Primal Screaming ⌘ Or, "My Friends Aren't Therapists & I Need to Vent"
The Apathy Switch: Is This Improvement?
My boss finally spoke to me last week for the first time in months.
She clearly doesn't understand the damage that she's doing to her own business. I wouldn't care if not for the clients I'm trying to help, but today the apathy switch flipped for the first time in years.
When I was younger and I would get really upset or anxious about something, whenever it got to a fever pitch that I couldn't handle, my brain would flip what I call "the apathy switch." Basically, as a self-defense mechanism, my brain would flip from caring so much that I was overwhelmed, to not being able to care about it anymore.
That's not to say I actually stopped caring. I knew I still cared about what happened in whatever the situation was. But I would stop feeling it and go, "Aw, well. It's whatever, I suppose."
So it's not that I've stopped caring about what happens with our clients. It's that it's not my responsibility and I've worn myself out multiple times to try to help everyone as best I can... And there are a few clients that have started treating me like crap because my boss doesn't do what she needs to. So why am I spreading myself thin when they're going to shoot the messenger like I'm the problem? When I can't do anything more than I've already done?
It's not that I want a medal or something. I don't care if they don't know the extent of how bad it's been for me behind the scenes, or if they never know everything I've tried to do to snap my boss out of it or try to get her to do what she needs to do. What I want is for them to recognize that I'm not their enemy and making me miserable because of someone else's negligence isn't going to help anyone.
One of the clients today dismissed me when I was finally able to respond to them, after they spammed my work text line over the weekend. And when I say "during my off hours," I mean that some of these texts were sent at 3 in the morning asking for updates, not just during the day when I'm not scheduled.
I don't look at work during my off hours unless I'm specifically working on something in particular and I needed more time. Or if I promise someone I'll get to them during off hours if I can't do it during my work hours. And for the record, I don't get paid anything more for working outside my schedule, so I'm also basically doing pro bono work for them when I do this. And I worked for a couple of hours on Saturday to try to get a head start on some things, which is when I had a brief conversation with this one client and tried to get their issue handled. But I never got a reply from my boss, so I had nothing to update them on and I had no way of getting an answer or making my boss do what was requested. So I guess this client thought that I was at their beck and call because I had a brief correspondence with them outside my normal hours?
Really, what the hell do you think I can do for you at 3am? And more to the point, why do you think that I should be responding to you at that time?
I told this person that I wasn't around to see the messages after I last replied to them because it was outside of my hours, so I had only seen their texts then. I said I'd follow up on the issue, which my boss has now neglected for a week, and tried to offer an explanation for one thing they keep swearing is the case [they think my boss blocked them because their phone is behaving like she did, but she wouldn't do that, despite her other faults] and I asked if they wanted me to do something else to try to get this taken care of.
That's all they answered. I asked if they meant they didn't want me to follow up at all, but they never replied past that. And don't get me wrong, I understand why they're upset and angry. But I didn't do anything to them. I don't deserve to be dismissed like I'm trash because they have a gripe with my boss. However legitimate that gripe is.
So, yeah... The switch flipped and I'm done spreading myself thin when I'm going to be treated like I'm the one that's messing up. I refuse to be the punching bag when I'm the one that's actually trying, and when the reason I HAVE been slipping up a bit lately is because I'm so burnt out from being the only one that's trying.
Once more, it's not that I don't actually care. I care TOO much about other people, which is part of my problem here. It's that I need to stop caring so much because, at the end of the day, these people aren't my responsibility and I'm throwing myself repeatedly against a brick wall and expecting it to budge. I can only do what I can do and if their needs aren't being met, they are more than welcome to find another place.
In fact, I'd welcome it. Not so I don't have to deal with their crap anymore. Not because I necessarily want them to have to go through that process. But because my boss really, really, really, really, REALLY isn't getting that she can't just do this and everything will be fine. And the only thing that might give her a wake up call is if she careens towards total failure.
Ha. I say that, but especially after that phone call, I doubt even that will work. It doesn't even feel like this is a sinking ship. It feels like we're already floating in the water and discussing how to fix the hole in the ship.
So now I really think I need to find another part-time job and try to keep both jobs for as long as I can handle it so I can save a decent chunk of change and make my plan to leave. It's just really hard to find something that I know I'd be able to keep up with, even if it was my only job. Especially after how bad the burn out effects have been these past couple of weeks. What if that happens again in a new job where the boss isn't so understanding?
Anyhow, we'll see how long the apathy switch stays on. Hopefully it's at least long enough to crawl out of this huge mess of a backlog we have now.
Whatever time of day it is for you, I hope you're having a good one, friend.
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