Monday, February 08, 2016

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

(I was just going to call this 'Changes' and then realized I couldn't do it without all the ch-'s.)

I genuinely don't know what a "normal" amount of change is. It's highly dependent on one's personal situation, of course: everything from age to family situation to financial situation to locale (and said locale's political situation or natural disaster situation) is going to impact how much change you normally experience and, more importantly, how much change you expect to experience. If you always assumed that everything was going to change, and you thought you knew how it might, maybe you wouldn't be as surprised when things turned out that way, as opposed to expecting only small changes and then being floored by one really big one. (Or maybe your perspective on the size of a given change is partly related to how much you were expecting it: something that changes a substantial portion of your experience that also blindsided you is arguably bigger, because the mental effort to deal with it and solve it comes all at once, rather than the case where you expect it so you have some time to prepare.)

ANYWAY, all this is to say that I think that the magnitude of change that I've been dealing with of late is a bit outside the norm. I haven't changed jobs. I have a great apartment and living situation, and I've known that I'm getting married in June for well over a year. (And indeed, that last one is so the easiest of all these things to deal with, which is not what most expect to hear.) But maybe perception of change has something to do with how much control you have over it, as well. (In fact I'm sure the field of psychology has a great deal of very detailed thoughts and opinions on exactly that and absolutely nothing that I'm saying about change is groundbreaking, but like... this is a blog, bear with me guys.)

Every month since September has brought something new and unforeseen. I'm kind of tired of it and ready for things to settle the fuck down already, but I'll walk you through it:

September: Burning Man (not for me). Very unhappy at work and this close to starting the departure process (i.e. mentally getting my head around it, responding to recruiters, etc.). Unexpected death of a close friend. Surgery that is followed by several days of near-incapacitation and four weeks of recovery time.

October: work nemesis gives notice, magically fixing unhappiness at work. Awesome new hire starts and reports to me. Another awesome candidate (with whom I'd worked previously) accepts our offer. COO (main person for whom candidate was brought in) goes on maternity leave.

November: on-boarding two new hires, and work nemesis has departed, so I work nights and weekends (including most of Thanksgiving weekend) trying to maintain forward momentum while training new people. And my manager gives notice: I now report to the CTO. And given the new direct reports and his departure, I get a promotion and a raise.

December: On-boarding continues. I am added to the senior leadership team in the absence of my former manager, which means being part of weekly meetings that include the CEO, CTO, and heads of marketing, product, and finance. Director of data engineering (my colleague, who had also reported to my former manager) gives notice. SVP of marketing who I finally thought I had a good relationship with gives notice and leaves.

January: Director of data engineering leaves. Director of product gives notice and leaves. COO who had been on maternity leave returns. New VP of growth announced. On-boarding continues. (My team is ever more awesome, btw.) Outside of work, we are contacted by our former landlady who evicted us a year prior for owner occupancy about moving back to our old apartment.

February: VP of growth starts. I get another raise. CTO gives notice. I am told that I now report to the new VP of growth. And we sign our new lease for our old apartment and hire movers to move us on Presidents' Day weekend. As of this writing we are ONE WEEK IN. ARE YOU KIDDING ME.

Ok, I guess that's it. I didn't even mention the travel: October had a trip to SF for an engagement party and a trip to Las Vegas for a convention. November had a trip to Hawaii for a wedding and a trip to New Mexico for Thanksgiving. December had a trip to Santa Ynez for our five year anniversary. January had a trip to San Diego for a weekend with friends and a trip to Mammoth for another (and a cautionary tale in not buying chains ahead of a weather forecast that indicated that we should probably buy chains). Moving is travel enough for February; things start up again in March with a wedding in the desert and girls weekend in wine country. Bridal shower in April. Wedding planning trip to Colorado in May, followed by a weekend in wine country for my bachelorette party. Wedding in June (and a minimoon after). A friend's bachelorette party in July. In August, I guess I'll just breathe, because god knows what else is coming beyond the honeymoon we're taking in September.

Maybe it's just me, but... I feel like this is a lot. Almost everything I've outlined has come as a surprise: there was no time to mentally adjust, and it had a big impact on my day-to-day.

In January, or probably even prior to that, I recognized that it was time to just expect the unexpected. But like, I hadn't expected THIS unexpected. And when it comes to absorbing this latest round of change... I'm at a loss. I'm numb. It's too much. I feel like my sense of control has been completely undermined by all this, so why even put in the effort of pretending, at this stage? Why put effort into any of it, if it's just going to end?



This attitude may be for the best anyway. I have been working too much. I do have a wedding coming up, and since I intend to do that just the once, I should probably devote a bit more energy to it. And I should take better care of myself, knowing that that's what I'll be spending the most time with over the next fifty years. But it's hard for me because I believe all these competing things will pay dividends, and I don't know how to value them relative to each other. And if I did, I don't know if I would believe them. And... fuck, man, these things are hard.

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