June 13, 2003

I had another major throat episode last evening. We had Chinese takeout and I was forced to go to the bathroom three times. This almost never happens any more unless I am really avoiding something. After I was back at the table the last time we talked about it a little and Michele offered a suggestion as to what might be the cause. It isn’t about some issue that I am avoiding, or any unexpressed emotion on my part. It is about the general atmosphere here at work. People here are scared, angry, inward, worried, and just generally zooey. Even though I am working daily to center myself and to deal with my emotions, I am subject to the toxicity here.

Imagine working in a place where no one knows what is going to happen. You know change is coming, but you don’t know how dramatic it will be, or when it will occur. Everyone is going a little crazy, some are angry and tense, others seem fatalistically resigned to the outcome. What little comradeship that existed in the past has been shattered by the fractioning of groups by the uncertainty of what maybe coming. Everyone wants to talk at once, but no one says anything real. It’s all rumor, innuendo, and false allegations.

Coming into this place everyday is tearing me apart inside. I want to connect with these people at a real level but they aren’t capable of that now given the circumstances. My views and concerns feel unimportant when I share them, no one wants to listen anymore. Everyone wants to talk and dump their stuff, and they want it validated by me. However, I feel as though no one will validate my feelings.

So I come into work and slowly cook in this toxic stew of unexpressed emotion and then I go home and try to have a normal life there. Only I haven’t been able to because I haven’t been taking care of myself around the baggage I’ve picked up from my work environment. I need to focus some of my energy on dealing with the contamination I am getting just by being here.

I am good at taking care of myself emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually once I know what rocks I am carrying. Until last evening I wasn’t aware of the toxic rock I was getting here at work everyday. Now I can focus some energy on not picking that rock up anymore. And I will then be able to come back to me.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.