Friday, 8 August 2008

End of the 12th Day

Though Blogger will show this post as having been created on Saturday, I will announce to you now that it is in fact being written on Friday night.

I have finished at 5:00 the 12th day in a row on which I have worked a complete shift. Now, these are not really complete Fort McMurray shifts (10-12 hours), but I'd say they average 8.5 hours, never going below 8 hours and once reaching 10 hours. Before this stretch of 12, I had a single day off, preceded by 6 working days. Needless to say, I am very tired. These days were not my regular fairly easy job, either, but more than usually filled with heavy lifting or heavy pushing or repeated strenuous labour, as well as tighter dead-lines and longer lists and, therefore, more stress. That, combined with more stressed coleagues, made the experience less than desirable.

These past few days have been hard, especially since my attempts to get a day off have been repeatedly frustrated by the fact that co-workers have gone home sick or went off on vacation or signed days off or generally left in large numbers, requiring those of us without a 'legitimate' excuse to stay and cover for them. What had made me particularly bitter is that I know I have been working harder and longer than most of those others who got to get days off before I did. One of the hardest parts of these past few days has been to continue working without revealing how miserable, frustrated, bitter, and angry I was. Not giving up entirely and just going home anyway was exceedingly difficult. I know I was really starting to slip in not showing how hard I was taking it when staff members began to ask if I was mad at them, or talk about "the look" I just gave them (I looked very disappointed, apparently), or mention that they were saying I might have been in a bad mood the day before (and, let me tell you, the day before's mood was no comparison to how furious I was at the moment we were discussing it). I generally pride myself on being able to hide when I'm angry. I figure other people oughtn't have to deal with me when I'm being childish and unfair, and I figure that, most of the time, anger is an expression of childishness and unfairness.

And then I got home and noticed in what an absolute rage I had gotten myself into and in what an injured sulk I sat and thought, "Back up." Why was I so angry? Well, it was true that I was asked to work far longer than I ought to have been asked, and that the boss who offered me a day off had gone away on holidays without informing the person covering for her of that offer, and the person covering for me didn't think to extend that offer herself. However, it was also true that I was the most obvious, and usually the only, candidate for whatever job needed doing, and that I didn't ask for a day off, and that when asked to stay late I always said it was OK. Really, if I insist on being self-sacrificing, I suppose I ought to expect to be sacrificed. It makes a certain amount of sense.

Furthermore, I know the reasons why I was asked--I generally display endurance, patience, and flexibility. In other words, I could handle it. I also know that I'm being unfair to my boss, and realize that, though I feel used and unappreciated now[1], I will be rewarded later.

Finally, I realize that if I intend to be self-sacrificing, I shouldn't really care if I'm being used or rewarded. That's not the point of self-sacrifice. If I am martyring myself (apparently a bad thing, according to most people; but then, most people don't seem to have their thumbs quite on the pulse of morality), I'm doing a bloody awful job of it.

What I need is a good dose of serenity and gratitude. Consider: I'm being paid to do work. I'm being paid better than I would be in Ontario. I could quit at any time. I get days off. I can afford to take days off. People at work trust me to be able to do my job, even if I'm exhausted. My job is actually pretty decent. The people I work with are pretty decent. I get free food at work.

I have a lot for which to be grateful. Maybe I should start.

And to anyone at work who reads this--though, as usual, I doubt any of you read my blog--I say now that I was likely never mad at you specifically, and, if I was, I am truly sorry. I had no right to be. I hope I wasn't too much of a boar to work with.
[1] That's not say that I felt no one at work thought I was a good, hard worker. What I mean to say is that I felt that no one was converting that mental appreciation into any sort of action to reward me for being a hard worker or to publically recognize my efforts. That was not a fair feeling. I am sorry.


Jon Wong said...

I don't know about this martyring business. I've got my thumb pretty strong on the pulse of morality (although anatomically, it's interesting to note that one should never take one's pulse with one's thumb because the thumb has a pulse of its own and thus does not always allow you to gauge your actual pulse) and I don't know how I feel about martyr. ESPECIALLY not after having read The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Then again, keep in mind that I make a huge distinction between morality and ethics (you can thank The Girl Next Door for this) so until I know your definition of "morality" I can't really accurately say if I agree with you or not. Remember, ethics is the universal code governing right vs. wrong. Morality is something else.

Jon Wong said...

Oh yeah, I should probably also mention that not everyone (and by everyone I mean the dictionary) agrees with my definition of morality so I'm more likely "wrong" than I am right.

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