Holy moly, I actually slept in till about 9 a.m. today. That’s a record for my recent “jag” of 5-6 hours a night. I took a long nap yesterday afternoon, and I ended up staying up till midnight last night. But I knew when it was time to turn in, and I did — without too much drama, which is progress for me.
I think getting clear about my job situation has helped a lot. I’ve gotten to a place where I can see positive aspects in just about all my options. I know that long-term I don’t intend to stay where I am, and being more clear about why that is, and what I actually want to do with myself in my work life, has taken a lot of the pressure off. I finally have some peace – not least because I’m taking action.
And the action is starting to pay off. When I first started getting calls from recruiters, the week after I updated my resume online, I wasn’t really clear about what exactly I wanted to do — no, that’s not accurate. I wasn’t clear about whether or not what I wanted to do, was going to get any attention from people. The role I have is a relatively new one, having emerged just in the past few years, so this is new territory for recruiters, as well as employers. Recruiters are going to go with the “low-hanging fruit” of positions that have been around for many years — developer, programmer, designer. But what I do is a combination of those things, so the positions that involve that are still emerging… and few recruiters actually understand what that entails.
But now I’ve gotten some good leads, and it’s looking really positive for me. I know better than to jump at the first nibble. Of course, if the first nibble is an exact fit for what I’m looking for, then that makes a difference. But I’m not taking any old job because it’s up for grabs.
In a way, this process is as much about learning to hold off, as it is in moving forward. It’s the next step in my evolution post-active-recovery… actually spending the time on researching the companies I’m going to talk to… and coming to them with a more realistic, informed point of view, than in past years when all I really cared about was the ability to make money and have a job, period.
It’s an extended exercise in employment mindfulness, I guess. It’s an exercise in keeping my system chilled out and not getting all revved over every little thing. And taking time to just settle in and focus on what’s in front of me, rather than what’s off in the distance — either past or future.
Being stuck in the past-or-future whirlwind is a great way for me to wear myself out, but that’s exactly where I’ve been. I think part of the problem has been that I’ve been beating myself up for being so oblivious to the downsides of this move. How could I not have seen this coming? How could I have not suspected it would end up like this — badly?
I guess I gave everyone the benefit of the doubt, when I should have been smarter and put 2 and 2 together. But I honestly had no idea they would make this big a mess of it. It seemed highly unlikely… and yet here we are, hundreds of people very unhappy in that space, doing our best to make the best of it, but really struggling under the working conditions, which are not helpful at all.
I should have listened to Albert Einstein, who said: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”
But I didn’t. In my infinite belief in at least some redeeming qualities to every debacle, I decided to hold firm in my optimism, and this disillusionment is my reward. Yet it makes no sense for me to keep questioning my cognitive abilities for having given the Overlords the benefit of the doubt. I was just being human, being a team player, being and doing what I thought I needed to be and do, in order to weather the changes. Now I see that no matter how hard I try to accommodate the Overlords, there will never be any reciprocity from them. They are looking out only for themselves, and in this situation, I need to do the same — until I can find a work situation that is less rapacious, exploitive, and downright bull-headed.
One of the other things I’ve learned is that the true compensation of my prior situation was much more about my lifestyle, than it was about money. It was about having a shorter commute, so I could spend more time getting my work done. It was about spending less money on gas, so I could spend more on paying my bills. It was about having a work space that made it possible to have personal conversations with my colleagues on a moment’s notice, so we could work things out in an amicable fashion. Now all those things are gone, baby, gone, and in their place, I have fewer useful hours in my day, less rest, more commuting costs, less productive discussions with my co-workers, and a whole lot more fatigue and frustration… which elevates the stress hormones in my system, which in turn reduces my inherent ability to actually think through complex issues… and ultimately reduces my productivity and my job satisfaction.
Congratulations Overlords. You’ve done it again — totally screwed up a village that needed a few tweaks to make it better, not being bulldozed and paved over and adorned with a mini-mall.
Well, anyway, all my ranting aside, I’m actually getting more sleep these days. I guess getting really sick did the trick. It leveled me to the point where I literally can’t function unless I relax and rest. Geez, I can’t even walk across a room without it spinning wildly out of control, and that’s no good. So, the only thing to do is just settle in, chill out, and get as much sleep as I can, when I can.
‘Cause truth to tell, as much as I like the idea of having more hours awake during the day, if I’m only at 65% during those hours, there’s not much point, is there? I’d rather have 4 really good hours at 90% than 7 so-so hours at 65%, and that’s about how it all breaks down with me. With each additional hour I push myself to “perform” I drastically decrease my ability to function — like some reverse Golden Mean — like this (green areas being the amount of energy available to use):
I can try to buck the system, but the simple physics of it override my resolution every time. Fortunately, my head is starting to get acclimated to the idea and understand it on almost a cellular level — I’m getting to the place of transcending logic around this, and going with the most obvious and most efficient source of information about how I’m doing — the actual feeling in my body that doesn’t lie.
So, this is good. Part of me wishes I could say I’ve isolated a single factor that will make the difference between good choices and bad, in terms of rest. But the fact of the matter is, it’s more complicated than that, it’s more complex, and there are a lot more “moving pieces” that come into play. So, I have to just keep going, keep watching how I’m doing, keep paying attention (mindfully) to my life as it unfolds, and constantly learn about how to make the most of what I have, without getting bent out of shape about what I haven’t got.
It’s all a process, of course, which I hate hearing myself say. But it’s true. It’s very, very true.