Some days I seem to be the only person at work and in my family.
There is a saying in Government that goes something along the lines “Those that work get the work, those that don’t still get raises.” Basically in Government jobs, if you work your butt off and do a great job, you still get the same pay raise as the man or woman that can’t do their job. If you demonstrate you can work and work well, your boss will probably give you all the work, all the projects, etc. While the coworkers that don’t work, can’t work, or just screw up the work, they get very little to do. Again, everyone gets the same pay raise. At least in the GS pay system. Their are other Government pay systems out their, but I am unfamiliar with them.
At work, I get the majority of the work. My customers for Safety are two of the three largest and most technical departments on the base, encompassing chemistry labs, physics labs, optics labs, energetics labs, large machine shops, etc. Not to mention a handful of other departments. I also run the confined space program for the base, the traffic safety program, blood borne pathogen program, assist with the fall protection program, energy control (lock out/tag out) program and respirator program. Though I do more to run the respirator program than assist with it.
With all of this I am also the Non Ionizing Radiation point of contact for our command, backup for my supervisor in the Emergency Operations Center, on the Chemical Hygiene Plan board, and more.
My supervisor is a great manager. I think she took all this in to account when she selected me for a promotion a few months ago and made me her Deputy. Still, when you are the only person that people can go to for all of these things, it can get overwhelming. I am the only person in the office that can do a lot of the things above and I can’t be in two places at once. If I make the wrong call or manage my time improperly, I can end up holding up a multi million dollar test. That has only happened once so far. Worse, if I make a bad decision in regards to certain deficiencies or programs (i.e. confined space or respirator), I can kill someone.
Family wise, I am the only person that my mom has. My mom is emotionally a wreck at most times, has a stress disorder, bad coping skills, very low self esteem, a stressful job that barely lets her make ends meet, can’t make friends very well and a love life that is a couple deaths short of a Greek tragedy. I am the only person she has to talk to, help her out with things, etc.
Right now she is being evicted from her apartment and has been looking for a place to live. A veteran used a VA loan to buy the duplex that she has lived in for 10 years. As VA loans make you live in the place you buy (I think for a year), and the other apartment is on a new lease, my mom is being evicted out of hers.
She has only been working for about 11 years and that came at the end of a divorce to a bad man. She doesn’t make much money, doesn’t have much of a savings and is now forced to either rent a crappy apartment (there are not many nice rentals in this town) or buy a small house. She has chosen the latter and is buying a small house in a bad neighborhood. Most of the house was renovated, but it still needs work. Of course, I am the only person she has that can help her do this work, help her move, etc.
I am basically the only person my grandparents have too. They live an hour away and I go down their often to help them, probably not as often as I should though.
My fiancée is a different story. She is really the only person I have that I can ask for help as everyone else either lives too far away, is not in a position to help me with anything, or is the one always asking me for help. Though I am reluctant to ask her for help; instead just drawing strength from being with her and having her and the kids in my life. She gets mad at me for this and chews me out for not asking her to help lighten my load. I guess I just became used to doing everything on my own, helping and supporting everyone else. I don’t really know how to ask for myself. Besides, she works swing shifts and graveyards, has two kids, and is going to school full time. She is Superwoman for pulling all of that off! Her strength is one of the many things I love about her and I know she would be strong enough to handle anything I ask of her too. However, when she is already facing so much on a daily basis, how can I ask her for help?
By the way, Jen, if you are reading this. I love you and thank you for everything you do for me. I’ll see you tonight 🙂
Last week an old friend and his wife came in from out of town. As his wife and my fiancée were inside Dennys, getting to know one another, we were outside so he could smoke. He looked at me and said “You used to be the laid back one out of the group. Now you are wound really tight and kind of angry and cold. What happened? I’m worried about you.”
My fiancée agreed with him when I told her about his concern.
A few weeks ago, at the end of the work day, my supervisor came in my office, sat down, looked at me and said “I’m worried about you. You are always doing everything for everyone else, taking care of everyone else. I can see it in your eyes. You need to take some time for yourself and start focusing on yourself more.”
At that point my office phone rang, I was needed for an emergency mishap. I ended up working an hour and a half over that night, almost missing a dinner date with my fiancée and the girls.