It’s taken me just over two years to work this one out. I don’t have a therapist anymore. I put the length of time it’s taken me to arrive at this conclusion down to that.

Every so often my job demands I work what’s known as an “on-call week”. Armed with a mobile phone and my trusty laptop (the one which had to be serviced due to excessive amounts of cat fur caught in the ventilation thingamy) I psyche myself up for the possibility that I may be called upon to do something unexpected and to carry it out in a reasonable professional way.

I do get calls like that and I do handle them like that too – I’m bound to say it.

In addition to this potentially random way of having to do work between the hours of 6pm and 9am (sleeping is allowed) I also have to do something of a regular publishing task.

It seems a little crass to say what exactly, but I can tell you that I find it really quite high pressure stuff even though I’m painfully aware some might consider this to be incredibly small-fry.

The task itself only takes 15 minutes (20 if things are bad) but every time I find my heart suddenly shifts gear. Despite the fact that I’ve done the same task five nights on the trot around about once every month (give or take) I still feel the pressure.

It hits me like a sledgehammer, the moment when I remember that actually this really is stress I’m feeling. In the thick of it I’ll wonder why on earth I’m still doing this when it affects me like it does. Then I reach that moment when I realise all is well and the task is over. Done. Completed. That’s like doing the 100 metre sprint and winning it. That’s when I remember I’d be more than happy to do it the next night and every night, weirdly.

I’m not really sure how that compares with other people’s work.

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