Today was another weird (but largely good) day for the books.
It started when I walked into work and two of my coworkers looked at me and asked why I looked so tired. The answer (volunteer stuff) didn’t surprise anyone, but I was a little dismayed that the exhaustion appears to be written all over my face at this point.
Later in the day, we had random cupcakes at work (look, see how pretty!) to celebrate our company being named on Fortune’s Best Workplaces for Women list. It really is a fantastic company to work for, so the honor is well-deserved… and I’ll accept any excuse for mid-day treats. 🙂
Just after I finished off my cupcake, my phone rang and an Austin, TX area code appeared on the screen. Out of curiosity, I answered it and was caught a little off-guard when I learned who was calling. Apparently one of the people stationed in the Austin mega shelter for Hurricane Harvey had gotten ahold of my volunteer business card (I swear, more people in Texas government have my card than all of the people in Pennsylvania after this operation). I guess I had helped him at some point, and he was calling to let me know that he was finally leaving the shelter and moving into a new home today. There was a little more to the call, but that was the gist of it. I was a little confused – I’ve been gone for a week and a half now / I don’t remember giving any shelter residents my card / I was at work / I had just gotten off of a long string of conference calls / I had icing in my hair – but I was happy to hear a success story. I thought I was fine, until a few minutes after I hung up the phone and I was staring at pointless work emails and I realized just how badly I want to be back and how much that kind of work means to me (versus working on approval logic for big businesses). I got a little emotional and almost teared up at my desk – sad tears because I can’t be doing everything I want to help these people, and happy tears because I actually made enough of an impact on someone that he called me almost two weeks later to tell me he was landing back on his feet. I’m such a hot mess of emotions. Blame the exhaustion.
Just a few minutes after that call ended, I gave up on work for the day and headed out. I’d scheduled a volunteer training session at a local bar (again, it’s good to be the boss!) and I didn’t want to be late. On my way driving to the bar, I got a disaster call (because I’m literally on-call just about every single day), so as soon as I got inside and met my volunteer, I had to skip out on them to coordinate the disaster response. Eventually, we managed to complete the training and I managed to get one little piece of the puzzle off my plate. As we were talking, the volunteer remarked on how many things I do – it’s not often I get to show anyone the laundry list of tasks and responsibilities I maintain, but I had to for this training to show her where this task fits into the rest of the things. It was strangely gratifying to have someone else see what I do and to understand how much time it takes. Sometimes our staff will say thank you, but I always take it the wrong way (Like, “Thanks for doing my job for me”). But when a volunteer sees how what I do fits into the larger scheme of things and then hugs me and says thank you for doing so much, that’s totally different. Again, I almost cried. #hotmess
So now it’s after 11pm and I haven’t had a chance to eat dinner yet. I’m still on-call until 6am, and then tomorrow I’m on-call again starting at 6pm and then I have our monthly volunteer meeting. No rest for the wicked, nor for the over-utilized and under-paid. But so long as I can keep getting little morsels like letters and phone calls from clients, and maybe if I can start letting other volunteers understand exactly what I do, I can keep this thing going (sleep or no sleep). 🙂