Let me reiterate that this work project was really not all that big. It was bigger and more urgent than my day-to-day work, and in a responsibility channel that maybe runs parallel to mine, and occasionally above it. Either way, I poured myself into it, and when it was over, collapsed in a big heap of I-can’t-believe-it’s-over-ness.
For once, I actually couldn’t bring myself to procrastinate. I wonder, when I look back on all the amazing things that happened to me this year, whether I’ll note that as one of them. Because although it sort of slipped by under my radar, it is amazing for me.
I actually laid out all the work I needed to do first, and then went to my coworkers for help on pieces. Since I felt confident I knew exactly what did have to be done, I was calm enough to tackle the biggest piece: writing an actual summary of a past successful project. I’d never attempted this type of writing before, and [shock] was pretty anxious that it would be rough. But I did it. One of the project leads gave me details, and I shaped that into the kind of piece I thought was required.
I spent my entire weekend pounding this out (with, again, serious help from my coworkers). Sunday night I even crashed at a hotel near my office, because I live over an hour away and usually have a dreadful commute to wrestle with. Staying nearby meant that I could stay late at the office, not have to drive in my bleary state, and get up bright and early to be back in and check everything over.
That night, I lay awake for several hours in the dark hotel room, listening to the unfamiliar sound of the air conditioner clicking on and off, people stomping up and down the hallways, and trying not to think about hotel bedding. The major pieces of the project ran through my mind ceaselessly, like I was chanting a repetitive prayer. “Attachment A, KPI, study number two, PDF 2.38, check on 4.01, reread 3.6 for clarity, upload, submit.” Finally I drifted off…and then dreamed about the submission interface.
I can’t get over how incredible it felt to come in on Monday morning and know that the bulk of the work was done. All that was left was reviewing what I had done and ensuring that I had submitted the answers correctly. The hard deadline was 2:00 pm, so I spent the morning smoothing over any rough spots, having others check my work, and generally preparing myself to click the big red SUBMIT button.
When it was too late to put off submitting any longer, I forced my officemates to gather around to make sure I didn’t do anything stupid, like delete the entire submission, and clicked the submit button. My hands were actually shaking, and continued to do so for about 20 minutes afterwards.
Here’s the oddest part: I felt so good about the work that I had put into it, I’m not even spending time worrying about how it will be received. I think that we did some really good work, and if it’s not the favorite submission, then we’re maybe just not the right fit for that situation. Normally, I’d be banging my head against a wall, bemoaning how stupid I am for ruining the entire thing, because we haven’t heard back anything yet. Somehow I’m finally finding it less difficult to accept that sometimes things just take a while.
It remains to be seen whether this will have a lasting effect on my work life. But I kind of think it will.