October 16, 2006

Failing, Fixing and Frodo

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best to make you like everybody else, means to fight the hardest human battle ever and to never stop fighting."
- E.E. Cummings


As I mentioned a while back, I'm doing someone else's job for a couple of weeks. This does not mean I get to forget about my own job. No, I have to do that too. And some days, that's more than enough. Anyway, last week was rough but by Friday, I thought I was on top of the whole thing. I'd spent an entire day sifting through tons of data trying to come up with an analysis for my client. It wasn't easy but eventually I felt like I had it. After 10 hours of work, I sent it off and congratulated myself. As cheesy as it may sound, I told myself remember this feeling, of being on top of everything, and keep it for a time when it all goes to hell.

When I checked my email yesterday morning, it all went to hell.

That damn report. I did exactly what we discussed - I thought around every problem, I plotted, I crunched and I devised brilliant explanations. I went against my every instinct to provide too much information. I was succinct. I was a master of the information. I was, frankly, proud. Yet I was told I'd missed the mark.

If it isn't clear to you by now, I put a lot of pressure on myself. I call myself a slacker but nothing could be further from the truth. I work hard and I do things right the first time. So, I was pretty unhappy when I saw that email. It ruined my morning, honestly. But then I realized that it isn't the end of the world, that whatever I did right or wrong doesn't define me, and that there's time (although little) to fix it. And that's where I'll be this morning...fixing...humbly.

I take things too hard, I overreact, I strive to be perfect, I sometimes incorrectly prioritize the important and the unimportant. But, like the report I worked so hard on, those are fixable. And they're some of the things that make me, well, me.

So as to avoid this post being a complete and utter downer on a Monday morning, I will tell you about our pumpkins. We have two sitting on our kitchen table. Mia is fascinated with both, especially the tiny one that's the size of an apple. She picks it up, looks at it, and tries to put it in her mouth. Last night, I named it.

Me: Mia, that's your pumpkin. Its name is Frodo.
Beth: Frodo?
Me: Yeah, you know, Gourd of the Rings.
Beth: *crickets and a disapproving smirk*

Posted by Chris at October 16, 2006 6:26 AM
Comments

That's funny. Why am I first? Oh, because I haven't had the sense to go to bed yet. Good night Chris from the left coast.

Posted by: ann adams at October 16, 2006 6:32 AM

You sound like me, as far as being hard on yourself goes. I know it wont' do much good to pat you on the back, tell you it'll be okay and all of that jazz, which I find people who know me tend to want to do when shit hits the fan. So know this: I understand.

And as far as Gourd of the Rings goes? This one made me laugh out loud. :o)

Posted by: Emily at October 16, 2006 7:03 AM

I feel for ya on the work thing, brutha. Down with the man! (Boy, I hate Mondays)

(almost as much as you. I can tell you hate them more because of the haikus. It takes some serious hate to come up with haikus on a weekly basis about how much hate something)

We have several pumpkins, large, small and twee, and JD keeps asking when we're going to eat them. It's so sad when a little one discovers for the first time that Mommy isn't one of those kind of mommies, who will take a large gourd filled with gunk and create food with it. No, Mommy is the kind of mommy who will carve a seriously scary face in the food while throwing that other stuff away. Poor kid.

Posted by: Contrary at October 16, 2006 7:32 AM

Thanks for the Gourd of the Rings comment! I needed that today, and it sounds like you do too. Just remember you have the world's cutest daughter. Good luck with the project revision.

Posted by: Heather at October 16, 2006 8:17 AM

I think the fact that you overreact and want to be perfect is a better trait than someone who simply thinks they are perfect. Cut yourself some slack, Chris, you're doing a good job.

Posted by: Bridget at October 16, 2006 8:30 AM

Brilliant pun.

Posted by: Bill at October 16, 2006 8:39 AM

Heh, Gourd of the Rings. That's funny. Look at this way, your day can only go up from here. You're a clever chap, you'll figure it out.

Posted by: Fraulein N at October 16, 2006 8:39 AM

Pumpkins are fun, unlike reports which can make your day crappy. I can't think of the last time a pumpkin ruined my day. I'm not really sure where this is going, but you're a smart guy Chris. You're report was probably excellent and they now need you to dumb it down b/c the rest of them just can't comprehend your genius. Yeah, that's it!! ;)

Posted by: Michelle at October 16, 2006 9:10 AM

Well we here, that read your post, all know how brilliant you are and if the high muckety mucks haven't figured that out yet then they are the slackers. We all love ya here Chris.
The pumpkin thing yes that was definately a good one!
Hugs,
T

Posted by: Pat (Trish) at October 16, 2006 9:23 AM

I know a woman who owns a store and has a Golden ret named pumpkin. he loves sitting by the door all day watching people. I call him her Gourd Dog

Posted by: at October 16, 2006 9:23 AM

being a perfectionist sometimes really sucks ass.

Posted by: suze at October 16, 2006 9:43 AM

Being a perfectionist may produce some great work, but it is wear and tear on your insides. Take care of yourself.

Posted by: wordgirl at October 16, 2006 9:49 AM

I'm sure you didn't miss the mark... they just moved it on you with telling!

And that's funny! I might have to use that one on Hubby if you don't mind. Of course, I'll probably get the crickets in my house too.

Posted by: Karen at October 16, 2006 9:50 AM

Being a perfectionist is hard. On the other hand, you are a master at punning; you can be proud of that! :)

Posted by: Alison at October 16, 2006 9:56 AM

It's hard to expect so much from yourself. I know--I do the same. But, from the outside looking in, it's not so bad. A day wasted, but nothing more.

We have pumpkins, too, but ours are huge! They have to live outside, and they have no names...

Posted by: Alissa at October 16, 2006 10:19 AM

I seriously doubt you missed the mark, these customers seem to be moving targets most of the time!

We went to a Pumpkin Patch yesterday and picked out our two pumpkins! Not sure who was more excited me or my boys!

Posted by: Steff at October 16, 2006 10:21 AM

Bah. Sorry the report got criticized, Chris, especially after all your hard (and accurate) work. Fortunately, you are much more than the work you do -- as important as that may well be.

I hope the day starts looking up once you get the revisions done. Great photos, btw, on this post and Saturday's. When will we meet Frodo?

Posted by: shelley at October 16, 2006 10:29 AM

Frodo is the PERFECT name for a pumpkin.
:)

Posted by: ali at October 16, 2006 10:50 AM

That's how I feel most of the time.

"Hey, Oakz, go and make us an ad/web page/flyer. It should look like this and this and this" *Kazaam* Done!

"Um, that's not what I have in mind."

Urgh!

Posted by: oakley at October 16, 2006 10:56 AM

Honestly, it sounds like you need me as a best friend. That's the sort of thing I'd giggle over. Oh, I'd lie and say it was a cough or that something had gone down wrong but you'd know better. I'm easy like that. What you've heard is true.

Posted by: pea at October 16, 2006 11:09 AM

Gourd of the rings? *rolls eyes*

Oh, okay, it's funny! I admit it, I laughed. But why avoid making your post a complete and utter downer? Mine was this morning. I dumped all over the Internet and then went out. And I don't feel guilty about it either.

What is it about Mondays? They should be banned, that would solve all our problems. Or would it just turn Tuesday into the most depressing day of the week?

Either way, thanks for making me smile :)

Posted by: starrynite at October 16, 2006 11:59 AM

Ech, being a perfectionist myself, I know how you feel. *pat*

I enjoyed the Gourd of the Rings, too. You know, in an oooog sort of way. :)

Posted by: Kate the Shrew at October 16, 2006 12:21 PM

I know how you feel! I tend towards intense workaholism and frankly, I am/was a good worker. I wasn't used to getting things wrong at work (other things in life, yeah) and when something did go wrong I felt BAD!

But eventually I figured out that the stuff at work is just work. I just tend to feel very committed to my jobs and emotionally involved. Now that I'm working part time I find I can let go of a lot of the extreme emotional committment without sacrificing my own work standards. Plus, working from home lets me avoid getting involved in any politics! (and that's a big plus)

Posted by: the weirdgirl at October 16, 2006 12:24 PM

I am my harshest critic too. I'm sorry that the report wasn't right. It sounds like you did all the right things.

And the pun? Painfully perfect!

Posted by: Lisa at October 16, 2006 12:27 PM

Ha! Gourd of the Rings...hilarious. Our front porch pumpkin is named Melvin Snigglebottom.

I'm sorry for shitty emails ruining your morning. I know how that goes. But this morning (or afternoon, rather), none of my emails ruined my day. They just irritated me because HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO EXPLAIN THIS VERY SIMPLE PROCEDURE TO YOU PEOPLE????

Hope your day improves, Sunshine. :D

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at October 16, 2006 12:28 PM

"Gourd of the Rings"...why you! I outta!!!

ROFL!

Posted by: jozet at October 16, 2006 12:56 PM

Afternoon Chris! I like the tones on your photo. I could just picture Mia with the pumpkin...awesome! I hope the rest of your day feels better. Know you have a ton of fans who enjoy your daily posts :-)

Posted by: Dolly at October 16, 2006 12:57 PM

Eh, it's easy for me to say, but don't be so hard on yourself. None of it matters in the end anyway! Just think of it that way. You know, or not. :) I'm not even going to comment on the Gourd "joke"....{Sigh}

ahahahahahahaha!

Posted by: Kate at October 16, 2006 1:47 PM

No matter how well you do things sometimes, some folks won't be satisfied. Perfectionist is a hard row to hoe. Welcome to the farm.

Frodo, Gourd of the Rings is excellent. Beth is a very tough audience.

Posted by: Annie at October 16, 2006 1:48 PM

HAHAHAHA. That convo sounds so much like our house.

Posted by: statia at October 16, 2006 1:52 PM

that is the BEST quote. all i can say to that is "amen, my brother!"

Posted by: jodi at October 16, 2006 2:42 PM

Sorry about the report. Whose stellar managing skills points out "missing the mark" in an e-mail anyway? Possibly you missed the mark...but I'm willing to guess it is more likely you hit it on the head. More so, someone sounds like they didn't have the guts to be specific in their expectations and point out what you did right (something had to be right), and maybe was a little inferior with what you know? Have a happy Monday anyway!

Posted by: rachel at October 16, 2006 3:31 PM

Great photo graphic, great pun.

I feel for you on this Monday.

Posted by: Jenn at October 16, 2006 4:08 PM

Sounds like pumpkin porn. ;)

Posted by: Tink at October 16, 2006 5:18 PM

Ah, it's Monday. And now it's Monday-over.

Gourd of the rings...*giggle* Well, your pun certainly didn't squash my day.

Posted by: kristen at October 16, 2006 8:02 PM

I don't know, I found it pretty freaking funny.

I am a perfectionist, so I know how upseting that can be. I hope you got it fixed.

Posted by: Melissa at October 16, 2006 8:21 PM

Love this post. I can totally relate. I've been working with my perfectionism for a long time. Especially once I was pregnant because it totally screwed me. My new mantra-type thing: I give myself permission not to be perfect. When I screw things up, I shrug my shoulders and remind myself that I cannot be perfect. It helps me. My yoga teacher taught me this "giving-myself-permission" thing.

I remain confused about your use of the word "crickets."....

Posted by: haley-o at October 16, 2006 9:39 PM

I'm sorry the email regarding your report ruined your morning. I know how awful it is to work hard towards something only to be told it's wrong. It totally stinks but like you said, it doesn't define you. You worked hard and I'm sure you worked hard to fix the problem, thatís all you can do!

The pumpkin quote - loved it!

Hope you have a better Tuesday!

Posted by: Colleen at October 16, 2006 10:01 PM

I hear what you're saying about striving for perfection. My wife believes my bosses take advantage of that sometimes... you know, when there's like one day to accomplish a week's work? They hand it to me, and voila... it gets done on time; I'm a mess that night and the next day, but it gets done.

It used to be worse: when I was first starting out, the company I worked for did annual reviews where you and your supervisor completed the exact same form, then they compared the results. (I am guessing they were trying to temper salary increase expectations by putting arrogant workers in their place.) HR had to get involved with mine... they wanted to know why, out of "needs improvement (NI)", "meets expectations (ME)", and "exceeds expectations (EE)", I had like two ME (for stuff like punctuality) and the rest were NI. I explained, just because your expectations of me aren't what I am capable of, doesn't mean mine have to be. (Yes, I was a little prick back then. I even used to answer the question, "How can I help you on this project?" with "Stay out of my way.")

Here's what really helped me: what's more important? Is it important for you to get everything done every day and make it just perfect so you can sit back, fiddle your navel and think about how great you are at your job? Or is it better to get the work done satisfactorily and get yourself home to Mia and Beth in a state to be the person they love you to be?

And my apologies for a) a long comment and b) if I got too personal.

Posted by: Jeff at October 17, 2006 8:05 AM

I know exactly what you mean! I switched jobs at work a couple months ago and they still haven't hired my replacement for my old job. I spent about a month doing my new job and mot of my old job until we entered the busiest time of the year and my new boss put his foot down.

When things slowed down again, my old boss tried to get me to start doing part of my old job again. Luckily, my new boss said, "absolutely not!" They still haven't hired my replacement (because I can't be replaced! ha!), and I'm positive that they would never hire a replacement if they could still foist off some of my old work on me.

Posted by: Hope at October 17, 2006 9:15 AM

"Gourd of the rings?" **Shakes head**

You're a positive person, and most of the time you can put a happy spin on things. That's one of the reasons why we like you. :) Sorry to hear about the report, but you're right -- it doesn't mean that you did whatever it was WRONG, only that someone decided it wasn't done the way THEY wanted it done. And when these things aren't spelled out in advance...they're so subjective. Hope your day was better afterwards. :)

Posted by: Zandria at October 17, 2006 9:28 AM

I thought it was funny! Give yourself a little slack.

Posted by: Jazzy at October 17, 2006 1:42 PM

Tell me about a bad Monday and a bad work week! But ofcourse I am not doing two jobs and I dont want ti imagine that!
And Frodo? Hehehe, you I'm glad your sense of humor is still intact.

Posted by: Dee at October 17, 2006 6:24 PM

Wow. My husband would totally appreciate that one. It appears you have the terrible pun disease too. Is it fatal?

Posted by: SMIT at October 18, 2006 4:38 PM

I'm not the only one that beats myself up when I don't nail it the first time at work? Phew. I was worried there for a minute.

Hang in there. The world will not fall apart. Take it from someone who knows.

Posted by: Bethany at October 18, 2006 9:31 PM

You have crickets in your house in October? Dude, you might want to call an exterminator ;P

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