and I was dealing with situations that angered me. In her case, the anger is affecting her communication with her kids, in my case, it was my husband who bore the brunt of my frustration, the source of which had nothing to do with him.
So it was really easy last week when I received an email from an old work colleague asking if I might be interested in picking up some temporary consulting work to help a new venture fund set up its accounting system. Part of me felt like I should really look into it, given the state of the economy and its impact on my retirement funds. But most of me really didn't want to.
Guess which part of me won.