Thoughts on work and family

Work, or rather my job, has been taking up entirely too much of my mental power lately, and I am operating at my limit. My limit. I’m basically running myself ragged at this point. I’ve already been responsible for taking care of the kids from the time they wake up at seven in the morning till the time my wife gets off work at five o’clock, and managing my work responsibilities, and now I’ve got the added responsibility of overseeing an employee. I feel like I’ve got another child.

I’m not quite as overwhelmed as I have been in the past as I’m doing a lot better at limiting my workload, but it’s damn near impossible to take care of the girls and work at the same time during the day. I’m just going to start taking every other Friday off.

I had a pretty heated argument with my boss today about things. We’ve been together for eight years this winter, so like any married couple we’ve learned how to fight with each other. I basically abdicated responsibility for this employee several years ago after attempting on several occasions to manage him, but each time found him unable to follow my directions. I don’t know if I’ve become a better leader or if he’s become more focused, but I feel like we’ve turned a corner in the two weeks since he’s been reporting to me.

There are definitely more tools at my disposal this time. I’m basically using Microsoft Planner — a kanban board — to limit his work in progress, and have been micromanaging the shit out of him this entire time. I don’t trust his judgement. He’s been managing two separate business segments and has had absolutely zero accountability. And my boss wants to complain about him taking advantage of us, while it’s been his failure to hold him accountable that has gotten us to where we are now. The employee has been put on part time work, and we’ve brought in an HR representative to put him on notice. So yea, he’s focused now.

I think the real difference between this time and the last attempts I’ve made at managing this employee is that I’ve gotten Boss out of the way. We’re not giving conflicting, or changing priorities. If something goes on the board, it gets finished. Done. Done. Done. It seems like we’ve been operating in a state of constant anxiety, where everything is urgent and important, and today I actually felt somewhat relaxed in that I didn’t feel the need to follow up with this employee every two hours.

The things I’d found out, the way that Boss and this employee had been operating, frankly boggled my mind. So much of what had been allowed was completely unacceptable, and I’ve managed to turn things around pretty quickly.

My own projects however, have been put on hold, mainly from exhaustion, and the absence of the time needed for me to do the deep work needed to get things done.

The kids have compounded things this week as well. I’ve been forced to shift how I deal with their academics. I usually let them work on their school at the same time, either independently while I get stuff done or while taking turns. Since I’ve been using RemNote’s spaced repetition with them, I’ve had to be more hands on, so I’ve been letting one of them take a turn watching a show while I work with the other one. We haven’t been doing a lot lately, but I really need to sit down with both of them or they’ll get frustrated and complain that something is too hard. So sitting with them and working it out together seems to calm things down a bit and allow me to really work with them on something.

I think I may be helping Elder a bit too much with her math. I’ve been drilling her on vocabulary lately, but I’m not really happy with her math skills. She still counts a lot, even for basic things like 8-2, so I’m going to be adding some more flash cards to her routine. I even write a short program to generate the cards needed.

# Addition
x = range(1,10)
y = x 
for i in x:
  for j in y:

# Output
1 + 1 :: 2
1 + 2 :: 3
9 + 8 :: 17
9 + 9 :: 18

Changing this for subtraction and multiplication is trivial.

Beyond that though, she’s still flying through some of the questions on the Khan Academy tests, mixing up addition and subtraction, and I should probably let her make more wrong answers.

Still, I’m mostly happy with the way things have been going, even though there’s been some behavioral problems. I’m still being my usual hard-ass self, but they are being creative and playing, and most importantly, not watching a lot of TV.

Tomorrow though, I’m turning off my desk phone, closing my email and messaging apps, and I’m not checking anything until after lunch. I have got to get some project work done, and I want to take the kids to the beach.

The weekend starts early tomorrow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *