There is a recurring phrase in Terry Pratchett's Discworld books: "You do the job that's in front of you", usually used by Sam Vimes, and occasionally by Granny Weatherwax, both of whom have hard jobs to do but do them anyway because somebody has to.
I don't have a particularly hard job; it's an incredible, fun, interesting job that I feel privileged to do every day. But because the place is so understaffed, all of us end up 'doing the job that's in front of us' even when it's not a good idea. Like moving extremely heavy and awkward things when you're recovering from a broken arm. To be fair, I broke it five months ago, and it is well on the way to healing, but this last week I have shifted a lot of large, heavy boxes in cramped, awkward spaces, and it is pushing my recovery backwards. I had a physio appointment this morning and told her that my arm was more sore this week than it has been in a while, but then afterwards went into work and got right back on with carrying things that I know I shouldn't. And this evening I'm back on the painkillers.
And I know I should have not done what I did today, but there is a culture at work of suffering in silence - everyone has bad backs or other (usually work-related) health problems, but because there are so few people to do these things or to ask for help, they all feel they have to soldier on rather than show signs of weakness (or something like that!). And this culture is infectious - I took one week off work when I broke my elbow. One week. I was still in a great deal of pain, and could barely use my right arm, when I went back, but I felt I had to or I'd be letting people down. And I have spent weeks (months, now) struggling to type, and to move drawers or boxes of specimens, but I have kept my mouth shut and kept going, because it's what everyone else does.
Tomorrow I am NOT going to be moving heavy boxes. Either somebody else can help, or they're not going to be moved.
Sorry to get all maudlin and ranty on you today, but sometimes it's nice to get things off your chest! And I haven't written anything here in ages! I have been to lots of amazing gigs recently, so maybe I'll write a post about those later this week. But right now I have to go rest my sore arm because typing is making my wrist hurt!