Overwhelmed (warning: long & whiny)

So here’s my sad story. I’m about halfway through a year-long portfolio school. I’m learning everything I ever needed to know about advertising, and I’m working on putting together a kick-ass portfolio in the process. I have nine pieces in my book right now, and thumbnails for at least that many that still need to be produced. I’m not lacking for ideas.

But being halfway through, there’s a lot of pressure now. Classes are getting much more challenging. We’re starting to show our work to potential employers (all in “practice” interviews, but still), and we’re starting to get serious about turning our ideas into beautiful ads. Fun stuff, but the August graduation date is looming large.

I know that I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself, too, but I feel like there’s good reason. I’m in the school’s first graduating class, so a lot weighs on our making a good impression and landing good jobs when we’re done. I don’t want to still be screwing around and trying to pull my book together at the end of the summer. It’s not just bad for me–it’s bad for the school if I do that.

I work full-time at the school, and I know they’re scrambling all the time to make the rent and pay the bills (the place is only about a year old). So I put in extra hours to help them out and make it possible for them to still have lives too. They know how much I do, and they appreciate it–they’re good guys. They also look out for me and have sent me home early before just to make sure I don’t ruin myself with all of this.

Adding to all this, though, is the fact that things with Mr. m aren’t as good as they could be. We’ve always had some problems, but my being so busy and his hating his job while I love mine have combined to make those problems even bigger.

Part of the deal with my quitting my old job to do this was that he’d get his turn to change careers once I get settled into a new job. But that means I need a job that’s going to pay decently and give us a certain amount of security. More pressure.

I know this is all going to work out, but it just feels like I’ve given up so much to do this and that I’m risking even more. I’m kind of an emotional mess lately, and I’m sure it’s because I’m tired and stressed. Plus I don’t have time for yoga anymore and my sleep schedule is all screwed up…

If you’ve read this far, thanks for letting me vent.

If yoga helps you with sleep and stress - MAKE TIME FOR IT! You are doing something to better yourself and your future and that is a good thing. However, taking on too much and putting yourself under too much stress can be counterproductive. You have to TAKE some time for you, be if for yoga, sleep, or chasing Mr.m around the coffee table. Giving you a little time for you will make you more productive in the long run.

Good luck with your new career!

Several things come to my half drunk mind. Do the following:

  1. Pull the neck of your blouse out
  2. Look down
    Do you see a big red S on the front of your bra? No? Guess what that means; you are not supergirl.
    Yeah the pressure is on. Yes it is stressful. However please come to realize that you cannot do it all. Something somewhere will have to slip. The secret between someone who is a go to guy and that flake is knowing what to let slide. Trust me on this, I have been doing it for years. :smiley:
    I have an Rx for you. Clear your schedule and take 3 hours off. Go to a park if the weather is nice, or go somewhere where you can shut your brain off and chill. Things will look better when you get back, I promise.

Hello there from someone’s who’s done it too. I applaud you and wish you well. My husband decided it was time to tell me he was over the whole husband-father thing just as I had enrolled to do a degree. Times were never tougher for me, but I lived by the credo “Life is Tough, but I am Tougher” and after a lot of crying nights and awful thoughts, I decided to keep on ploughing through. I am nearly about to graduate, have a wonderful son, managed my money (“Hello, can I pay this phone bill over the next 7 years please, without you disconnecting the service”) also i worked full time and was overseeing renovations. However, I don’t want to sound like I had it tougher than you. I do, though, want to say, hang in there and do something nice every once and a while to remind yourself why you’re putting yourself through this. For example, I would take a nice car on a test drive for a couple of hours or go to an open inspection of a house I eventually wanted to live in. It keeps you focussed and it keeps you in the frame of mind to succeed.

Then again, when I found the workload too hard, I’d cut back. No failures in that, just time management. Take care of yourself, because if you burn out it’s very hard to get back on horse (insert here whatever mixed metaphor you like). Good luck and kind wishes. DellieM

I know what you’re going through. I overloaded myself this quarter and I’m regretting it, plus associated marital stresses. Hang in there. Do you get a break soon? Overused phrase, I know, but take some time out for yourself. Even if it’s just having a quiet cup of tea and some yoga for a day (my personal indulgence is reading something I don’t have to). For at least one day, don’t do anything.

You will do great, but do remember to look after yourself!

You’re getting very stressed. How about taking a long weekend off with your husband? Go to a hotel, throw snowballs at each other, talk, go for walks, talk some more, go see a museum, etc. Have some WE time.

I wish you luck with everything. :smiley:

I suggest you consider carefully if you can cope with all the things in your life. It’s no disgrace if you have to cut back somewhere - we all need relaxation time.

How about:

  • putting your family first by reassuring your husband that you want him to have his turn etc

  • put yourself next by getting through the work and into a job you like

  • drop helping the school. **It is not your responsibility ** to save their business, guarantee their employees time off or singlehandedly boost theri reputation

Thanks everyone. Just another reason I love the Dope–it’s full of smart people who have good advice.

And I’m taking your advice too! I decided today that, while I can’t quit my job at the school (nor do I want to), I need to cut back. I’m not going to bring anything home with me anymore. What doesn’t get done at work can wait till the next day. I’ll still have stuff to do on nights and weekends, but it’ll be homework and portfolio work–and that’s where I need to really focus my energies.

Also, I made myself a new yoga mix CD today and then put it to use. I’d forgotten how good that feels.

I know this is all going to turn out OK. I love what I’m doing and have lots of support from my friends, family and bosses. I just need to remember to use it.

You didn’t mention that you got lynched by a mob of stupid villagers who thought you were a werewolf!

You’re putting in extra hours so that “they” get to have lives. You’re sacrificing your life for theirs? Not a good position.

So yeah, cut back. Don’t bring work home. Do yoga.

I’d also say that your husband hating his job isn’t your fault, and shouldn’t be put on your shoulders either.

That’s right! Those bastards–no wonder I’m stressed. It’s almost impossible to get any work done when I’m dead.

And the thing about working extra so they can have lives…they put in lots of hours too. It’s not that I’m staying till 10 so they can leave at 5. I just sometimes help with presentations and stuff so my boss doesn’t have to be up all night getting ready. We all try to look out for each other and keep any one of us from going too nuts and not spending enough time with kids/SOs.

The two times when I’ve had more of the kind of pressure the OP describes were 4th grade in college and my year in Philly.

4th grade: that year had 5 courses (out of 8) which would have been The Big Course in any other year. We had less class hours than usual (most days, only 4 hours, instead of 6) and yet there weren’t enough hours to study. I missed lunch a couple Sundays because I’d woken up at 5, set out to study, and noticed “gee, I’m hungry, wonder if it’s breakfast time already” - at 4pm!
Still, I set aside two half-days a week “for me”. Wednesday afternoon, I left the dorm early and walked down to Grandma’s (5 miles in 1 hour); after leaving Grandma’s, I’d go to my favourite bookstore, buy some comics and drool over the piles of books I couldn’t afford. Sunday afternoon, I read the comics and drew. Anxiety wonder what was in the comics, you say? Uy no, I didn’t have time, I was busy trying to figure out the thickness for an insulation wall…
I went to the movies three times in the whole year. The biggest of all big courses was Electronics: the afternoon before each of the three partial tests (which always took place in the morning), I went to an action movie. Big biceps, big explosions, a big bucket of popcorn and no touching the class notes again. Worked, too: I didn’t need to take the final exam :smiley:

Philly: sometimes we’d be working 14h days. Sometimes, 16. But our bosses (with an unglorious exception) were perfectly happy to “let us slack” when that kind of hours wasn’t necessary, or to have one of us stand up, declare “I can’t think any more, I’m going OUT!” and, well, go out. Two of us would do that; one of the bosses even congratulated me once for having dragged several coworkers outside on grounds of “it’s my birthday and I’m not having a stupid sandwich at my goddamned desk!”

For me, redirecting the nervous energies (into things that go BOOM or into walking real fast) works best. For my brother, yoga is doing wonders. Find one thing that works for you and remember that You Are Not Responsible For The World. It’s no good if you burn yourself out!