Well, things are changing some more at work. It looks like everyone who is here now, will not necessarily be there in a few more weeks. So, that’s interesting. And a little scary. I’m told that I am “safe”, whatever that means.
All that more motivation to get myself in gear and become as self-sufficient as possible. I’ve got a great idea for a new business, which ties together the parts I enjoyed most about what I’ve done in the past, as well as my future interests. And to top it all off, there’s a need and a market for what I have to offer.
So, that’s good. I just need to keep focused on it.
God knows, I’m motivated NOW…
But to tell the truth, that’s just the cold, hard facts of life. Companies don’t know how to run their business. They have completely wrong ideas about what constitutes success, and a whole lot of people in the world are content with just being comfortable… relieving the pain that they cause to themselves… and feeling important. They don’t really focus on results. They don’t really focus on profitability. They are more concerned about how the look to other people, and that’s all that matters to them.
And so they have to downsize. Because they don’t have high-performance lives. They don’t have high-performance workforces. They believe that everyone is on their own, when it comes to motivating themselves, and they don’t do much to help. Their darwinism comes around to bite them in the ass… and they sigh and wring their hands about “unavoidable circumstances”.
Please. That is very sad.
So, that being said, it’s time for me to go study and work on my business ideas. I have several, which I have researched and believe have a good chance of being useful to others. It’s really about being useful to others and communicating the value to them. It’s all about everyone else and what they need — and how to provide it to them.
And that’s what I’m going to do. That’s what I’ve always done in my 9-to-5jobs, and it’s served me well.It’s what keeps me safe, when others arebeing shown the door, and why not translate that to the outside world?
My main hurdle in doing all this, is distraction and losing focus. So, I have to keep my eyes on the prize and get there, one step at a time. Keep my priorities tightly trained on my intentions, and measure my progress at every step, so I know I’m going in the right direction.
This applies all across the board, quite frankly. And whether I am doing this in my own life and businesses,or I’m doing it “on the job” for someone else, the benefits and results are the same — good and solvent and always learning.
I’m 70% “with-it” this morning – I got 7 hours of sleep last night, which is pretty good, considering my recent track record, and I woke up without an alarm. I’m doing better about heading to bed when I need to, rather than staying up to watch a little late-night talk show joking around, as I often do. The really funny people come on around 11 p.m., which is when I should be in bed.
Last night, I peeled myself away from the television and headed off to bed at 10:45, which is real progress for me. And although I felt like staying up and reading and keeping my brain in motion, when I got into bed and relaxed, I was too tired to do anything else.
I simply slept. Through the night. And woke up feeling pretty danged good, if I say so myself.
So, that’s progress. It’s been hard-fought, but I’ve done it. Yeah.
It’s a start.
I really didn’t feel like exercising this morning, but then I realized that I was lying in bed checking Facebook, when I could have been riding the exercise bike and checking Facebook, so why didn’t I just get up? So, I did, and I rode for 10 minutes and 2-1/2 miles — pushing myself a little harder at the end, without too much of a worsening headache. I also did my knee exercises while my coffee brewed and my egg cooked up. I worked on my balance while I did those exercises, and I realized that my balance is much better than it was, just a few months ago. Something is working better.
I’m feeling pretty good this morning, Fog Factor not withstanding. I’ve been fighting off a cold for a few days, and it felt like it was getting the better of me, first thing this morning. Now, though, it feels like it’s backing off, so that’s good.
Unfortunately, I’m probably not going to feel this great for another couple of weeks. I’m going on another business trip this coming week. Then comes the jet-lag. Then comes the pretending that I’m not jet-lagged. Then comes the extra work in the midst of jet-lag and meetings with people who speak other languages than me, and figuring out how to navigate the world far from my home. Last trip, I fought it tooth and nail, melted down over the prospect of going, and I had a really rough time just prior to going.
This time, I’m doing better at accepting the situation and seeing what I can get out of it. I’ve got a much better attitude, and I can see some saving graces.
It’s just tough, having to uproot myself for all this time… and then have to struggle through the return with the bone-crushing fatigue and disruption to my sleep schedule.
The good (no, great) part is, this will probably be my last big trip for quite some time. Just like last year, and the year before, we have to travel a few times at the beginning of the year under stupidly demanding circumstances. I consider it a test by management to see how on-board we are with their authority, and to test us about how much we’re willing to sacrifice for the team — pretty much a stupid-ass macho display of strength. woo. effing. hoo.
Rant alert: Let’s see who can put their family through the most hardship during the months when things can be the toughest at home — especially for folks who live in snowy areas — and let’s see who can show up at work the most bright-eyed and busy-tailed. Like I said, a bunch of macho crap — aging warhorses who feel the need to exert their authority over the minions.
I hope they feel good about themselves. /End Rant
But those displays of uber-capability don’t usually last long, because – you know what? – hauling staff all over creation is expensive, especially with air travel and accomodations as pricey as they are today, so corporate predictably put the kaibosh on that. Serves ’em right. Of course, there will be eager little keener brown-nosers who will suck up and “do whatever is necessary” to book more miles and hot-foot it all over the world throughout the course of the year. Congratulations. Bully for you. You win the prize for Most Cooperative and also Most Gullible. If you think for a moment that you won’t get tossed aside if you prove un-useful to the overlords, you have another thing coming.
Once upon a time, I was a Believer, too. And I found out what that gets you, if you aren’t vigilant or evil enough to beat the bastards at their own game.
It’s sad, really. I hate to see other people find out the exact same thing. And here I am counting down the hours till I have to go — 31-1/2, right about now.
But I’m making the best of the situation, which is progress. I’m not harboring any illusions that I’m going to be able to magically transform my life through abject obedience to task-masters, and I’m going to just enjoy things as they are, for what they are. I’m going to get what I can out of the circumstances, having some thorough travel experiences, and learning what I can along the way. It’s all a learning opportunity, resentments aside. It’s a chance for me to step outside my everyday life and see what I can make of things. It’s not going to be forever. So, I might as well enjoy it now.
I’m just going to BE here — all here. And see what comes of it. The older I get, the more precious life is to me. Everyday life. Boring old life. Regular life. It’s just so fascinating, the more I know about what all goes into making it everyday and boring and regular. It’s not run-of-the-mill at all. It’s nothing short of a miracle.
So, in pursuit of my own miracles, I’m getting myself set up properly, so I have all the tools to make the most of my trip. I have a checklist I follow for what to take, and what NOT to take. The last time I went, I did not take my personal tablet, because A) I didn’t have a keyboard for it, so I thought it would be of limited use to me, and B) I didn’t think I’d need it. I was wrong on both counts. I could have really used my tablet on the last trip, if only to do some personal work and have a connection with my own world, where I didn’t have to rely on my work-issued devices for contact with MY world.
I learned my lesson from that experience. It was so dreary and limiting, to not have any personal contact with my world, but to have to go through my work devices for everything… to not be able to blog or look at my personal email, to have to work around all the policies and limitations on personal use of work equipment.
This time, I am taking my own personal tablet with its new keyboard. I am going to spend time writing and also collecting notes and observations from my travels. I’ll have time at the airport and on the plane to do some reading and writing, which is good. It’s all good.
I have really noticed that since I’ve gotten back to reading, I am feeling much better about myself and my life. Ironically, having a way to escape the pressures of the day-to-day makes me feel so much more better about tackling those pressures. Even if I just read for a little bit each day, it soothes me and it gets me out of my own head.
Writing helps me, as well, because it gives me some distance from my “problems” and it helps me put things in perspective. It also helps me organize my thoughts — I can tell a huge difference between how I was processing information five years ago, and how I’m processing it now. I’m much better at staying on topic, and I’m much better at getting some distance. When I can’t get distance, I end up running away from everything in my mind, distracting myself and keeping myself busy and occupied with any old crap that comes along.
By giving me a way to think through my life in an organized fashion, this blog has helped me tremendously.
It keeps me involved in my own life, as I think through the details of my life.
It keeps me all here.
So, today, it’s steady-on. I have a short list of things I need to do, to prepare for my trip. I’ve already done a bunch of things to prepare, so I have a more civilized approach this weekend. If I get some of these little to-do items out of the way, first thing, then I can kick back the rest of the day and just relax, which is cool. This is my new thing – doing things ahead of time, so I have big chunks of free time later on, when the Must-Do items aren’t hanging over my head. I have been a chronic procrastinator for a long, long time, but now I “get” the value of clearing my plate and clearing my slate, so I have free and open space to think and just BE.
Heck, I may actually be able to take a walk later today and really get my blood pumping. The woods are a little mucky right now, so I’m probably not going to go for a hike, but I can definitely get out on the back roads. And wear my bright red coat when I do, because it’s a little gray today, people don’t always pay attention when they drive around here, and I don’t want to blend in with the mid-winter gray landscape.
So, yes. Onward. I’ll go take care of those odds and ends, and have the rest of the day to myself. My spouse is going on another business trip today, so I’ll be flying solo. It will give me time to relax and sleep and clean up some of my work clothing, and maybe even watch some Kung Fu movies this evening while I have dinner. I haven’t watched any Zatoichi movies on Hulu since I was violently ill with the flu, this time last year. I miss just lying around, watching tales of the Blind Swordsman without a care in the world.
Today is a day when I can dispense with my cares and just go about my business. I may do some business preparation for my trip, or I may not. I have a presentation I need to refine, so I may work on that. And I have an internal newsletter to write, so I may start drafting that.
Getting back to my regular life is hitting me, about now. Thank heavens it’s a long weekend. If I had to go to work tomorrow, I’m not sure what I’d do.
No, I know what I’d do. I’d go to work. Because that’s what I do.
I’m really feeling the effects of jet lag, right about now. Yesterday was a really challenging day, because I was starting to really get hit hard by the fatigue, the change of time zones, the change of pacing to my everyday life. I can function, absolutely. But it knocks the stuffing out of me, for sure.
Not that it stopped me, yesterday. I had a really good, fully day, actually. I did a lot of cleanup around the house, and I spent about 4 hours helping my spouse pack for a short business trip that they needed a lot of supplies and equipment for. It seemed to me that the amount of work going into preparation far exceeded they payoff, but from what I hear, the trip was a success and many of the goals were accomplished, so maybe it was worth it, after all.
I started to seriously run out of steam around noontime yesterday. That was with 2-1/2 hours of intense preparation still to go. I had been going since 10:00, and I was beat. I just wanted to lie down. Crash. But I kept going. I focused on what needed to be done, and I did it. And I didn’t get all caught up in my resentments and tiredness and anxiety and frustration about being back from a really demanding trip and having to do even more work for someone else — work that had nothing to do with me, really, but that I had to help happen, or it wasn’t going to happen at all.
In the past, I have gotten dragged down in that thinking, and that head trip just pulls all my energy away from what really matters and what’s most important. The important thing is to just get things done, just do the job, just get everything squared away, as only I can. I can’t let anger and resentment and fatigue get the upper hand. I just have to buckle down and push on.
Which is what I did yesterday. And even though I was even more beat, by the time I was done, I actually felt really good about it. I had gotten a ton of exercise, after a relatively sedentary trip. And I had definitely gotten the blood pumping, which I’ve been needing. All the activity got me out into the day, doing something constructive, and it got me moving in my own space, at my own home, on my own turf.
Which was nice. Because I have really missed my home, while traveling. I miss my schedule, I miss my own bed, I miss my routine. I am such a creature of habit, that when I have to turn everything upside-down, it turns me upside-down, as well. Finding my balance again, during and after travel… well, that’s a challenge. But I’m learning better all the time about how to do this thing.
After all, it really is a learning experience. I’m learning how to handle things better and better. I’m developing new skills in adapting and finding opportunity that I can make the most of. And I’m acclimating to the idea that all of life around me is really a classroom I report to each and every day. I have to go to class, but it’s my choice how much I engage, and what I learn along the way.
I tend to think about change with a mixture of dread and hostility. Because it’s threatening my way of thinking and living and my sense of self. I have never been a fan of change, but I think that’s because I always saw it as something that either happened to me or was done to me. “Change” is something I usually think of as separate from me. It’s a set of circumstances beyond my control that I have to adapt to, or else.
Change has long been a sword of Damocles hanging over my head, suspended by a very thin thread, with no guarantee that I’ll be able to successfully adapt to it.
That’s not been particularly helpful to me in my life. It’s made me brittle and rigid and inflexible, and it’s helped make me a lot less happy than I could have been, all these years.
But in fact, when I think about it, change is really nothing more than a learning experience. It’s just a shifting set of conditions that we can learn to maneuver through, just as we’d learn to drive a car or ride a bike. Driving a car and riding a bike are two things many of us learn to do, as a matter of course in our lives. And there are a ton of other things we need to learn, in order to be happy and productive in the world.
We don’t kick and fight and scream about learning to do those things — like ride a bike and drive a car and read and write and (some of us) swim. We go through the steps we need to take, to learn to do them, and some of us learn to do them better than others. Some just show up and put in the minimum required effort and come away with some modicum of ability. Others really apply themselves and think long and hard about the best way of doing things and develop mad skills that put others to shame. In any case, it’s up to us, what level of effort and attention we put into mastering our new skills. Even those who struggle to learn and adapt, can find ways to do so — or find compensatory techniques to aid them in the absence of innate ability.
The same is true of the changes that take place in our lives and our circumstances. We have to re-train ourselves and our minds. We have to learn how to do different things in established ways, or do old things in new and different ways. We have to acquire new skills and perspectives that help us make sense of our circumstances. We have to learn what doesn’t work, as well — what holds us back and drains our energy.
In any case, it’s all learning. It’s identifying new patterns and developing new ways of dealing with them successfully. The changes we face are not life conspiring against us to make us miserable. They’re not a plot by some nefarious foe who seeks to do us harm (well, sometimes it is, but it’s not very productive to dwell on that — fixating on that just takes up more time and energy, which makes it harder to come up with new and different approaches). They’re opportunities to reset our mindset and develop new abilities that make us more complete human beings.
So, that being said, I have a lot I need to learn and re-learn, these days. The big lesson at this moment right now, is how to deal with jet lag. I think I’m dealing with it pretty well, but I feel terrible in the process. I’m functional and I’m able to work pretty well, but I feel like crap, which is a real challenge for my frame of mind. Maybe I just need to expect this, and plan for it. Not get too much on my plate, and be sure to take time to rest and relax.
Yesterday was a hard day for that, because I had so much to do. And I have a lot of catching up around the house. It will get done. I have to believe that. I just can’t skimp on my sleep. Gotta take care of business — and that includes resting up. A lot. Because this coming week is a short one, but I have even more to do.
So, I have my list of things I need to do today. The top priority is making sure I have money in the right bank account, so that when I pay for my hotel, there’s no confusion.
I’m just going to take cash to the airport and exchange it there. Even if the exchange rate is worse and I pay more in fees, I will get reimbursed for that, and it will also simplify my life a great deal, to take care of the exchange later. I have to travel some distance around here to even find a bank that will sell me foreign currency.
The second priority for today is making sure I have all the pieces I need to travel comfortably – the right clothing for air travel, the noise-cancelling headphones that will make my flight smoother, and the mask that will keep me from getting sick from everyone else on the plane.
Last time I traveled overseas, I wore a surgical mask, and I did not get sick. I also did not get bothered by a lot of other travelers looking to strike up conversations. Even the flight attendants left me alone, which was a blessing.
For the record, I really hate engaging with people during air travel. It’s not that I don’t think they’re decent people – they just get so needy. They’re traveling away from their families, quite often, and they are looking for someone to talk to. They’re lonely.
I don’t get lonely when I am traveling alone. I enjoy it. And I don’t want to share some meaningful moments with a total stranger who will be gone from my life before you know it.
Air travel is a little like Thanksgiving with my family — I have to be surrounded by a lot of people who are not much like me, but I have to be in close quarters with them for a set amount of time, so I have to make the best of it.
I’m not much fun, these days. I’m just not in the mood for much of anything, and I don’t have a lot of joy for a lot of things in my life right now. It all feels like such a friggin’ chore. And I feel blocked into a job I thought was going to turn around, but has turned out to be an even bigger pain in the ass than the last one. I need to really be invested in this whole deal, in order to make a “go” of it, and that investment has gone down the tubes, thanks to overwork and a stupid uber-boss who I never really liked and is taking out their frustrations on their underlings. Additionally, the person I’m reporting to now, is even more clueless than the person I was reporting to before. They’re astonishingly manipulative, and they have no clue about what they’re doing, or what the consequences are going to be for others.
Please. Grow up, already. It’s not like I have a ton of time and energy to endure their stupidity.
But that’s their crap — and I have to keep that in mind.
For myself, I need to just focus on my own experience, and my own behavior and my own state of mind. Unfortunately, I have not been doing such a great job of that, lately.
One additional thing that’s made things more interesting, is that one of my teammates is leaving. They gave their notice last week, and yesterday was that last day I’ll see them, because they’ll be gone by the time I’m back in the country. It’s a mixed experience — they have made my life really difficult with their lack of experience, and they have been a source of constant distraction, with their poor work ethic and their constant chatting about things that have nothing to do with actual work. And while I have liked them well enough as a person, I have really hated working with them.
I mean, hated.
They were just so bad at some things, and the people in charge of them, were putting them in charge of doing the things they sucked at. Which made more work for me, because I was “downstream” and had to rework everything they did, a ton of times.
So, now they’re going, and it’s a relief. Although it’s not going to be easy to pick up the slack when they’re gone. Come to think of it, though, that’s not my problem. It’s their boss’es problem. And I was never their boss.
So there we have it.
And it’s time to move on. Get ready for this trip. Get my house in order, and just let go of a lot of things that I was really attached to, before — like the idea of having a new job I could really dig into. It was nice to think that for a while, but ultimately, it’s just not true. And once again I’m coming to terms with that fact.
It’s a little depressing, but the only reason it was depressing was that I had some unwarranted euphoria over things suddenly being That Much Better, thanks to the reorg. Things are better, sure, but there are a lot of people who lost something in the shuffle, who are making a stink and making life difficult for everyone, which is a total waste of time and only serves to vent their pain — onto others.
Again, lame and stupid. Juvenile.
The whole thing makes me want to just walk away. Or realize yet again — but as though for the first time (Groundhog Day alert) — that this is really just a job, and it’s on me to make of it what I can. And carve out my own experience in the midst of it all, regardless of what others are doing.
So, this is where the not-caring theme comes in again. I’ve heard it said by Zen masters and other guru-types, that getting all excited about how “good” something is, is just as problematic as getting all depressed about how “bad” something else is. It’s true. Either way, there’s an emotional flood that clouds your judgment and makes you think things are different from how they truly are. Getting all enthused over a new chapter in life, makes about as much sense as getting all depressed about an old chapter in life going away.
Either way, it’s just something you made up in your head about how things really are, and none of it might be true. We judge and we judge and we decide how things are, when none of it is actually true, in the objective sense. In fact, even in the objective sense, things can never be “true”, because observing them changes them and their outcomes. That’s been shown time and again with tons of research cases — looking at something and expecting a certain outcome has a real chance of making that actually happen.
It’s not new-agey flou-flou tra-la-la crap. It’s actually physics.
So, that being said, I have to gear up for my trip mentally and emotionally as well as logistically. Getting to the airport with all the items I need, is just part of the process. I really need to gear up in my head — let things go, let yesterday be yesterday, let today be today, and just take things as they come, without making it worse for me with all the mental static.
If my boss and their boss are both insane and stupid and childish, then that’s on them. I have a job to do, and I’m going to just do it. All the other infants/hobbits/muggles tossing around, jockeying for position can go on their merry way. I can’t be bothered with their emotional upheaval and their bad behavior. I’ve got sh*t to do.
And that sh*t includes having my own life and my own interests. Developing some interests and activities outside of work and doing things at work the way I want to do them, because that’s what I feel like doing. I’m not going to let others drag me down, and I’m going to really get what I can out of my experiences.
They’re my experiences, this is my life. And no, others aren’t welcome to crap all over them, just because they’re having issues.
Back to my original theme from yesterday — I have stopped caring. I’ve let it go. I can’t afford to care what others think or say or do or emote. That’s on them.
I like to think that since I’ve experienced so many TBIs over the course of my life, and in spite of that I’ve managed to put together a life that many people would find enviable, and I’ve come so far in my brain injury recovery, I’m on the good foot permanently. I look at my laundry list of symptoms, and then I look at my life, and I think, “Damn, I’m doing great!”
It’s true to some extent, tut that’s not the case constantly. Especially lately. I have been having a ton of issues with distractability, as well as memory issues. Last weekend, I watched the second half of the last Harry Potter movie, and I enjoyed it. While I was watching it, I was tired, but I was engaged, and I was “actively” watching it, making comments, thinking about what was going to happen next, etc.
And then the next day, I could not remember what movie I had watched the night before. It was just a big blank space, and I could not find anything in my memory to tell me what I had been watching for 2-1/2 hours that night. I knew I had watched a movie, but I could not remember which one. It was just blank. Completely empty. Void.
Then I thought about what I was doing while I was watching the movie, and I remembered lying down on the couch to watch the movie from a more comfortable position, and it all came back to me, one piece at a time.
As long as I can find a way to remember at least part of something, the rest of it is often “tucked away” in the back of my mind somewhere. I just need that access point. And the access point is often not what I was doing prior to the activity I’m trying to remember, but something during the activity.
Normally, things like this don’t bother me, but this time did. I’ve been incredibly distractable, lately — walking into a room to do one thing, then getting distracted and doing something else, and then walking out of the room without doing what I went there to do. It happens to me constantly, and I fault the job I’ve had for the last three years, for making things worse.
My job has been a non-stop parade of distractions, driven by inexperienced individuals who have not been properly trained in time management and office etiquette. They think it’s perfectly okay to interrupt anyone for any reason, and they’d been doing it with me tens of times a day, each and every day that I’m at work. It’s bad. It’s really bad. And the fact that most of my coworkers are in their early to mid-20s and have probably grown up that way, doesn’t help.
The problem is not that I’m old (as old as many of their parents). The problem is that they have no ability to control their attention and their time and their energy, and they have no impulse control. It doesn’t bode well for their futures, but that’s not my problem. My own future is my concern.
In another week, I can start actively looking for a new job. I’m in a very good position — in a job where I am needed and valued, and I have no pressing requirement to leave, other than my own personal career plans. I can take my time and pick and choose from the offerings out there, because I have a ton of experience, and the economy is picking up, and my skillset will transfer across industries. So, that’s a good thing. And as soon as I am done with these deadlines and can move along, I shall.
I really need to pace myself. I have been running myself ragged (literally) for months, now, and it’s taking a heavy toll. I have known that it was catching up with me for some time, but I couldn’t stop, because there were time limitations I had to work within, and I wanted to get everything sorted out quickly.
So, I pushed myself. Hard. Too hard, perhaps. And the result has been:
sleeping problems — not able to get to sleep on time, or waking up too early
mood issues — blowing up over things and threatening my spouse
memory issues — not being able to remember things
cognitive issues — miscalculating and misjudging all sorts of things (that I should be able to calculate and judge, like the price of something I’m selling)
fatigue — being wiped out all the time and depending on adrenaline to keep me going
pain and sensitivities to light and sound and touch
Basically, I feel like I’m walking around in a fog, half the time, but I keep going. I hate feeling like this. It sucks. And I haven’t felt this foggy and out of for some time. The last time I felt this way, I hadn’t yet started seeing a neuropsychologist, and I was just muddling through everything and faking my way through.
Now I’m back to faking and muddling… not making much effort to remember exactly what’s going on around me, because it is so much effort… just turning to other people around me to clue me in about what comes next… not worrying so much about getting everything right, just getting it done. Actually, not worrying so much about that is not a bad thing — I should have stopped with the OCD stuff years ago, because so much of what I obsess over doesn’t really matter in the long term. But my filter for what I should and should not care about is pretty much shot.
I’m too tired and too out of it to pay much attention.
So, all my activity sneaked up on me and is pulling the rug out from under me on a regular basis. I like to think that once I get away from the current job situation and workplace configuration, I’ll be able to restore my ability to focus on what I’m doing. Seriously, the environment of constant interruption has taken a huge chunk out of my ability (and will) to focus. There’s just no point, anymore. There’s no point in even trying. It’s like trying to assemble a model airplane in the midst of a basket of puppies. You get the point. There is none.
So, I actually am starting to feel better, and in feeling better, I’m letting down my guard and looking at the bigger picture and seeing where things are not so great, and where they are really good. Because I’m not so focused on just surviving every day, I am able to honestly see how harmful the situation has been for me — and to get clear about what I want instead. Ultimately, I need a skillset that will not just lock me into one industry and one way of making a living, but is going to give me more opportunities with more (read, “higher”) ranges of salary. I’m headed down that road now, and I realize that I’ve been headed down that road for some time. I’m not just starting out from scratch with this; I’m farther along than I tend to think I am.
And now that I’m taking stock of where I’m at, I’m realizing just how tired I am. I’m exhausted. Wiped out. I’ve been pushing and pushing — and I’ll need to keep pushing for the next couple of weeks. Then I’m done. Out of there. On vacation. And then on to the next thing, the next job, the next opportunity. With hopefully more chances to focus single-mindedly on what is in front of me, rather than constantly fielding interruptions from others.
I just really need to stay smart about things. Not jump at the first chance that presents itself. Not fly into another situation because, well, it’s there and it will get me out of my current jam. I need to keep a level head about things, and sleep is a huge part of that equation. Sleep whenever I can, even when I’m at work. I can go out to my car and nap. I can also take a quick nap when I’m home from work. My spouse doesn’t understand about sleep hygiene and they say “It’s okay” for me to sleep for two hours when I get home… and then stay up till 1 a.m. They are wrong. That’s not OK at all. It’s a killer for me. But they don’t get that. At all.
So, I need to be smart for myself, and understand my spouse’s limitations when it comes to assessing what’s right and what’s wrong. Frankly, they seem to be sliding downwards and becoming increasingly cognitively impaired in certain ways. I can’t put my finger on it precisely, but they are definitely slipping with regard to their judgment, their memory, their processing… in subtle ways that are obvious to me after 23 years of living with them, but won’t get picked up by anyone else.
So, I have to be smart for both of us. It’s a little like being a single parent with a sick child. That’s how it’s been for years, on and off. Only now it’s almost constant.
Add “sole caregiver” to my resume.
All this means I just need to step back and be smarter about how I do things. I started out one of my big projects with a lot of assumptions and plans I thought would pan out, but they are turning out very differently. Rather than get stuck on the disappointments and frustrations, I need to treat this all as a learning experience. Treat it like school. Business school. In the real world. With real opportunities and real consequences, not just some case study or thesis.
This is life. This is for real. And I’ve got to keep my wits about me.
And get some sleep.
I had a nap yesterday, after getting a lot of things done. Today I’m going to do the same. I’m off to run some errands that will get me out of the house and get me around people — and interact. I have a lot of questions I need to ask someone, and there’s a lot of money (for me) that I’m going to have to pay in the process, so I need to keep a level head and be smart. Not go too fast, not go too slow, and keep at them till I get the exact answers I need and know I am making choices for the right reasons.
It’s all learning. It’s all growing. It’s all the stuff of life.
I’m going to do something today I have not done in a long time – I’m taking a sick day. I feel achey and weak and shaky, and my head hurts. This is one of those days when adrenaline alone won’t take me through the day. I just need to step away from the expected and do the unexpected — rest.
I have one phone call in an hour that I need to take, then I’m checking out and I’m doing what I need to do, to take care of myself. At some point, too, I am going back to bed. To just lie there. Read. Sleep. But rest. I may watch a movie later on, but for all intents and purposes, I am out of commission, work-wise, for the day.
It’s a difficult nearly impossible thing for me to do, to sideline myself for even a day. There is so much I want to do, so much I want to read and learn and experience and write about. There is so much that the world offers, just waiting for us to discover it. Granted, it’s not always wine and roses, but even the hard lessons are good lessons, and they all add up to good things.
Those hard lessons, like today, can include the brutal facts that there is only so much I can push myself without adequate rest. Try as I might, I have not been successful at getting more than 6-1/2 to 7 hours of sleep a night… for months, if not years. I recall getting a full 8 hours of sleep some time back, but that was weeks (if not months) ago, and to be honest, I’ve all but given up trying to set that right. I will have to do something about this, and today is a good day to do so.
Not only today… but each day. Getting proper rest, especially in times of transition and change (which for many of us, these days, is all the time), requires a bit of a re-think about lifestyle and schedule. I’m happy to say that for the past two days, I ate dinner before 7 p.m., which needs to be a priority. Eating after 8 p.m. — sometimes as late as 9:30 or 10:00 — and then going to sleep shortly after that, is no way to sustain health and well-being. Over the past year, with the job change and the longer commute, my eating and exercising have gone way off the rails, and I need to turn it around. I need to turn a lot of things around, which is hard work.
And hard work requires rest. Additional stress requires adequate recovery time, and I have not been providing myself with the latter. It’s all out of whack, and I feel so very different now, than I did 18 months ago. Little by little, I feel as though I’ve been drained by both my environment and the choices I’ve made in response to environment challenges. And I know I’ve got to turn things around, or I’m going to have some serious health consequences. No job is worth that, quite frankly. I’ve watched loved ones die early deaths because they pushed themselves too hard and didn’t take care of their health. I have no interest in following in their footsteps — although my behavior over the past years says something quite different 😉
Anyway, I find it really interesting how we can get into certain situations and fall into routines with the people around us, that really undermine our health and happiness. At work, everyone shares in this overwork ethos, pushing each other to do more, work harder, party more, work longer, and stay caught up in this whirlpool of activity. It’s like a collective addiction that everyone gets swept into, spinning us around and getting us to the point where we’re just happy to keep our heads above water. This is not a high-performance model, from where I’m sitting. When your criterion for success is not-failing, well, that’s no criterion for success. That’s just a formula for maintenance and survival.
What I want is something entirely different. And that difference is what I’m going to focus on today. Just taking myself out of that crazy spin-cycle is a start. And really focusing on the type of work experience I do want to have, is a next step. Ultimately, I believe that in addition to workplace culture and internal and external criteria for success, the quality of experience you have at work everyday, is a big determiner of how satisfied and fulfilled you are at work. I disagree with the business thinkers who proclaim that every worker is responsible for his or her own happiness in the workplace, and that each and every one of us is capable of making a purse out of a sow’s ear.
Look, sometimes a shitty workplace environment is just that — and no matter how ruggedly individualistic a person may be, there’s no avoiding the fact that some workplace configurations simply do not work (no matter what the furniture salespeople told you). My workplace configuration is sheer hell for anyone who needs to sustain concentration more than 10 minutes at a time. And it’s sheer hell for anyone who doesn’t need to know the details of their co-workers’ lives and work in blow-by-blow detail. It’s hell for anyone who places productivity at the top of their list.
What I hear happening in many corners of the business thinker world, is the focus on the empowerment of the individual — to manage themselves (and their boss) as well as their workload, workspace, and work/play time. That’s all very well and good, but too often it seems to devolve into an abdication by senior leadership from their positions of leadership — by stepping away from “micro-management” roles, they seem to step away from leadership, as well. What’s worse, a lot of them seem unwilling to accept responsibility for the decisions they make which so dreadfully affect those who report to them, as though failure by their minions to adapt to their capricious and theoretical approaches were a sign that we had done something wrong. It’s all backwards, like the out-sourcing fad of ten years ago. It’s based on a sheet of numbers and a concept that sounds great to MBA folks. But in practice, it simply does not work. And we’ve seen that, up close and personal, over the past decade.
Now yet more ridiculousness is being pandered about “empowerment and engagement” — probably originating in some MBA think-tank filled with academicians who are so specialized, they metaphorically see no connection between eating habits and constipation — being either nutrition experts or upper GI experts of colon experts or sphincter experts, and never the gaggle of experts shall meet (except at some annual conference when everybody sits in rooms listening to motivational speakers, until they go out and get drunk together each evening). Supposedly, each employee is responsible for their own survival, and they need to build a system of “supports” at work that benefit first their boss, then them, in the eternal quest for efficiency and productivity. Each individual is responsible for their own engagement level, and if you’re not fully on board with everything that’s decreed and devised by upper management, then it’s your own damn’ fault for not properly managing your energy and/or your time. And if you should find yourself overwhelmed by an unstemmed workflow, and completely exhausted by the deluge of interruptions and changes in direction by executive management who are in love with the latest MBA-related fad, then you’re not “fully embracing change” and resisting the “creative chaos” of the modern dynamic workplace and rapidly evolving job market.
It’s just so lame. I’m not seeing any self-criticism, any introspection, any brutal honesty about the ways that management overwhelms and undermines and generally sabotages the workforce with a basic unfamiliarity with what it takes to get the job done. Everybody is so busy being important, that coherence, integrity and basic workability go right out the window. But at least people are quoting the Harvard Business Review, and that’s what really matters, right?
But wait, I’m supposed to be resting right now. Not venting. Have to say, though, venting is taking some of the pressure off my head, and I’m starting to feel a little more human. I’m still exhausted, still weak, still shaky and in pain, but lo and behold, my headache is a little less brutal than it was 45 minutes ago.
So, I have one more thing I need to do for work, then after that I am done for the day, work-wise. I’ll probably go back to bed to read and rest and take it easy, which I haven’t let myself do in a number of months — and certainly not on a weekday. I can’t remember the last time It’s been over a year and a half (December, 2010, when I was deathly ill) since I last interrupted my weekly routine to just take care of myself and not push through feeling like sh*t. I usually just push through… Put my discomfort out of my mind and just muscle on through.