Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Feel The Burnout

A big time disappointment can lead you to what I call a depression attack, a fit of sorrow that plunges your mood in a matter of minutes. A lot of these fade, because it's basically a shock to the emotional system, like jumping into a cold (or sad) pool; you adjust/get over it.

Smalltime chronic depression is more of an issue of longterm damage. Nothing hits like that initial mood punch, but if a mild discomfort NEVER goes away, it eventually starts to eat away at your overall mood and your average temperament slides farther and farther down the hole.

Which brings me back to this fellow who was working late. I went back a few nights later and there he was again. I didn't say anything, but the next day I went back and brought Marley. He was there again, and Marley said, "He's not good." I brought her back a week later, and there he was. Knowing what I was gonna ask, she looked at him and said. "He's getting worse."

I came back in janitor role. "Evening," I said. "'Nother late night I see."

"Yeah, had quite a few of those lately," he said.

"Must be hard. All those hours. Gotta tire you out."

"Yeah, it sucks. It's a bummer. The other night, I was looking at my sleeping pill bottle, and I was like, 'All I have to do is down that whole thing.’”

“Oh, jeez dude!”

“Ha, I’m just kidding.”

I’m sure he was, but the fact that his mind went there was a sign the work was taking its toll. I said, “You know, when you’re working really hard, a lot of people will say, ‘At least you’re working,’ or ‘if that’s what it takes to get the job done . . .’ and stuff. But you’re allowed to want something better. Not a better life per se, but, just know, if work gets you down, you don’t deserve it.”

He said thanks and I left. Maybe I helped, maybe not, all I know is, that guy needs to take a step back; a day off, a long lunch, hell, a simple five o’clock day, whatever it takes to pull the mood level up. It’s his choice, but if I nudged him in the right direction, my work here is done. For now.

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