At least I got most of my work done before I reached the breaking point today. Sometimes that's all I can expect out of a Monday. Everything is happening at once, and it's all happening to me.
The first phone call I had this morning was from the Boss, confirming the dates I plan to be on vacation. The next sentence started with the words, "I don't know how this is going to work with you being gone, but ..." And then he went on to tell me his woeful tale of how we've just missed out on several big jobs. The conclusion he was trying to lead me to was that we have to keep bidding, in order to stay in business.
And of course he can't do it without my help.
Do you see where this is going? I've put vacations on hold or canceled them altogether in past years because of the pressures of work. When I most need to get away is when it's least likely I can. By definition, I think.
He didn't ask me to give up my vacation, but no less than two other phone calls from him today went over the same ground. He'd ask me again the dates I would (now theoretically) be gone, and he'd describe some important bit of business that absolutely depended on my input.
The breakdown came late this afternoon when he and Tim ganged up on me. The Boss is staying at Tim's house for a few days, working on some project there in the valley. When Tim told me this was going on, I said, "Better you than me." I could just as easily have said the same thing to the Boss, about the two of them spending so much time together. Better anyone than me, with regard to either of them.
That's not the point, though. I don't care where they are or what they're doing. All I know is that I'm being squeezed a little, and I had a mini meltdown when I got this double-barreled call asking me for information that only I could give them. I'm not sure why they needed this information right now, today. I think maybe they didn't need the information as much as they needed to impress on me how much they needed me.
I'm trying to get away, and all of a sudden I'm the essential cog in the machine that drives the company. It's an honor I'd probably decline, given the choice. Job security (or lack of it) in the Bush economy (thanks for the extra $1.50, GW) gives the situation a little more urgency. I have more to think about than how much I need to get away, because I can't afford a permanent vacation.
And these aren't things I can do ahead of time by working extra hours this week. I have to wait for a package that the Boss mailed to me today, and I have to follow through on the bid forms to make sure everything is in order. If it goes smoothly, it'll be a miracle of the kind not often seen hereabouts.
The good part is that I didn't vent my frustration this afternoon to anyone but the walls and a few loose papers. I didn't shout at anyone. As far as the Boss knows, I'm still planning on being gone next week. And who knows? Maybe it'll work out that way. But I'm in a state of semi despair about it right now, tonight, after all this happened today. Maybe tomorrow I'll feel better about it. Maybe worse, though.