With apologies to you for letting this blog be my personal journal for the time being, I have more thoughts and feelings to work through on this brokenness stuff. Our brokenness is absolutely critical to our faith as Christians, and it’s an important thing to talk about. Pride and shame make us fear our brokenness, prod us to hide the places we are vulnerable, as though these are weaknesses. But Jesus turns shame, pride, vulnerability, weakness, and brokenness upside down, reminding us that in God’s kingdom, the last will be first and the first will be last.
I’m frustrated this morning. I submitted an out-of-date and incorrect document to our change board, so that it could be removed from the process library. In my request, I said “Please decommission Document A, as it has been superseded by Document B.” Both document names were hyperlinked to the process library, so that all one had to do to look at the two documents was click on the links. The emails start rolling in: What is replacing this document? The change board administrator replies, “The request already says this,” and quotes my request, hyperlinks and all. The next question:Well, what about other systems? The scope statements in the two documents are clear as to the system they cover, so the question is irrelevant.
So I’m frustrated.
I don’t understand why members of the change board aren’t reading the change requests they’re supposed to vote on. I don’t understand why this is causing such a fuss. My manager has called me twice on this already, and he doesn’t understand either. My arms and neck and back have tensed up. I want to shout and maybe to kick something. I’ve gotten really angry, far beyond appropriate frustration for the situation. And then a little voice pipes up in my mind: Why are you letting work make you so angry?
Little Voice asks a good question. I am still angry with the manager who left the company over a year ago. My mind remembers, and my body remembers. Just the hint of conflict — knowing my former manager would try to cover the conflict up rather than working through it — is enough to put me on the defensive. And not just any old defensive: it’s the the-best-defense-is-a-good-offense defensive. I’m ready to walk out, guns a-blazin’, and take no prisoners.
Why am I letting work make me so angry? Why am I letting the everyday situation of people not reading the words in front of them get me so worked up? Why did I have tears of enraged frustration starting to form? Why am I giving my job — and a minor, administrivial portion of it at that — so much power over me?
During that awful off-site meeting where the leadership of my project was supposed to work out all our problems, I reached the point of shouting and shrieking. I ended up sitting on the garden wall outside, sobbing. Two senior guys came out to talk with me, to help me calm down. It’s good to care so much about your work, they said, but you can’t let it get you this angry. It’s just work.
It’s just work. You can’t let it get to you this way. It’s just work.
I guess that sense of being trapped in this job — because who else is going to offer me these accommodations to my disability? — contributes to this. When we feel trapped, we are just like cornered animals. We bite and scratch viciously; we use the the-best-defense-is-the-good-offense strategy. Because let’s face it, if we become the loser in this situation, we don’t lose just the situation; we lose the ability to make a living, to provide for shelter and food. So yeah, we’re trapped, cornered, afraid, and viciously angry.
But it’s just work. You can’t let it get to you this way. It’s just work.
I was amazed at how much calmer I was once Little Voice spoke up. It took me back to thatCome to Jesusmeeting, but consciously, and to that time of sitting on the garden wall. It’s just work. Why do you give it such power?
Yeah, I’m broken. And that’s okay. We’re all broken. But it’s time to release some of that old frustration and anger. It’s time to let go and forgive my former manager. It’s time to relax and not let it get to me this way. It’s just work.