Sunday, September 28, 2014

Running On Empty

By the end of the week, I am running on empty. The exhaustion hits around Thursday, right smack dab in the middle of my week, and it's a fight to get past it. It's as if my brain juices turn to tar, making moving and thinking more difficult, until eventually the tar hardens and the gears stop turning completely rendering my mental functionality a big fat zero. *Insert awesome robot powering down sound here*. Okay, but why am I so tired? 

Well, my mother would probably ask me if I am depressed. The answer is 'no'. I am not now, nor have I ever been depressed. Sure, I've had some really good cry fests and self pity parties, but incredibly sad doesn't mean depressed. Not in my world, at least.

The simple fact is, my job is too much for my brain, and it isn't difficult. Actually, that makes it sound as though it is easy. It isn't. Not really. But what I mean is, I'm not a rocket scientist or mathematician. I don't crunch numbers or solve crimes. And there isn't much heavy lifting or hammer swinging involved. Even worse, it isn't because I am conjuring up the magical formula to cure world hunger, and I am not toiling over ways to create world peace. Trust me, if I had either I'd be handing them over pronto. So, if I don't have a physically or mentally taxing job, then why is getting through a five day work week so tedious? I mean, millions of people the world over work full time hours and still manage to have a social life, get chores done, and raise children. 

What the hell is my problem? 

Well, this might sound weird, but it's because I talk to people. Every day, I interact with over a dozen people, sometimes more. This is a lot of work for my poor, little, introverted brain. Sometimes people disagree with me when I tell them I an introverted. It's as if they expect introverts to be unable to function around people, but that isn't the case at all. In fact, we actually like being around people ... just not all the time. Certainly not every day. For hours at a time. Conversing. Engaging. Canoodling. 

Okay, I don't canoodle with everyone, I've been wanting to use that word for a really long time, though, and it never comes up in conversation. 

Back to the point of this post. For over a year now, I've greeted, chatted, and helped hundreds of people. Every client that comes through the door interacts with me in some way. At the beginning of the week, my battery is full, but throughout the day each of these encounters with people zaps a little life out of me. At the end of the day, I go home with every intention of recharging, but I never get enough alone time to fully reboot. When the next day arrives - far too soon, I might add - my battery is a little less powerful than the day before. So, by the time the end of the week comes, I'm starting my day virtually on empty. And I am ending the day 100% drained. Think about your smartphone and how wonky it starts performing when you're only at 10%.  

I am grateful that I know myself well enough to understand what I need to exist happily and healthily in this world. Unfortunately, I am an introvert doing an extroverted job. It is one thing to be aware of such things, it is another to not be able to do anything about. For the most part, I like my job, at least at the beginning of the week, but just because I like it doesn't mean I can do it long term. I do worry what may happen down the road and wonder if I am journeying towards burning out.  

Now, don't misunderstand what I am saying. When I come home at night, though tired, I am happy. I am grateful to have a Sidekick who understands what being an introvert is all about. I revel in my little slice of quiet rural living. The reason why I am putting this out there is because I worry there are people like me, who are in the same energy draining boat, who might be thinking there is something wrong. Sometimes we feel alone and it's nice to know there are others out there like us, with the same sort of struggle. You aren't shy or anti-social, you aren't depressed or unhealthy - all you need is time to recharge. 

You're just an introvert in a world that won't shut up. 


Amy said...


Pete said...

Yep. I agree with everything in this post. It's exactly the same for me. My job is very demanding and is usually a very noisy environment, with so much going on and things to do that I barely get five minutes to take my lunch break. Not to mention that it's right in the middle of a tourist area, so even the journey there is full of people.
I'd also add that you seem like a very creative person, and I think we creative types are more easily drained when working a five day week job that isn't ideal - it's time that could be put to better (personal, creative) use :/

introverted me;-) said...

this is a great book, that reminds me of your post. I highly recommend it, if you haven't already read it.

introverted me;-) said...

sorry - that came out bad - Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Tee said...

@Introverted Me - I have heard of that book. Will check it out, for sure.

@Pete - It's nice not being alone. ;)