Rough Day at Black Rock

February 08, 2006

Today has been rough. For some time now I have been getting more and more confused by the design approach we are using on my project at work. This approach, coupled with a rather dense application framework, has contributed to feelings of inadequacy and lowered my battered self esteem even more. Feeling stupid has always been a trigger for me and today I reached the breaking point.

In a fit of embarrassment and shame I gathered my belongings and left the building in a rush. I need to break down and cry but I couldn’t let myself have that release while at work. Before I was out of the parking lot I was crying uncontrollably. And before I was to the end of the street my cell phone rang with a call from my best friend at work. He was concerned about me and wanted to help. His grace and tact gave me the space I needed to release my feelings of failure. He validated that the difficulty I was having was shared by others on the team, that he himself was struggling with aspects of our approach. And he told me that in his eyes I wasn’t failing at my job. Finally he volunteered to work with me to help me past my current mental block.

It was exactly what I needed and yet couldn’t find a way to ask for.

If there is a silver lining to this blackest of clouds it is the discovery of true friends and a renewed faith in the goodness of man. I have been truly fortunate to have brought to my life people of the highest calibre. Not just in their moral character but in their willingness to connect to me, unflinchingly, at a real level, when I am in the throes of some very difficult emotions.

I not only popped a big emotional bubble this morning, and released a lot of pent up frustration and anguish, I realized that even when I feel utterly alone there are those who will reach out and support me. How cool is that?

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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.