One more reason to not get too tired

With positivity you have the powerI’m tired. I need to catch up on my sleep. I need to recharge my batteries. Not get so tired. Get back to where I want to be.

When I get tired, I start doing things like stressing myself out, so I feel more alert.
I’m not alert. I’m just stressed. Big difference.

And one of the things I do to stress myself, is slack off on my job, procrastinate, and think about leaving for greener pastures.

Oddly, the better I do at things, the more uncomfortable I am. Because stress makes me feel alert. And if I’m not stressed, then I don’t feel alert.

I may be alert, but I don’t feel that way.

I have a long history of jumping ship from good jobs, for no apparent reason. I just got so danged uncomfortable — but that discomfort actually comes from fluency, efficiency, being plugged in and capable. Somehow, being stressed and behind the 8-ball makes me feel more alive, more alert, more able… even though it’s undermining me and making me feel insecure and vulnerable.

It’s a fascinating conundrum. And the best thing to do, really, is keep an eye out for it when it starts to happen and not let it derail me.

I also need to plug myself into some positive stresses, some real challenges — not the ones my imagination comes up with.

Yeah… and so it starts again

drift-boat-in-rapids
How my life feels, right about now

I’m going to restrain myself and NOT refer to the people managing the company where I work as “Lying sacks of sh*t”. Let’s just say, things have apparently changed, since they last told us that the rounds of layoffs were over, a few months back.

They’re not over. Not even close. And they will continue to happen, because the deal that’s supposed to be so sweet, is becoming a bit sour.

I just heard that there are supposed to be more layoffs in another 4 weeks or so. Wonderful. That will give me time to spruce up my resume.

Please, please, please, may I get a decent package and be released into the wild. I know I’m supposed to be careful what I ask for, but the way I figure it, I am eminently replaceable. The company that’s buying mine already has people working with the technology I work with, and they look to be 20 years younger, which means they are cheaper — and easier to let go, at some point. Now’s the time when they can let me go and not get dinged for it.

So, it’s back to the drawing board. Maybe.

Who knows? All I know is, my patience has run thin, and I really don’t feel like doing anything for anyone, anymore. The whole thing about trading my time and talents for a paycheck just seems like a bad joke. I’ve given enough. I’ve contributed enough blood to the cause.

It’s a strange feeling. I feel as though I’m in a motorboat, crossing a swift river. And my motor has died. I’m trying to get it started again, pulling and pulling on the starter cord, but I can’t seem to get my motor to start. And the river just keeps flowing.

I really feel like jumping overboard and swimming for shore… and getting off the river. I feel as though that’s what the whole corporate scene is like — going on a boat ride down a river. You can’t control the river, you can try to maneuver around rocks and through rapids, and you can alter your speed, but as long as you’re in the river, you’re never getting to the other side. Even the people running the show aren’t getting to the other side. They’re swept along, the same as the rest of us.

So, I think I need a different river. Or a smaller one. Once again, I remember why I always prefer to do contract work. People who run things at “stable” companies often seem to have different priorities than keeping the business running smoothly – especially when they’re huge. I’ve been working at top-10 multinational corporations for most of the past 30 years, and it’s always the same.

On it goes. I work with a bunch of people who have been through this a bunch of times. I’m not sure how they do it. Living with a sword of Damocles always hanging over your head… not fun.

So, it’s time to take action. Decide where I want to go, and what I want to do, and just do it. I actually have a project I was working on about a year ago, that sputtered out. But I really think it needs to be revived again. I have a handful of projects — all organized around a central theme — that I think could be good and useful for other people.  And I could also do some public speaking about it, as well. It could be an additional way for me to make some money, and it might even expand into something bigger. Now than I think about it, I actually have a number of things I can bring together… and actually build a business out of it. Heck, I have the start of an eBook that actually has a lot of really great content in it. I can use that as a starting point, and work from there. I know there are some places in the area that can use this — and I might be able to branch out, as well.

It’s funny — I had actually started to build out this business, in the few months before I got approached by my current employer, and it looked like I was going to be able to knock it out of the park. But when I got this new job, I put everything on hold, because I wanted to focus on this job. Now things are changing again, and it’s actually the perfect time to revive that business idea. Not only does it give me a good way to “channel” my anxious energy, but it also gives me something to work towards.

The more I think about it, the better this sounds. It really, really does. And I had forgotten how much work I had put into this, in the months before I started this new job. It’s pretty amazing, really — and once again, my “blinkered” perception rears its head. I get so hyperfocused on what’s in front of me, that I lose sight of the larger picture — and things that occurred in times that I’ve forgotten about. It’s a good thing I store everything on my hard drive — and on an external one, as well — and online in my web storage space. Otherwise, I’d just forget all about things.

Yeah. That’s it. I need something that’s actually mine, that I can call my own. And this is it. Other people have kids… or pets… or some cause they rally around, that brings meaning and purpose to their lives. I have no kids, I have no pets (not since the last cat died, 4 years ago), and my causes are personal and private — not the kinds of things I bring out into my outward life.

I just need to get creative and pick the direction I want to go — then go there.

I’ve already picked it. Now it’s time to go.

Onward.

Or… I could have fun with it

roller-coasterWhat a roller coaster. One day, we’re up. The next we’re down.

Sigh.

I started out yesterday feeling pretty great. Then came the speed bump.

My employer announced its quarterly numbers about a week ago, and they just missed their projected numbers by a smidge. But they still missed.

So, yesterday we found out that our bonuses will be affected by the shortfall, and there are a lot of unhappy campers walking around. The holidays are coming, and there’s going to be a little less Christmas cheer for some.

The crazy thing is, I’d bet good money that none of the people actually responsible for running the company will have their personal financial situation affected. A lot of them have a ton of money, already, so even if they do share in the bonus payout reduction, they won’t feel even a 10% drop — whereas the rest of us “on the ground” have a very different story to tell.

I think it would be much more fair for the people in charge of the big decisions to take the hit, rather than passing it along to us. It just feels like a sort of punishment. And that on top of the ongoing negotiations about the company being acquired… It’s all very exciting.

And my back and hips are killing me, because the chair they gave me is for sh*t… and I have been sitting too much. I used to have a self-constructed standup desk at my old office.  Four cases of seltzer water with a shelf on top. I think I’ll reconstruct that. I have the room in my new cubicle, and it’s the exact right height for me. We’ll see. I do have a shelf that’s the right height, as well, so maybe I don’t need to reconstruct it.  Bottom line is, I need to be standing, not sitting. Sitting is bringing the pain.

So, my bonus is messed up, I have no idea if I’ll have this job in another 6-8 months, and people around me are getting tweaked… emotionally needy… upset… And it’s just the beginning. The acquisition/merger won’t be done for some months, yet, so we’ve got a ways to go. There are a number of acquisitions and mergers going on in the tech world, right now. Some of them have epic proportions. All these people being moved around and nudged/pushed out of their comfort zones…. It’s like the whole world is in flux.

But at least I’m not in the dire straits that people in the Middle East and Africa are. All those people being displaced… Holy crap, it’s just crazy.

In the midst of it all, I can count my blessings, which is fortunate. And I am actually in a really good space. I have a line of work that I love so much, I do it in my spare time. I just love it, and it really is a natural progression of my skills, abilities, and interests. Compared to where I was, just a year ago, my situation is much more stable — and this, in spite of being on the verge of possible displacement.

The thing that’s more stable is my prospects of employment. I have a killer skillset, with the right kind of experience at the right kinds of companies (home-grown global corporate success stories that everybody in the region knows about and respects). And my skills are portable across a number of different industries, so that bodes well for my ongoing employment. I’m less concerned about working for only one company for the long term. That’s never actually been my ideal. I’m much more concerned about staying viable — especially as I’m getting older in a field where employers favor people who are 20 years younger than myself. And the happy fact is that my skills and abilities are still very much in-demand, and they meet a lot of needs very neatly.

No need to “shoehorn” myself into a position – I’m flexible enough to fit in a lot of places, which has really been my goal all along. While I do love the work I do for a living, and I do it on my own time as well, I still have a lot of other interests that I need to pursue without financial pressure. I have research to do and writing to do. I have blog posts to write. And I need to do that all without having to worry about where my next meal is coming from. That kind of stress is a killer.

So, I’m looking on the bright side and just having fun with things. I had a dark time on Sunday, when all the excitement of the past week caught up with me, and I started to sink into that dismal place where I didn’t feel like going on. At all. Of course, I had to, because I had things I needed to take care of, but I just didn’t feel like it. And that, after feeling so strong and clear for many days…. depressing.

But I took it easy, got some rest, and yesterday looked very different to me. Today looks different, as well. I’m getting back on track, having fun with things, and really digging into my work. I have no idea what they will be doing with me or anyone else on my team, in the future, so I’m just “doing my thing” and doing the work that’s meaningful to me — and also valuable in the market. I’m doing my research via online job boards, to see who’s paying the most — and for what types of work/skills/interests.

I know I’m supposed to follow my bliss, but it’s a lot easier to be blissful, if you have a roof over your head and a belly full of nutritious food and a healthy body… not to mention hope for the future.

I do have all of the above, and I plan to keep it that way. It hasn’t been easy, and if I didn’t work at it, I could easily be in very different straits. But I don’t feel like struggling and hassling with basic survival things, so I’m laser-focused on finding where I can improve… and doing just that. It’s all trial-and-error-and-success. And some days I have huge setbacks.

Today, I can see how all my setbacks can set me up for a better future.

Every piece of info I get about how I screwed up is valuable. It gives me more info about how to move forward in a different way. Story of my life. My mistakes are my own — and they can be the most valuable possessions I have. When I realize that, it frees me up to do more things.

And have fun with it all, as best I can.

Onward.

Engage!

I’m thinking about Star Trek this morning… how Captain Kirk was always saying “Engage!” in a commanding tone that propelled the crew onward.

I’ve spent the weekend recovering from last week — the last number of weeks, actually. I got some good rest, and I got some good perspective. Now I’m ready for the day.

I’ve got to watch my energy, however, and not get too wrapped up in too many things right off the bat. Talk about a drama factory — that’s what my life could become quite quickly. All the excitement… leading to fatigue and other problems.

And we don’t want that. I’m just now getting back to some semblance of normal.

The main thing for me, this morning, is to engage — to get involved in my day, in my life. I spent a little time over the weekend looking around at job boards, seeing what else is out there. I’m in a great job at a great company, but who knows how it will be after we move and re-org later this year? I’m not planning on leaving, but in case I have to (because I’m getting squeezed out by more senior — or less expensive — people, I am looking around at what else is out there for me.

As it turns out, there is plenty else out there for me. Many jobs just like mine are available, and I have years of experience doing this, so I should be fine.

The main thing is to keep doing what I’m doing — to keep up with the good experience, to keep up with the good performance. I need to re-involve myself in my daily life, on a level that I haven’t been able to do, because of that massive project I was on. I need to keep present and keep invovled. Because everything I do today will lead to what’s to come tomorrow.

And so with that thought, it’s off to work.

About Your Re-Employment after mTBI…

… I’ve got some good news and some bad news and some more good news.

The first good news is, it’s possible — indeed, even probable — that after a mild traumatic brain injury, you will be able to return to work at the same level as you were before. You may even be able to get to a higher level than ever before (as is the case with me), by developing compensatory strategies and techniques that offset the known issues that get in your way.

The bad news is, this takes time. I’ve heard recently that the average time for a traumatic brain injury survivor to get back to full employment is 3-5 years. For someone mid-career, this can be a huge hurdle, an interminable wait. It can also be a significant discourager and handicap, as you work at getting back to the level you’re comfortable at.

Recruiters and prospective employers may ask, “Why were you out of the action? Why did you take that detour? Why did you stop working or take other jobs that were obviously beneath you?”

In my case, I have the plausible, believable (and fortunately true) explanation (not excuse) that I was helping a family member recover from a serious illness, and I needed to scale back my hours to help them. I then assure people that the family member I was helping is 100% recovered and self-sufficient, and they no longer make demands on my time. I’m fortunate to have a solid background and firm footing for my past employment, to keep me perpetually up for consideration by numerous potential employers.

In your case, if you don’t have that kind of background to explain an interruption in work, you need to come up with a totally plausible reason for your change in work venue. By all means, DO NOT TELL PEOPLE IT WAS BECAUSE YOU SUSTAINED A TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY AND WERE UNABLE TO WORK. People just don’t understand TBI, especially mTBI, and you will pretty much disqualify yourself on the spot if you use that as your explanation.

A better choice of words? Something that emphasizes the growth prospects of your “choice to change jobs” — and you have to frame it that way, to show that you’re totally committed to growth and improvement in all your work activities… which prospective employers see as translating to your future work with them.

Here’s a scenario:

Individual A has been working steadily for a stable company for a number of years. They have worked their way up to a mid-level position with a fair amount of responsibility and influence.

They are involved in community activities and volunteering, as well as playing ice hockey in a league on a Saturday afternoon. During a game, they get checked hard and go down and smack their head on the ice. They see stars and are a bit wobbly on their feet when they get back up, but they continue to play. And they fall again and hit their head — harder, this time. They don’t feel well after the last hit, and they leave the game, go home, throw up, have trouble with lights and sound, and make a trip to the ER. They get a CAT scan, maybe an MRI, and everything comes back fine. The doctor tells them to take it easy and not exert themself — just rest and let the brain recover from the hits.

Individual A takes a few days off work, citing the flu/upper respiratory infection, and then goes back to work. But they have trouble concentrating, their moods are extremely volatile, and after several months of being unable to complete their work to their supervisor’s satisfaction, they are put on notice that they must either shape up or ship out.

They know better than to get fired, and they know that if they don’t do something, they’re going to get canned, which they cannot afford. So they start looking for work, and they decide to start contracting/temping for 3-6 month jobs in positions that are far less challenging than what they’ve been doing, so they can have a steady paycheck, but their behavior and mood and execution difficulties won’t be as obvious, as they would be in a permanent situation.

Several years ensue, with them working progressively longer jobs… from 6 weeks, to 3 months, to 6 months, to 9 months, to a year… then they decide it’s time to start looking for a new permanent job. The pay is not as good with contracts, and they need better insurance as well as paid time off, so they can actually take time to rest without getting their pay docked.

They go on interviews, and when the interviewers see their resume, they are surprised to see that they had a break in regular employment for the past three years. This doesn’t make any sense, and red flags go up.

“Why did you stop working at _____?” they ask, about the last place Individual A had a permanent job.

There are a number of different routes they could take. The could say that the company they were with didn’t have the kinds of opportunity that they were looking for long-term, and they needed to branch out and do some serious thinking about where they wanted to go with their career. The past few years have been a way for them to take more time to get clear on their own personal goals and objectives, and also survey the industry more from a distance, so they can make better strategic decisions in their own career path.

They could also say that they have been involved in volunteer work, and they hadn’t had as much time to devote to their community work, with so much day-job responsibility. The past three years were a time for them to give back to the community, while staying active in the workforce.

They could also say that they wanted to take more time to reconnect with their family in ways they couldn’t when they were working so much in the past.

These are just a few of the possible routes they could take — the important common thread with them, is that they are all positive and pro-active. They show that they are managing their own life, that they are the kind of person who takes command of their own destiny and takes responsibility for their life and their work. It’s not a vicitim mentality, a way to excuse and justify — it’s a mentality that focuses on the positive and pro-active, which is the kind of quality a company looks for in a potential new hire in a position of responsibility.

Again, TBI doesn’t factor into it at all. It is in the background, but it never needs to be mentioned. In fact, it’s better if it never is. And that’s for the benefit of the impacted individual, as well as the potential employer.

See, here’s the thing — successful recovery from mTBI is very much about personal responsibility. Taking responsibility for your behavior and your choices and your actions and their impact on others, and actively managing those aspects of your life. Developing this skill doesn’t just help you in your personal life — it’s also very beneficial in your professional life. Indeed, as you develop a better and better familiarity and command of your own inner landscape, that ability can translate to your outer world, as well, making you a better employee, a better manager, a more compassionate, patient, and emotionally intelligent co-worker.

Now, don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying that mTBI can be one of the best things to happen to your career. It can totally wreck you and throw you off course for years and years, even decades. Some people never fully regain their feet, like a person I used to work with who was probably one of the most remarkable under-achievers I’ve ever met. Their explanation was that they’d sustained a brain injury when they were a kid and had a bike accident, so that disqualified them from using their considerable creativity and ingenuity in a professional way. It was sad, really, to see this person with so much talent and ability, essentially bench themself permanently. Because they had decided they “couldn’t.”

What a waste.

A needless, useless, pointless waste. All because they let that former brain injury define them.

I still cringe when I think about it.

Anyway, that doesn’t have to happen to you. Like I said at the beginning of this post, full re-employment after TBI is possible, but it takes time. Still, it can be done. It just takes a whole lot of effort and a lot more time than we think it will.

For me, it’s taken about six years to get back to where I want to be. Six years ago, I was rising meteorically in my organization, leading multi-national teams on projects that served more than 10 million active customers, with direct access to chief decision makers and holding discussions with potential clients (and helping my company win their business to the tune of millions of dollars each year). Then I fell down some stairs, smashed the back of my head on 3 steps, and everything went to hell in short order. I went from being a hands-on supervisor in three continents, to sitting silently in my cubicle for hours at a time, just staring at my computer screen, snapping at anyone who came near me, unable to remember who it was I was talking to.

And thus began the downward slide, which sent me on a 5-year detour out of my main career path, put me in a bunch of situations that were far beneath my skill level, and now has me battling back from the brink of personal financial ruin — fortunately with a really great company with wonderful future prospects and amazing teams all-around.

But downward slides don’t have to last forever. They can even slow down and stop short and turn around. In my case, the slide is turning around — and make no mistake, it hasn’t been quick or easy. It’s required a tremendous amount of work, constant vigilance, resilience for all those times I strayed or got lost or forgot what path I was on. But that work and energy and focus have not been expenses for me. They have been investments. And the pay-off has been huge.

Someone once said to me that our greatest weaknesses can sometimes become our greatest strengths. And I have to say that with regard to mild traumatic brain injury, the skills I’ve developed in managing my own physical and cognitive issues have helped me become a better manager of my workload, my relationships, and my working life overall. I’m far more mindful now, than I’ve ever been before. I’m also more cautious and careful, and the attention to detail and keeping the big picture in mind I have been forced to cultivate for my persona life have done wonders for my professional path.

See, it’s not just about being employable again, that matters to me now. After all I’ve lost in the course of my life — relationships, jobs, homes, money, stability… just about everything that people told me I HAD to have to be happy — what I know now is that my resilience will see me through, and my ability to rebound, which I’ve had to develop, will be there for me, even when all seems lost, and I can’t see my way through. Being employable is just part of the whole picture. What I want much more, is to have a full and complete life, one where I have warm connections with family, friends, and co-workers alike, and where I can be connected with a larger world than what exists in the hidden recesses of my brain.

Last night, I had a terrible nightmare that my brain was horribly broken, and nothing was working. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t talk in a way that I could be understood, I couldn’t behave properly, and all the world around me shimmered and shifted and careened wildly out of control, as I struggled to pretend to keep up. All I could think about was the chatter in my brain, being unable to interpret anything that was going on. All I could do was withdraw, farther and farther back into my shell.

But then, in my dream, I stopped. I just stopped. I quit thinking hard about everything going on around me. I quit trying to analyze everything and see what it truly meant. I got out of my head and quit second-guessing what people were saying and doing.

I also stopped withdrawing. I started engaging people in conversation. I started reacting to what they were saying. I started being mindful of others, not just myself. I started doing things — moving physically, like walking and moving and talking with my hands — instead of just sitting passively by, trying to sort things out. I ventured out of my shell and started to DO.

And the nightmare stopped. It turned into a regular dream. It was still frustrating for me to be dreaming about paying close attention to others outside my head. It felt uncomfortable and slow and ungainly. But it worked. By the time my dream was over, I was fully engaged with the people in my dream, I was having conversations, I was doing things. And it wasn’t a nightmare anymore.

That is the ideal I seek — in my waking life, as well as my dreaming one: to be connected with others in ways that help me be part of the larger world. I’ve been locked away from the rest of the world for so long, being uncertain and unsure about so very much, and not knowing how to step out and find out what else is out there. It’s true in my working life, that I work better when I am connected with others. And I feel better, too. I AM better, when I do that. And the connection I practice at work carries over to the rest of my life, my social life, my family life, my community life.

It doesn’t just make me fully employable (and more). It makes me a better person, a better member of my community, a better spouse, a better relative, a happier, more fulfilled individual who can contribute more to the world around me than I ever dreamed possible.

Yes, after TBI, you can become fully employable again. And more. The good news is, you’re not just going to become fully employable. Your life is going to become fully liveable.

So live. And learn. And love. Never stop trying, and you’ll never stop receiving the blessings and gifts that come from this.

Just something to keep in mind in the New Year.

Sears is hiring

My clothes dryer started making scary noises the other day, and since malfunctioning clothes dryers are one of the leading causes of house fires, my partner called Sears to have someone come and look at it.

We’re on the special warranty program — if they can’t fix what they find, they’ll replace an appliance at no charge. Sweet.

Anyway, it took all day for the repairman to arrive. There were scheduling issues and he got reassigned to some other customers, before he got to us around 5 pm. All day, we waited… on such a beautiful day… bummer. But at least he got to us.

And guess what — Sears needs 400 more repair personnel to meet all the demand. They are hiring. They will take anyone — men or women. You just need to know how to fix things. And that’s a learned skill.

So, if you’re wondering where your next meal/mortgage payment is coming from, get up off your ass and get out and get some training. And take your skills out into the marketplace. All those made-in-China appliances are breaking, left and right. Somebody needs to fix them — and keep people’s houses from burning down.

Now, if we can get some of these retailers to get a clue about the crappy quality coming from overseas and get some manufacturing jobs back in the States, it will be a good thing. But in the meantime, there’s a future in fixing crap that breaks.

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.