Exhaustion and Burnout: Part One

First of all, I’d like to apologize for not posting as often as I usually do on here recently. I love writing this blog and I feel bad that as of late, it’s had to take the back burner on the stove of my life.

For the past several weeks, I’ve had to work longer hours at work. Two of my employees have had COVID, and since I’m the General Manager and the only salaried employee at my store, any labor shortages or slack immediately become my responsibility. I’m not exaggerating when I say I’m almost dead. Last week, I clocked 61.98 hours, and that’s not including the lunches I worked through catching up on paperwork that I’ve had to neglect.

The thing that sucks the most about the whole ordeal is that the harder I work and the more I accomplish, it still seems like it’s never enough. The backlogged projects still shout at me. The unreasonable expectations of higher-ups still loom over me. They expect me to be more than human, to function like a well-oiled machine, but I just can’t. I’m unfortunately human. I have feelings. I get tired. I’ve been living off of candy and fast food for weeks because I’m always too tired to make anything better.

My bowels are irritated. I’ve had to hold myself and medicate myself to the point where my stomach is never not hurting. I take medicine to go and medicine to stop going, and I haven’t been allowed to simply go when I need to in so long that it’s going to take me a while to straighten myself out. Some days I don’t eat until I get home at night because I’m afraid that if I eat it will give me the urge to go and then my sales floor will be unattended.

Does my boss care? No. When I hear from her at all, it’s for her to inquire about my progress and to ask about our sales numbers. What are you doing to motivate your team to success? When will your excess truck be out? Why haven’t you made progress toward the XYZ project and do you have an estimated completion date? What conversations are you having with customers to promote our programs? Your sales numbers are not reflective of company expectations. Please tell me what you are doing to change that momentum and move the needle in a positive direction. One day, I’m going to just start screaming and I won’t be able to stop.

I’m a cog in the machine. If I drop dead, they’ll eventually (sooner or later) replace me with some poor schmuck who’ll probably get paid even less than I do. May God have mercy on their soul.

I want to say more about all of this but it will have to wait for another day. I actually get a day off tomorrow and I intend on sleeping in. Take care and thanks for listening.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

I’m Just Not Feeling It

Do you ever have a day where you wake up and you know that you have a list of things that need to be accomplished, but you just can’t seem to care about anything?

That’s how I feel today. It is beautiful outside, the birds are chirping, and Julie Andrews is singing The Hills Are Alive while butterflies caress her with their wings. And I’m just so irritable I can’t stand myself, much less anyone else. As I’m looking at the clock, I have just barely over an hour to go before I have to start getting ready for work. Yes, I know I’m lucky to be employed. Yes, just the other day I made a post dedicated exclusively to talking about my hard-won promotion. On an intellectual level, I am grateful— but I’m so freaking tired.

It is beautiful outside, the birds are chirping, and Julie Andrews is singing The Hills Are Alive while butterflies caress her with their wings.

Days like this make me think of Shelley, which makes me smile. Shelley is an older Australian woman I used to work with at my store. She was contrarian, pugnacious, cynical, and sarcastic. She designated herself as our resident Mean Old Bitch and wore the title like a badge of honor. Sometimes I miss her so much that it makes my bones ache. We had a bond, we two. I love her and I know she loves me, and that’s for forever.

She designated herself as our resident Mean Old Bitch and wore the title like a badge of honor.

The rapport we quickly developed morphed into a beautiful friendship I’ll cherish as long as there’s breath in my body. One day when we were working together, she looked at me and out of nowhere exclaimed, “Shit, there’s got to be something fucking better than this.” A gentle warning for you: if the word “fuck” offends you even mildly, never work with an Australian émigré. I’m fairly certain Australian elementary school teachers end the school week by telling their pupils to “fuck off and have fun”.

One day when we were working together, she looked at me and out of nowhere, exclaimed, “Shit, there’s got to be something fucking better than this.”

I think about what she said that day a lot. She was right; there’s got to be something fucking better than this. I’m going to make it my life’s work to try to find it. For both of us. Bless her heart, the sour old bitch had to work retail right up until the pandemic forced her into an early retirement, followed by a move to Florida with her son. If you ever read this, Shelley, I love you. If we both end up in hell, please save me some space in your cabana.

If you ever read this, Shelley, I love you. If we both end up in hell, please save me some space in your cabana.

There’s not a tidy resolution for this post. I always get irritated when I’m reading something about someone having a bad day and they “somehow turned it around”. Nope. You can stop right there. A big part of self-care for me is just allowing myself to feel like shit when I feel like shit because it’s my brain’s way of telling me there’s something I need to process that I can’t happy-think my way out of.

A big part of self-care for me is just allowing myself to feel like shit when I feel like shit because it’s my brain’s way of telling me there’s something I need to process that I can’t happy-think my way out of.

I mean, let’s be real. I’m working a full-time, public-facing retail job in the middle of an ongoing global pandemic in a world that’s literally on fire from climate change and living with more mental health disorders than Meryl Streep has Oscar nominations. Ergo, I’m allowed to feel like shit. And so are you!

If you also feel bad today, know that I see you and I stand in solidarity with you, not to talk you out of your pain but to weather it with you until we all feel better. Much love.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please follow, like, comment, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at thevoraciousbibliophile@yahoo.com or catch me on Twitter @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.