Under Pressure

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Chatting with my parents the other night, I mentioned how much work was knocking me flat. One project is eating me alive and a plate-full of others are screaming for attention. New ones are popping out of the woodwork. I haven’t felt this much stress in quite some time. I can feel it in my shoulders and my neck and it’s not just from sitting here humped over my laptop for hours each night.

Mom said she has friends whose husbands are the sole income providers for their families who were feeling the same way and the frustration was carrying over to their spouses. Dad explained that my sister and brothers are going through much the same thing. “The economy.”, they said, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I have no right to complain – I’m fully employed and thankful to be so. I realize we could so easily join all the hundreds of thousands of other families who have suffered a job loss at what is certainly the worst economic crisis in my lifetime. I didn’t really put the two together, though. It never occurred to me that I wasn’t bullet-proof just because I was employed.

Three of the four kids in my family have taken a hit in income, myself included. My 401K is a disaster and I’m upside down on my house when I was so right-side up a year ago it wasn’t even funny. All but one of the projects I’m juggling at work are directly related to the economy. I’m not getting enough sleep and I’m taking way more pain relievers than I ever have before.

Take a look at any Google data and you’ll find that any keywords with “stress” in the phrase have been climbing to new records the past four months – including the phrase “workplace stress”. I think I see the light and I’m standing in it with a cast of millions.

It helped, though, to have a piece of the puzzle – to be able to assign some blame to this invisible weight I feel dragging on me. It doesn’t change the fact that there are these forces causing me stress, but I feel a little better understanding the root cause.

I don’t have any solutions, friends, only sympathy for all whose lives have changed as a result of where we’ve been the past 12 months, but I thought this little song was in order. We’re gonna make it, folks. Hang in there.


Thoughts regarding this post would be greatly appreciated.