Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Over Over-thinking

I even over-thought the title of this story.

I still think I should call it “Over-thinking Over” instead of “Over Over-thinking.” The title, “Over-thinking Over,” basically says that my over-thinking days are over. But that title looks awkward. My current title, “Over Over-thinking,” seems to say clear enough that I’m done with over-thinking -- I’m over it.

However, will readers think it means I’m a double over-thinker, an over, over-thinker? I guess I am a double over-thinker, so it would work. But I want readers to know that, by the end of this story, I’ll be over over-thinking, done with it.

Maybe the dual meaning of the title “Over Over-thinking” is a good thing -- it’s ambiguous, makes you think. In fact, I want readers to get the dual meaning.

Now what if they don’t get both meanings? What if they only get one?

I’m running out of space here -- I better get started. As I stated earlier, by the end of this story, I’ll no longer be an over-thinker. That’s because my neurosis recently went into high gear, and nothing can stay in high gear too long without eventually breaking down.

It all began toward the end of summer. My wife and I came to the conclusion that if I didn’t get higher-paying work, we’d never see the year 2013. To say this is an overstatement is an understatement.

Actually, no, it’s pretty accurate -- I had to make more money. And then, just in time, I noticed a job opportunity at work, one that would pay exactly what we needed in order to see the New Year.

I really needed the job. And so I didn’t think twice about applying. I couldn’t afford over-thinking. I couldn’t have doubt.

No, the over-thinking and doubt came after I made my decision and took action, when it was too late to turn back.

I imagined management laughing at me for applying (“This guy actually thinks he’s good enough to apply for this job.”). I figured they’d disqualify me (“Sorry, only everyone else but you can apply.”).
I second-guessed my resume and letter of interest -- Why’d I attempt humor in my letter? I thought. I should’ve organized my jobs chronologically, not by skill set. And did I overdo it with the glossy paper?

A few days went by before I got an interview. My brain was at work the whole time.

They’re not even gonna call me in for questioning, I thought. I better keep looking for other work. But I’ve submitted hundreds of online applications and heard nothing. I’m no good. Maybe the right opportunity isn’t here yet. I’m not looking hard enough. Maybe five hours of sleep at night is too much.

When I got the interview, I was no less stressed. When I left, however, I felt really good about how I did.

And then I thought about it. I did horribly. Was I sitting up straight? I wondered. I think I mumbled. I know I repeated myself. There were those awkward pauses. But I needed those pauses to think. But I over-thought. Since when is thinking such a bad thing? Maybe management wants a faster thinker. Maybe the world will end in December as some people predict, making all of this irrelevant.

I asked myself why I put myself out there for failure. I guess if I didn’t apply, there could be nothing but failure. My brain kept spinning out of control while management made a decision. I wrote a follow-up letter, followed up in person and thought about a few other ways to check in. After a laborious debate in my head, I decided against further follow-up action. Then I followed up over the phone.

A week and a half later, the hiring manager called me into his office for my yearly review. I got excellent marks, the best I ever received. And then he told me I didn’t get the job.

I sat back in my chair and accepted the decision. I accepted my fate. It’s all I could do. So maybe I’d financially destroy my family. Maybe the entire world would end. But maybe my family would be okay. Maybe the world wouldn’t end. I couldn’t change how I got here -- over-thinking past moves was a waste.

I told my wife the news.

She asked, “Now what?”

I told her I’d just have to continue working hard, continue looking for work.

And she actually felt at ease. To tell you the truth, I felt at ease, too.

But what does that mean -- to feel at ease? Does that mean I’m not doing all I can to save my family? Does that mean I’m giving up? And why did I accept management’s decision? Maybe I should’ve challenged it. Maybe they wanted a rebuttal, to prove that I was the leader they wanted for the job . . .

I wrote that, by the end of this story, I’d no longer be an over-thinker.

I guess my story continues.

-November 2012

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