After taking the weekend off, I returned to work on Monday morning, at which point my boss threw me right back on the same hopeless project. I worked on it, working overtime and repeatedly telling him that I was on the verge of a breakdown and could not continue to work on the project, running on about 6 hours sleep in the past 48 hours, until this morning, when I broke after half an hour at work.
After getting myself enough together to compose an email, I emailed my boss, telling him that I would be taking unpaid personal leave for health reasons starting immediately. I again told him that he could fire me if he wanted to, but I could no longer work on that project under any circumstances, and I left the office.
After driving around aimlessly for some time, repeatedly having to pull over to compose myself enough to get back on the road, I headed home, intending to change into hiking clothes and hit a trail to try to relieve some of the relentless anxiety. My boss CAME TO MY HOUSE and told me that I HAD to come back to work. I told him, again, that my mental state was extremely precarious, and I felt I had to take some personal leave to recover. He reiterated that I HAD to come to work and work on that project, at which I flipped the fuck out.
Oh my God the DRAMA.
Guys, over the past 29 years, I have worked on many, many projects which were not particularly enjoyable, as anyone does. I have rescued my boss from disaster more times than I can count, but when he handed me this project, which needed to be done by someone with his skill set and his professional education, I was doomed to failure. He gets $175.00 per hour to do this particular job, and he dumped it on my desk and expected me to deal with it. I could not. It would be like taking me into an operating room, handing me a scalpel, and expecting me to perform brain surgery. It was an impossible task for me.
Where do things stand now? I don't know. I need to accomplish some goals before I can make any decisions. I need to be able to eat without throwing it back up (yep, that's happening, too), I need to be able to sleep more than two hours at a time without waking up in a blind panic, and I need to be able to stop hyperventilating every fifteen goddamn minutes. Once I can get myself off the precipice I'm currently on, I may be able to make some decisions.
My boss told me this morning that I was putting him in a "terrible position", and I wanted to say, "Like you did when you handed me a project you knew I was in no way capable of completing?" Part of the problem is that he's about to leave for (another) month in Europe, but I can't be concerned about that right now. Maybe he should have thought about the timing of that particular leisure trip, while he was right in the middle of doing construction management on a million-plus dollar project.
So that's where things are right now. I need to regain my mental stability before I can make any decisions about returning to work, and in the meantime, if my boss fires me, he fires me.
To be continued ...