Well, THIS is unexpected… or not?

Skyscraper
Welcome to the Big Time! The Great Overlords in the Sky have some plans…

So, apparently, my new employer got bought by another company.

How ’bout that.

There has been talk in certain circles about the company merging with another one, for some time, now, but The People In Charge all told us that it was just rumors and speculation, and they believe the best route to take is to stay steady and keep to the course they laid out.

Of course, they were not the ones who were actually working on the deal. And while it is probably 100% true that they agreed with the original course and were NOT in favor of a change, they were actually not the ones calling the shots. So, they don’t have to look like liars, because they weren’t. Ironically, the people working on the deal showed up and made the announcement like it impacts them emotionally. How could it? The only thing that changes for them is how much money they have — and they already have more money than God, so I’m sure it doesn’t have nearly the impact that it does for those who are at the bottom of the food chain. How could it?

Oh well, who can say? The Great Demon in all of this is dread speculation. Gotta hold that at bay. All I know is… nothing specific, yet. There was a company-wide conference call yesterday that told us a few important points, and there will be a team meeting today.

This rarely works
This rarely works

I’ve actually always known that things would change at this job; my current boss told me from the start that they didn’t know who I would be reporting to in six months. So, no surprises there. I actually belong to a different group than the rest of the folks in my team — it’s all pretty confusing if you try to make sense of it.

So, I don’t bother trying to make sense of it. Not until I have more information… which will be unfolding over time.

I actually find this news quite energizing. I’ve been at the company long enough to see that they are very entrenched in old ways of doing things, they have old loyalties and rivalries that get in the way of getting work done, and a change would do a lot of people good. It’s an excellent company with good products – and in some ways, they have been victims of their own success and have gotten in the habit of resting on their laurels. So, they really do need a shakeup. The days of constancy and steady-as-she-goes have never actually existed in the tech world, and those who believe things should just stay as they are, really don’t belong here.

So, who knows what will happen? My little group may get disbanded. I may get reassigned to another team. Who can say? I’m betting that in the next months, there will probably be plenty of opportunity for folks to reinvent themselves and see what else they can do. I’m keeping my eyes and ears open to see what’s available — and I’m also checking out the acquiring company’s website to see what positions they have had open and what their staffing priorities are.

I’ve been doing this an awful long time, and it’s not the first restructuring I’ve been through. I’ve been through no less than 10 different re-orgs at multinational companies, over the years, so I’ve learned a thing or two.

Main thing is to keep chilled out, continue to exercise regularly, eat right, and get plenty of rest. That way I can keep alert for opportunities when they arise.

And this could turn out even better for me than the awesome situation I’m in now.

Onward.

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Well, I got THAT done… finally

I thought it would never end – what I filled out was 50-times longer – took me houirs

So, I got this new job offer, right?

And I was told I’d get a link to an offer letter that I would sign.

Well, it didn’t happen exactly that way.

Instead of an offer letter, I got five different emails from two different sources, each having between 1 and 4 links for me to follow to forms I needed to fill out.

Some of the forms were quick and easy. I did them on my tablet at lunch yesterday.

Some of the forms were exhaustive. Oh my God, was there a lot of information I had to plug in. On top of it all, my laptop was freezing up, because I had do sort through a whole bunch of past emails and documents to find the details on the exact days when I started and ended jobs, as well as the exact amount I was making. At my last full-time job, the number was not an even amount, and the bonus I was eligible for (max) was also not round number.

Holy crap. Panic. I don’t know why I thought I could escape filling out all that paperwork. Maybe I just forgot what an exhaustive thing it is. Or I figured that since I’m contracting, I would never have to do it again, because they don’t need so-so-much info on you, when you’re marginal.

But I was clearly smokin’ bananas, and last night, starting around 8:15, I commenced on what I thought was a simple task. It ended up being almost a 3-hour project, and I only got done at 11:00 p.m.  I triple checked all my information — and I saved a copy of it, dammit. What a pain in the ass.

On the bright side, I now know where to find all the information, and thank God I did actually save it. In the past, I just flitted from job to job and didn’t give it much thought. I could dredge up that info without too much trouble. But my brain isn’t as facile / speedy / nonchalant about details / effortless as it used be, and this was a slog.

Or maybe it’s always been a slog, and I just conveniently forgot. Like people tend to forget horrible, traumatic experiences. Like childbirth. I’ve never done it myself, but I have women friends who swore, immediately after their first one, that they’d never do it again… only to have another child two years later – and do it without hesitation.

Not that I’m comparing filling out employment forms with bringing new life into the world, but you know what I mean.

Anyway, that’s done. I emailed the recruiter about that offer letter, which I suspected I’d missed. I did, after all, completely miss the first email with the massive 10-page form that collected all my vitals, including details on my last three jobs, which I just wanted to put behind me. Clearly, you can’t just discard the past. It follows you everywhere.

Especially when you want to get a new job.

So there it is.

And now I’m holding steady, waiting for the offer letter and confirmation that we’re good to go, so I can get on with the rest of my life. I know how I’m going to play it — I’m going to ask for 4 weeks to get everything squared away, and then set about putting together a “playbook” for transition, to show people how to do the things that I’ve been doing.

It’s not rocket science. The main ingredient is willingness. If people are disengaged and in self-protection mode and unwilling to even try to learn new things and do what’s right… or they’re just plain lazy… then all the preparation in the world won’t help them get it done. But for anyone who is willing to learn and has the right attitude, this can be done.

In any case, staffing is not my responsibility. Making sure there is redundancy is not my responsibility. That’s handled at a completely different level.

My job is to show up and perform. And since I can’t really do that to the extent possible in my present job, I’ll just take my business somewhere else.

Oh, and make a copy of everything I filled out, so if I ever need to do it again, I’ll have the information.

Onward.

Seven hours and a splitting headache

So, I got seven hours of sleep last night — two hours more than I’ve been getting, for the past several days. I would expect to feel better, but I woke up with a splitting headache. It’s probably a change in barometric pressure, which tends to bother me. The weather is turning stormy over the next few days, so headaches are part of this season for me.

Not to worry, though. It doesn’t stop me from doing things. It’s just an annoyance. I’ve had headaches for so long, I often don’t even notice them, unless they’re affecting my vision or making me sick to my stomach. But even those, I can work through. I can’t worry about it. I just have to keep going, regardless, and get where I’m going.

I’m starting to loosen up a bit — knowing that I can now move on to another job, and that I’ve got some good skills to trade on, as well as connections with a number of good recruiters, I feel a lot more relaxed. Also, some of my business ideas are coming to fruition, and that’s very exciting. I feel like I’ve been stagnant for so long… just biding my time, hassling through all that crazy work overload with my current employer, never quite able to stem the tide of Things That Need To Be Done… never getting a break, even when we do reach the finish line… That constant level of stress and busy-ness for its own sake… it’s really taken a toll, and I’m now really seeing that clearly.

But it’s all going to change. That’s for sure. I’m getting my ducks in a row, putting my house in order. I moved a bunch of books off my bookshelf last night before going to bed, to make room for other things that are tucked away. I’m mapping out the path I want to head down, and I’m figuring out the steps I am going to take to get there. It’s very clear to me, what I need to do. And as I actually do it, even more becomes clear. It’s really good, this whole process. And it’s bringing me back to life.

Stagnation is the worst. When I get stuck in a rut with work and activities and the same routine, day in and day out, it makes me crazy. To some extent, I need to stick to a basic framework for my life — the essentials I can put on autopilot, like getting up and washing my face in cold water, brushing my teeth, and then making my breakfast of a cup of coffee and a fried egg. I also exercise a bit — stretching or lifting — and I think about my day. Having a loose framework for my daily routine is good. I just can’t have it get too rigid, or I start to lose interest.

It’s a fine line between automating my life so that I don’t have to think about every little detail, and getting stuck in a rut. Routine is so important for folks with TBI, but it doesn’t come without its “occupational hazards”. If we’re not staying engaged and interested in our lives, it can really hold us back. So, we need to find something within the framework of that routine that really invigorates us.The whole point of having a routine, is so you can devote more energy to the complex things, not just the simple everyday stuff. So, you need to fill in the gaps with things that bring you satisfaction and happiness.

My life, of course, is often invigorated by some unexpected and complex event or another. Things never stay the same with me for long. There is usually something not going according to plan… some unexpected turn of events… or something falling through the cracks. Or there is a pleasant surprise or a change of direction that I didn’t anticipate (not always bad). When I have my routine in place and it’s balanced and healthy, I can roll with those changes. When my routine is just a rut that isn’t bringing me anything interesting, and I’m bored out of my skull, just slogging away at the grind, it makes it harder — and it often feels impossible. Even worse, is when I’m feeling like I’m not in control of my own life, and I’m being victimized by the changes around me — like the job changes of the past several years.

The thing that makes routine less invigorating is getting enough rest. When I am not rested, and I am just pushing through without any mindful engagement in my life, everything feels like a chore, and it’s a total drain.  When I’m not rested, even the best things in life don’t interest me, and I take everything for granted. When I am rested, though, I can really get actively involved with my life, and I feel like I’m really making progress.

That’s kind of where I am today. I’m feeling pretty strong, despite my sleep deficit. It’s Friday, and I have a bunch of exciting things ahead of me for the next few days. I’m organizing myself and re-setting my direction, and it feels absolutely awesome. It’s like I’m free again. I’m still in that terrible job, and I still have a ton of boring-ass crap I have to do, and nothing is certain, but things are loosening up. I can feel them. Positive change is coming, and I’m ready for what comes. My head is hurting less, now, but either way I feel like this is going to be a pretty great day.

So, yeah – onward.

I may need to find another job…

This is really bumming me out. It just sucks. In another few weeks, I may be looking for another job, uprooting myself from the place I’ve been at for the past eight months, and transitioning into another company, position, and whole new group of people to figure out.

It doesn’t make me happy. And I hate being in this situation, but I have to do what I have to do.

Basically, the place where I’m working now wants me to go to full-time permanent, and my boss say’s they’re under pressure to convert people from contractors to perm. Either that, or get rid of the contractors (which would include me). Now, I have to take that with a grain of salt, because my boss has been known to “shade” the truth to push forward their own agenda(s), so who knows exactly what they’re being told. Bottom line is, they’re pushing to get me to convert to permanent, and it’s really uncomfortable for me. It’s terrible on a number of different levels.

First off, they’re trying to low-ball me. They converted other folks in my group to perm, and those folks are actually very weak and easy to push around, so they agreed to take less money than they could reasonably demand. Part of the problem with these folks is that they’re not the most dedicated workers, they spend a fair amount of time hanging out and doing things other than working, and they are also easily bullied — perhaps in part because they know they’re slacking and they don’t want to rock the boat.

I, on the other hand, am a workaholic, and it is rare that I’m ever not working. I was working on my stuff till 10:00 last night — in part because I love what I do, in part because I need to pace myself over the course of my day and break up my work into smaller, more manageable pieces.

But my boss doesn’t see it that way. All they see are dollar signs, so when my two slacker co-workers took less money, they set a precedent that I’m stuck with — and the bitch of it is, one of the slackers is higher up than me, organizationally, so my boss has to offer me less, which is just awful.

Second of all, no matter how well prepared and how skilled I am, the fact remains that change freaks me out. Completely. I can’t even begin to say, just how stressful it is for me. When I was younger, and before I had sustained all these head injuries (I’ve had at least three over the course of my working life, on top of the 4+ I had when I was a kid, and my ability to handle change has decreased with each one), I could shift between different tasks and different jobs and not worry about it. But now I’m having a really hard time with even the idea of change. It’s making me very, very nervous, very, very uncomfortable… it’s keeping me up at night, and waking me up early… it’s agitating me and putting me into a cycle of fatigue-driven poor decision-making patterns that are worrying me. I want to believe I can handle this, and part of me believes that I can. But the rest of me is extremely uncomfortable with uprooting myself from my routine and hauling myself off to another gig with another bunch of people, another whole opportunity to make an ass of myself, and yet more chances to alienate and irritate people who don’t really know me without meaning to.

Third, my resume has some spotty stuff on it that makes me suspect, so it undermines my confidence and ‘smooth’ presentation at interviews. Over the past 2-3 years, since I was ejected from my Good Job with that Big Company, I’ve had a bunch of different jobs, some of which went south because I couldn’t keep it together. The stress of the jobs, my poor decision-making (which was largely a result of my stress-induced analgesia/soothing-seeking cycle, where I would semi-intentionally put myself  into a highly stressed state, day after day and week after week and month after month, just to feel normal and functional), and the cumulative effects of stress on my system took their toll, and I crashed and burned and didn’t handle my exits very well. I can still smell the bridges burning, in fact, and it’s tough to think about how badly I screwed up those  jobs, not only in terms of leaving, but in terms of having taken them in the first place. They weren’t good fits for me from the start, but did I listen to myself? Oh, no! I was much too hungry for the stress and strain of bad decisions. So, now I have to explain myself to folks, if I go back out into the world. And God forbid, if they contact those people…

Fourth, if I go, then my insurance is probably going to have to change. That means I have to wrap up all my testing pronto and I have to make sure my insurance company is properly billed and all that, before I go.  It puts tremendous pressure on me to finish up something that I don’t want to rush. And it also screws up my partner’s health situation, because they have ongoing health insurance needs that are covered by insurance I have through my present agency, which is telling me there are no jobs out there — which I know for certain is not the case, because the job boards are full to bursting with work I can do. This whole insurance thing is a real problem. It’s not something that the federal government may be able to fix — a whole lot of money would go a long way towards solving it for me, but who knows if/how/when that’s going to happen?

And last but not least, I just don’t want to go looking for another job! After eight months, I’m just now getting settled into my current job, and now they have to go and churn things up by trying to convert me — for less money than I deserve, or can reasonably expect to earn, even in today’s market. I want to settle in and take care of myself, do my TBI rehabilitation, let down my guard for just one minute, and focus on restoring the parts of me that are broken. I need a serious break. And I mean a serious break. I’ve been going and pushing and striving for so long, I’ve forgotten there is anything else in the world, and I was just starting to realize there’s more to life than constantly pushing, constantly going, constantly trying to make up for lost time, lost chances, lost hopes. I want to just have my daily routine, get up and go to work, come home and contemplate my life, be with my beloved, have a nice dinner, spend my weekends hiking in the woods and reading good books and getting together with friends. I don’t want to be — yet again — plunged into the chaos of adjusting to a new place, new people, new routines, new rules. It’s so confusing and stressful for me, and then it sets me off in a downward spiral of problems, problems, and more problems. It’s just so hard, and I don’t want to have to do it!

But if I have to, I will. It won’t be the first time I’ve had to really drive myself to do the right thing, when the right thing was the last thing I wanted to do.