Too much, not enough

I really should post more often. I spent some time reading over the posts from the last two years and found it interesting to track my experiences from the fires and through the pandemic until now. I often finding myself missing parts of the lockdown, mainly the peace and quiet that descended over Sydney, the empty shopping centres without the psychic pressure of the crowds, the weekends that weren’t consumed with going out for shopping and meals. Creatively using materials at home to help Alex at school, instead of just trying to squeeze in assistance in finishing assignments and maths homework in the evenings and weekends.

But there’s another thread running through those posts. The stress of work. Somehow, when the country shut down during the pandemic my workload just increased. Now I’m not a health worker, a supermarket shelve stacker or any of those things. I’m not making up for team shrunk by colleagues isolating with covid. My team is basically me and a couple of others who handle some of the most routine support tasks. I had a frontend developer who ended up doing a lot of coding, but he’s been away on secondment for months and now I have to look after his tangled, overcomplicated creations. I don’t know if he’s coming back (though I see him more often now we work at the same physical site).

I’m exhausted! I feel like every week I have to solve yet another unrelated set of problems. This last couple of weeks it was fixing up the scripts for loading hundreds of weevil images, solving how to get ResourceSpace working with an SSL connection to MySQL when nobody replies on the forums (hack the code – not good), create a new colour scheme in seconded colleague’s restrictively complicated theme.

In between this I’ve been dealing with tradesmen and insurance agency representatives arriving to inspect the claims we have for water damage. After hours it’s help with homework. It’s choosing what to eat for lunch and dinner. It’s going shopping. It’s karate lessons. It’s coding solutions for the karate website. It’s the stress of organising meetings with others.

It’s relentless.

I need a frigging holiday. I didn’t get a holiday. I was sick with covid when the others went overseas. Then I went straight back to work.

I don’t have time for a holiday. I have to save that money up for the repairs which aren’t covered by insurance. All the house problems revealing themselves. Or I’ve got to fix those frigging problems myself.

All the while, the price of everything is going up.

I was so bloody busy over the past couple of weeks that I couldn’t even make time to listen to a company presentation on rewards and promotions. Anyway, I’d have to spend time I don’t have writing an explanation to other people who have no idea what I do why I deserve a reward or promotion. And reading the competency descriptions you don’t get promoted for solving problems. You get them for telling other people to solve problems.

I asked my manager if he was okay with me applying for a reward or promotion. He basically told me not to bother this year. Same last time.

It makes me so frustrated!

But there’s no point being angry. I have to solve the problem because other people apparently don’t do the solving problems thing. It’s my fault. My fault for not communicating better. My fault for not focusing on selling my self. I have to make it all about me, just like the narcissistic influencers do. Otherwise how would they have influence?

I realised the other night that I’ve never really had a mentor at work (and really, for much of life). Somebody who teaches you the process of your job and who can guide you towards solutions. Part of the reason is because my roles have often been singular positions. The other part is that I have often looked at other processes, discarded them as inefficient and come up with better solutions that lie outside the skills of my supervisors. I have ended up creating my own role in the organisation and it’s been a long process that has seen many above me fall by the wayside.

I’m used to learning and solving problems on my own. I’ve done it since I was a homeschooled kid, maybe before. I guess the downside is that I don’t always learn best practice or am exposed to other options. And there’s nobody to understand what I do, to appreciate the effort that goes into my solutions.

So I try to be a mentor and champion for others. To understand and support them. To learn from them and to share what I know. I want to be generous with my time even if that means I have less for myself.


Irreverently irrelevant. Sysadmin, developer, web dude in a science research agency. WordPress, Japan, planes, trains, Arduino, Raspberry Pi/Pico, puns, dad jokes, etc

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