And then everything changed

Freitag, 30. Oktober 2015

Your Work Is Not Your Life or How I survived my business trip

I haven't been around for the last couple of weeks because I was on a major business trip. I went to the biggest book fair in Germany and besides having a booth there for 5 days, I also organized four readings and three evening events. I usually went to bed between 1am and 3am and had to get up at 6.30am. If you do this for 5 days in a row, you soon turn into a zombie which is excactly what I did.

Before the trip, I was so nervous, I couldn't sleep most of the time because I was so worried about what could go wrong. With that many events involving than many poeple (authors, dancers, musicians, technicians, press etc.) there are a million things that can go wrong, so many that something WILL go wrong no matter how prepared you think you are. And I'm only one person with one brain trying to not freak out about the 1000 things I have to think of,

But, and I never thought I'd say that, the whole trip was a success. We had a huge audience during our shows and we sold a lot of books - and in the end this is what it's all about. Also there were no major catstrophes (though there were plenty of small ones which add u to quite a problem) and I survived the trip not only physically but also mentally. The sole reason for latter is because I emotionally detached myself from my company.

The stressiest day by far was Thursday when we had our first evening show involving dance, music and readings. I was at the location at 5pm as planned to start the soundcheck, but every single dancer and musician was late. Then there were cables missing and the technician had to leave and buy new ones. Then the background music didn't work because the CD was broken and we had to improvise. Then the singers couldn't hear themselves on the stage because the speakers where directed towards the audience not the stage and they freaked out. Then we forgot to bring the book of one of the authors who was reading. And then my boss, who moderated the whole evening, was late and the audience was getting inpatient.

But once the show started it was all forgotten. Well, the singers where still complaining about the sound but they did it backstage and not on stage. On stage they were fabolous as always and the audience was delighted.

During all this time between the supposed start of the soundcheck and the actual show, obviously, I was freaking out quietly. But then I told myself: I did my best and though some things went wrong, a lot of things also went perfectly well and I did a lot better than during the last event. I have only held this job since April, so noone can expect me to be flawless. Also a lot of the problems weren't my fault. And - most importantly - this is only my job. I am an employee, and though I am doing my job the best I can, I am not personally resposible for every tiny thing that goes wrong. This is the upside of being an employee. I am honestly trying my very best here and and can't give it more than that.

So when I got home after this stressful trip, I didn't complain about how hard it was and I didn't think about all the things that went wrong (I mean, during the last event, I crashed my bosses car, so it can't really get worse than that, right?). No, When I came home, I snuggled up to my boyfriend, I watched funny movies, I slept a lot. I enjoyed all the beautiful things in life which are not my job. Because though I spend a lot of time working, my work is not my life. I have dreams which have nothing to do with my job. I have hobbies and interests and passions aside from my work. I have a wonderful partner who I love with all my heart, fabolous friends and a family, which supports me no matter what. Those are the things that matter. This is my life. And I am very grateful for it.

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