Thursday, August 4, 2011

The strangest measure of stress

We are a stressed department – no doubt about it.  We have two very major projects going through user acceptance tests, and time is tight (hey it's a testers life).  Testing is “lucky” in being the same group across both projects.

Stress is a communicable disease.  To revisit the story of Chicken Little, all it takes is one stressed bird to set off the whole farmyard.

Sure enough we'll have a meeting and everyone leaves in a complete flap.  Then 3 hours later I sober up and remind myself I'd planned for this, and we'll be fine.  But under stress you forget such details.

I've become quite aware just how much my memory leaks (and it's not just me) – there is so much going on around it's hard for your brain to process the urgent from the trivial – esp as everyone thinks their part is important (remember marketing and the “wrong shade of green”).

I do an aerobics dance class (Body Jam) – it's my only vice honest!  It's both mentally and physically challenging – you have to build up a routine of choreography to execute over 55 minutes.  It's usually good stress relief, and I'm pretty good at it, but lately I'm all over the place.  Just lost.

That's kind of echoed at work, the stress is such you're so busy fighting fires you don't have a plan anymore.  Classic waterfall exhaustion.

I don't like stress, it makes us into different people.  Short term not so bad, but long term it reduces our effectiveness.  I've also had a colleague and best friend commit suicide because stress put them in such a bad place ...

So here we are ticking down the days, in stress and terror we might not reach our deadline.  But the real fear though ... the real fear is reaching it.  Because that makes this way of working "a successful way of working".  Oh my God no!