My eyes are trained to snap straight to my computer screen when my inbox dings. I can answer multiple telephone lines while I fact-check and edit documents. I have set strict deadlines for materials and can deftly hole-punch, staple, collate and assemble binders at the drop of a hat.
Forgive me while I wax poetic about my busy work life. It’s not fascinating to most, and can be considered mundane to the average Joe. But I create almost a hundred binders filled with confidential material in a matter of days (which includes editing, printing, assembling and delivery).
This is only a piece of my life right now. I’m also juggling correspondences and planning for five VIPs who are coming to our graduation ceremonies next month. I’m literally in charge of getting them from their homes (across the world) to my building’s front steps.
Some don’t speak the same language as me. Some have never been to Chicago. Some can’t even point Chicago out on a map. I’m in charge of them for a handful of days here and planning all of this has been somewhat trying.
Top it off with designing posters and materials for a few other departments, fixing the printer, being a receptionist, answering phone calls, and trying to be the glue that keeps this office running smoothly…. I’m busy.
I’m not overwhelmed. I handle multiple things like a well-oiled press. I can get things organized and cohesive in a matter of minutes.
Busy, but not stressed.
When I’m stressed, I get heated. My internal temperature rises, my eyes start to shift back and forth. I can’t seem to concentrate. My control and organization goes out the window while my shoulders sag.
Busy, but not stressed and definitely not overwhelmed.
There is a big difference. If I’m sitting at my desk, emersed in thought, typing quickly… it’s not because I’m rushing to complete something. It’s because I naturally type fast, I’m deep in concentration, and I’m working. I’m busy. I have things to fill my time and deadlines to keep.
So when I’m not smiling 24/7? It doesn’t mean something is wrong (So don’t ask). It doesn’t mean I’m stressed (So don’t ask). It doesn’t mean that I am ridiculously overwhelmed and need a vacation (The last part is true. But don’t ask).
Part of having a job, and having a job that you do well and actually enjoy, is that you are busy…and can handle anything that comes your way because you’ve been there before. You know what to expect. You can handle the unexpected.
But please, don’t assume that having a fake 24/7 smile plastered on your face means anything different. My brows aren’t furled, my lips aren’t snarled. I am simply a blank slate. I am busy, which is good for business.