Friday, February 22, 2013


i had what they call a "side by side" at work the other day with my boss.  it's just a check in, usually about 30 minutes, where you go over your stats (call time, availability, accuracy, that sort of thing), see if there's anything you need help with, and let you know if anything new/interesting is going on.  they're really informal, and my supervisor is honestly a nice woman.  i feel comfortable talking to her.  we were talking about call volume, and how after the first the year it picks up and how busy we've been lately.  she asked how i was keeping up with everything, if i was feeling overwhelmed, and i was as surprised as her when i said, "honestly, no."  afterward i really started thinking about it, and wondering why with this massive glut of calls, non-stop action, i wasn't as spazzed out as i normally would be.  some days the endless beeping in your ear and not having time to wrap things up or follow up on other things leaves me feeling frazzled and exhausted. 

our busiest day of the year at the call center i work in is the day after president' day.  for real.  no one knows why this is exactly, but it seems to be a perfect storm of factors; early in the year, when people have new plans, the day after a three day weekend, the moon and mars converging or something.  for whatever reason, people in insurance know that this is the day when literally everyone calls in.  i talked to customer service reps at a few other insurance companies and they all said the same thing!  the lights on our phones were red all day long, and there was barely time to type up your notes between them.  it was absolutely crazy. 

normally after a day like that, i got home and have beers and go to bed.  this time, i didn't.  i went to my sewing nook and did some work on that ridiculous stash-busting pinwheel project.  it felt good to get in there, put on some music, and cut and sew and iron everything out. 

thinking about that day i realized that what's different now is what i've been doing outside of work.  yes, we are seriously busy and i should be weeping with the futility of answering the same three questions for hours a day, but i'm not.  i think taking the time to work on something creative, something that requires my full attention, a project with enough fiddly bits and math to make it work on all parts of my brain, has actually affected how i'm doing at work.  i'm more relaxed, but not sluggish.  it's like i can let go of work for a bit, just thinking about colors and patterns and feeling the fabric in my hands.  it's also kind of physical in that you're up and down a lot, and there's a lot of standing to iron everything out.  for a woman who sits down for 8 hours a day, that's awesome.  knitting has a lot of the same satisfaction, but i tend to knit while watching tv which i think kind of cancels out the zoning/creative bit of time.  sewing also produces results that are quicker to see.  i think the variety in my creative time is also helpful, and there will probably come a time when i'm stoked on other kinds of projects.  stopping to think about how what i do at home affects my days at work was eye-opening.  it's so tempting to come home and watch tv and eat dinner and zone out, but that isn't what's good for my brain, i guess.  working it out in different ways didn't make me more tired, it made me less tired.  i'm sure someone out there has written a paper about this, but it never made sense to me until it happened.  so not only is work feeling good, i'm about half way through making a warm, cozy quilt that i can use on days when i do just need to come home and lay down and read!

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