Can The Week Be Over Now?

©1993 Robert Mankoff & Conde Nast

Time has started moving eerily fast the past few months.  It seems like every Friday I’m amazed how it was just Monday and can’t remember what I did that week…until this week…I remember it vividly.

Monday started off with a bang;  Max crying, Kate running, me devouring breakfast standing, and all of us running out the door.  I arrived at the office on time to find that the morning phone conference had already begun slightly ahead of time.  I headed into the conference room and was greeted with “thanks for showing up.”  Lovely start to the day.  I executed my role in the conference call exactly as needed and went on about my day.  Just as I was beginning to forget the cruddy remarks of the morning I got a few more as apparently I was the office punching bag.  Then foomp!  A giant pile o work and I missed lunch with too much to do on deadline.

After being told how to do my job by people who don’t understand my job I got to be told how to do my job by someone who wants my job.  I decided it was time to call it a day and head home where no one told me how to do my job.  Unfortunately, within 5 minutes of walking in the door my wife and I began arguing about how I scolded Max for not picking up his toys he deposited at the top of the stairs.  Now I was being told how to parent.  I decided it was best to stop speaking to my wife for a day or so and just focus on my personal life since that seemed to be the last thing I had control over…and it was going well.

Prior to my Monday when seemingly the entire under-qualified world weighed in on how I should do my job, I was feeling quite good.  I was feeling “normal.”  Why is “normal” good?  Because the past four months I have been feeling anxious, daily.  I’ve been taking medication and seeing a therapist for General Anxiety Disorder.  However, last Sunday I felt “normal” and I realized that I had at last turned the corner somewhere in the previous weeks. I was thinking about other things most of the time instead of my anxiety.  This was a breakthrough.  Wednesday I sat down for my weekly therapy session which Kate (my wife) joined us for.  Usually having Kate there is a treat as she remembers things I don’t and it feels like we are a team working toward my recovery.  This session was a disaster.

My therapist asked how I was feeling and I replied, “Shockingly normal.”  That was how much time we spent discussing my anxiety and the good news I was prepared to share…the rest was essentially a marriage counseling session in which I found myself being told again how to parent and how to handle myself.  I became visibly angry and shut down at the end of the session.  Let the therapist and Kate talk…they were the ones happy to hear their own voices.  Isn’t the sound of your own voice so lovely too?

So now it is Wednesday afternoon and we’ve established that I don’t know how to do my job, I don’t know how to be a parent, I don’t know how to be a husband, and everyone wants to tell me how I should be doing these elements of my life.  However, no time to waste as I have a board meeting downtown.

The board meeting was a quick one though I certainly felt useless and small.  I felt better at least that I had brought in a sponsor and helped cut our remaining financial goals by 20%.  After that I decided the best thing to do was go to the Sports Bar & Grill I am the managing partner of and do a “tap inspection,” which is to say I needed a drink.  The first light of the week shone through my mopey clouds as I sampled our fall beers and clinked glasses with friends.  Then I got a visual aura.  Bam!  Migraine time!  No wonder my stomach has been so screwed up!  My stomach is always the precursor to my migraines.  I steadied my breath, continued the conversation, and tipped another glass.  Before I knew it the aura was gone and the fact that I “survived” one so nonchalantly while out with friends and a stranger (now friend) was proof that my anxiety was taking a back row seat where it belonged.  I never get tipsy in my own place in front of my employees so I hopped next door with some friends and found some happiness in the bottom of a martini glass.

Thursday morning was the double whammy of the martini recovery and the migraine.  My head felt like it was filled with cement and my patience was short.  That was when I got one of my projects handed back to me and I noted critical errors in it.  I sent it back to design with the notes and didn’t spare my opinion on why I felt the critical errors had taken place.  My boss jumped on board and echoed my notes.  It was the first time of the week someone had essentially said “good job” and I felt the slightest bit of appreciation for what I do.  Then…someone who doesn’t understand my job and thinks theirs makes them queen bee weighed in with a snarky response via email…and I put my foot down…

Nope.  I’m done being told that I do not know what I’m doing.  Thursday did not end well…but it ended with me saying my piece by email to those who would put me down to raise their egos.  It ended with me verbally saying my piece to those who do not see that emotion has to be part of my job and is not a weakness in business – but shows my passion for our company and the product we put forth.  It ended with me drawing a line in the sand, holding my ground, and finally coming out victorious.  Then I left and picked up my son Max for a fantastic “guys night.”  Later I spoke with my wife and resolved my angers left over from Monday and Wednesday.  I went to bed with anger still poisoning my blood from the queen bee but determination pulsing in my brain.

Today I feel like Jay Cutler in a bar bathroom.  What is Jay Cutler like in a bar bathroom?  The story goes Jay is peeing in a urinal of a bar bathroom when a Chicago Bears fan realizes who he is.  The fan (peeing in a urinal next to him) tells Jay how he’s a fan and how he also went to Vanderbelt.  As the fan goes on, Jay cuts him off by rolling his eyes back in his head and shouting to the ceiling “DOOOOOON’T CAAAAARE!!!!”  That’s me.  I know what the fuck I’m doing and I have the job I have because of the mistakes of people who must inflate their egos by trying to put me down so they don’t see their shortcomings.  I know how parent my child and the only issue I have is making sure my wife and I are on the same page about how we handle situations.  We need to be a unified front and we both have blame to carry for lack of communication.  I don’t need an anxiety therapist to tell me how to parent my child or how to be a husband.  I went to school for psychology too dude (you’d know that if you read my file) and specialized in early childhood development.  I’ve taught Pre School, been a nanny, and written papers on the importance of play in the development of adolescent morals.  I pay you to give me therapy about anxiety (which is ebbing), so either you are doing a good job and/or I don’t need you as much…which is why I’ve bumped you down to twice a month effective immediately and may bump you to once a month depending on how October goes.

So TGIF because Daddy needs a breather.  I’m better at being a dad and a husband than I am at being corporate appropriate.  I’m not tucking my shirt in today.  I’m growing a beard.  I’m putting my earrings back in.  Why?  Because these things don’t affect my job but they affect me.  I’m a creative individual and I’m bringing something special to the table…and if it’s REALLY a problem that someone needs to address with me and tell me how to act, dress, and perform…?


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