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12:44 p.m. - March 05, 2003
On failure
Big fuck-up boo boo. Last week my Tuesday night schedule was changed from one place to another, confirmed, set in stone. Apparently. Last night went to my assignment, found out it was canceled, went home to find a message from Wendy at the agency wondering where I was; I left a message for her saying I had gone to where I was supposed to be and was now home. This morning, Carolyn, owner of the agency and Wendyís partner / boss called and was upset that things seem to be falling apart at the agency, people being sent to X when theyíre supposed to be at Y, messages not sent, bills not sent, invoices misplaced, and my snafu was icing on the cake. I wasnít pissed because less than 24 hours notice, Iím paid in full and a night off is a night off.

So I went to class Ė ended early, whoo hoo Ė and came home and thereís a message from Wendy sounding pissed and annoyed, asking for me to call her immediately. I do so, and she says she told me twice in person about Tuesday night being changed from X, to Y, then to Z and I had assented and confirmed and added in a serious, unpleasant tone, that Iím making her look bad.

I apologized profusely.

But you know what? I distinctly do not recall ever having a conversation with Wendy about Change Z. The only fuzzy recollection is thinking during the weekend that Iíd bring my laptop with me on Tuesday so I could write during a two hour break but I couldnít think of where I had this two hour break and realized I was thinking about Monday. So Monday, Tuesday Ė Change Yes or No, it doesnít matter; what matters is that people are unsatisfied with my performance and that makes me feel awful. Iím still confused and Iím trying to shrug it off but thereís a block of ice in my stomach reminding me that Iíve fucked up. But, but, but, if this Change to Z conversation took place, why did I not note such change in my day planner? Itís my lifeline and everything is in its proper place; how else do I manage to balance school, work, and writing if it is not laid out before me like the architectural renderings of St. Peterís Basilica? I use different colored inks for clarification Ė green for school stuff, blue for work stuff, red for writing stuff Ė and I do tallies and mileage and invoice-stuff in black, and then there is the pencil I do for None of the Above stuff, stuff like haircuts and get milk reminders.

Damn it. I hate feeling like this. Iím thinking we did talk and I just donít remember that. Itís easier to take the wrong than fight for the right when the person who thinks she is right is your boss Ė it does lend credence and weight to the issue, doesnít it?

During college I worked for Maintenance Stores, the warehouse / inventory / supply / purchasing hub for my university. It was part of my job to order products for the university ranging from tiny bolts to plants and flowers to tables and desks, but the majority of my responsibility was handling all the custodial products Ė and I loved that job. I loved learning about the ins and outs and behind-the-scenes info about urinal cleanser and gum remover. I loved calling Unisource and placing orders for this and that and every three months I would place an order for toilet paper and paper towels Ė usually about $5,000 dollarsí worth. Well one time I (apparently?) forgot a comma and the purchase order became $50,000 dollarsí worth of paper towels and toilet paper. You can imagine the consternation when the delivery trucks arrived and pallet after pallet came inside. Gregg, my boss, came up to me and asked if there was a compelling reason for the excess, wondering if perhaps there was a virus running through the dorms. It took forever to track down but yes, I had made an error. It wasnít that big a deal in the long run Ė because I would have had to order the products anyway Ė but it was a storage headache and yes, I was the one who stacked paper products ten cases high in another warehouse and I was also the one who had to schlep pallet jacks back and forth in a scene reminiscent of Building the Great Pyramid. We all laughed at the time but I felt foolish and like a failure, the same way Iím feeling now.

And add to that this thing of favorite diaries. Of all things, yesterday I saw that wow! 46 people list me as a favorite and today I glanced again and it is 45; and why do I have to remember everything I read? I know who the rejector is and that same sense of failure pervades. Iíd like to be one of those who laughs and shrugs it off but Iím not that type. Ideally, Iíd have zero because I wouldnít have to worry about pleasing people and disappointment, but then Iíd castigate because I couldnít please anybody. Thereís no balance at all, is there? Or no balance with me, I mean. Are other people like this, too? Are you as concerned about failure and expectations and pleasing people? If youíre a shrug-offer, whatís the secret?

So todayís theme is failure, failure, failure and itís not even the mid-afternoon yet.

 

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