I wouldn't characterize advertising as an unhealthy addiction. I was* very well suited for the cadence of the work. Maybe a little too well suited for it.
*Tenses (particularly regarding my advertising world) are inconsistent throughout. Neither past nor present feels quite right. I guess that just comes with writing about the world you're in, particularly when it's changing.
When I started at the lab, I had this low-grade concern I was missing something. I mean missing as in "not there" (versus missing as in "I'm sad this thing isn't here anymore"- though that has come into play). I'm not just talking about voicemails, e-mails and meetings (though I certainly have less of all those things). Deeper seated than that. But not sad.
The feeling was first brought to the surface when my work required me to be offsite. I felt I needed to tell someone I wouldn't be around.
But, I couldn't think of who to tell or why.
In fact, I was concerned that broadcasting my absence would be an indication of a false sense of self-importance rather than the intended reason of, um, being conscientious, habit?
A few days later I left the lab to go get my ID. The whole ordeal took three hours (the reason it took three hours touches on bureaucracy, a topic for another post). The relevant info: I was gone for three hours. Sans phone.
When I returned I had that feeling in the pit of my stomach I would be walking into a fire-drill (not that I have any idea what a fire-drill even looks like for my projects). Or that a shit-storm could have happened and been resolved in my absence though I would still have to wade through the whole damn incomprehensible e-mail chain and reconstruct the situation.
Of course nothing had gone awry.
Nor was there any e-mail build up.
E-mail volume is such that sometimes I wonder if the server is down.
Once I even sent an e-mail to myself to check.
I totally understand my "I must be missing something" feeling has way more to do with my anxiety, ego, sense of responsibility (read: importance) than it does the differences in work responsibilities.
There were plenty of times I was stressed out about work while away from work (by work I mean advertising). Sometimes the worry was needless, other times it was warranted. My work has always been important to me. On some level I've felt important to my work. I've struggled with that because I know work is an entity. It can't feel anything towards me. The entity, however, is comprised of real people. None of us, however, indispensable (the illusion otherwise is natural, necessary and probably healthy). That's an equally relieving and saddening reality that could send me on an existential tangent from where I might never return. If I was in a Facebook relationship with work I would opt for the "It's complicated" status.
It's too early to describe my relationship with my new work. My sense is that regardless the level of importance we have to each other the nature and frequency of stress will be of a different variety than that of the ad world.
So back to the de-tox analogy. I've been a month without the cadence of advertising. I didn't necessarily yearn for it or suffer withdrawal but I certainly feel the absence and know it's affecting me.
I feel less anxious.
Oh, I'm still plenty anxious, but something is lifting.
"Relax" has been the resounding counsel of others and my counsel to myself (regardless the issue). Trying to relax? I don't have outline the circularity there. Or get into the fine line between energy and anxiety, the former a quality I will always embrace.
This might be negligible, imagined or short-lived. But, that's where I'm at after one month clean.
And because every post (especially touchy feel-y ones like this) needs pictures, here are a few shots of the calming environment we call "The Center" (Doesn't that sound like a line from the brochure you might hand a loved one during an intervention?)
I brought in my driver and left it there for a day or two as a joke. Either nobody noticed or nobody got it.
Door to boss's office. Even when the door is closed, it's open.
Comfy couches, massage chair like the ones you sit in when you get a pedicure. A red-headed co-worker (he matches the couch) with a NewYork accent.
And yes, those are pictures of giant naked ladies in the background.
There's also the supply closet.
And coffee. And machines that make variations on coffee. I don't drink any of that but it makes everyone else very happy.
And booze (not pictured). No pub or beer on tap. We go right for the hard stuff.
Update: The day after I write this post look what arrives in the lab. I must have summoned it.
Macrame would not have been my first choice for my cocoon but as long as I wake with youthful vigor, I'll tolerate it.
Actual content about what I'm doing at the lab (besides napping) is forthcoming. I'm in the midst of crafting a few pieces for consumption here and elsewhere. My goal is to write about the work in a digestible and engaging manner without oversimplifying or eclipsing content with humor.
While this blog mostly serves as an outlet for self absorption, pith and online scrapbooking I am using it as both an exercise and counterbalance for other writing.