Regularly Overwhelmed by the Scope of Things

About 3-5 times a week I get overwhelmed with the scope of things in my work. Things are just big. There is a lot going on. There are many moving parts, people, all built on a whole lot of history. I find myself feeling like I am drowning in the details and escape multiple times a week. However, thankfully, each time, within hours I am able to find a solution to whatever led to me feeling overwhelmed, and I was able to connect the dots in a way that resolved things for me. While the feelings I have are overwhelming and can give me anxiety in the moment, I enjoy all of it a lot. It is where I am good, and have potential to excel.

I was driven up to Portland back in the late 1990s as I was trying to get my shit together to apply for a job with one of the top global consulting agencies. Once I got there, they sat us down and had us spend a couple of hours taking tests on computers. When we were done I went to talk to my representative who promptly told me to leave. I asked why? What had I done? He said I cheated on the tests. I said what are you talking about? He said, you scored 75% on the introductory and mid-level courses, but had scored 98% on the advanced courses. This is an assessment that tends to describe they way I am most days. I am good at complex things, but even the simplest of things can trip me up and leave me confused.

Growing up in a small town I was just odd. However, living in New York City, I finally feel like I am operating at the level I need. I like large scopes. I like complex systems. I like working my way through sprawling technical landscape studying the technical, but also the business, and the people end of things. I am thankful for feeling like I am drowning 3-5 times a week, because it means I am pushing myself. It means I am swimming in the deepest end of the pool or even out in open water. I need this. As much as I’d like to just go sit on a beach or along some lake, reading books—-I need to challenge my brain. I need the scope of problems and challenges I face working at Bloomberg. Otherwise, I worry I will have even more anxiety about myself and life than I do now.

I am very thankful for having found my career path. I am very thankful that I was able to successfully find my way out of a small town, and out of poverty. I just don’t think I would have survived. Literally. While it isn’t easy to get through the week working on such large projects, I fear it would be much more difficult for me to get through the week working some dead-end job in a small town. Nothing against those who do, but I just don’t think my brain could take it. My beaver brain needs to gnaw on things regularly otherwise I suffer. Over the years I have really learned to just trust myself. I allow myself to bite off more than I can chew. I leave myself room to fail, but also really hold myself really accountable to deliver something meaningful and of value to the places I am working. Which makes my work unsustainable in some environments and leading to things becoming unwieldy, but at this moment-—I have found the right place and scope to be operating at.