I’m taking some more time tonight to step back and take stock of my situation with work. This is important. I get so caught up in my doing-doing-doing, that I tend to lose sight of the larger picture. I took the day yesterday to do this, and it was good. It gave me some much-needed perspective, and that was good.
I know it’s not in my job description to step away, now and then, to take stock, but I feel like I’ve got to, nearly a year into this job.
Actually, maybe it is in my job description to do this – not explicitly, but it’s implied that I’ll do what I need to do, to ensure I’m doing the best I possibly can. And if that means taking some time to step away, then so be it. I just can’t get stuck in taking breaks, that I don’t actually come back online.
Like yesterday – I stepped away for half an hour, mid-day, to rest and relax. It was pretty good. I need to remember to take some extra clothes to change into when I lie down, because I got up looking a bit rumpled, and that’s no good. This mid-day nap business is going to take some getting used to. But I know I need to do it, because my sleeping schedule is shifting, and I need to get enough rest to keep going all day long, without having to pump myself with caffeine from morning till night. I get too wired, and my stomach hurts me.
Anyway, after my nap, I was feeling pretty good. Relaxed. Then I had a meeting with my boss’es boss, and they (in their usual form) were ON. They seem to have this as their new persona at work — being Way On — bad-ass, tough, pushy, aggressive. It’s ironic, because at the start, they were anything but… but I think their boss has been putting pressure on them to become a bad-ass, for whatever reason. Maybe they think it delivers better results?
Nah. It just puts everyone on edge and makes us all more prone to mistakes and oversights… which is what’s been happening. I don’t think they see it, though. They think there’s something wrong with us, that we’re not performing properly. Hm. Certain gaps in knowledge, there…
Anyway, the point is not that management is a misguided pain in everyone’s ass, but that when I got up from my nap, I needed to get back in the game… not languish in that sense of feeling solid and centered and grounded. It’s one thing to be solid and centered and grounded. But when the expectation is that you’ll be ON, and that’s part of your job, well, I have to figure out a way to do that. Even though it seems counter-productive. Even though it seems more like people are trying to prove something and put on a good face, than actually get something done, you know?
Regardless of what I think of the nature of the situation, I still need to adapt to it and rise to the occasion, which means coming back online when the situation calls for it.
It’s the coming back online that’s problematic for me. I do tend to get “stuck” in the sense I had of being relaxed and mellow and calm and centered.
I get caught up in a loop, and it feels comfortable for me, and I don’t want to get out of it. I take time off, but then I have a hell of a time coming back online. And then I get all turned around and bent out of shape, because things aren’t going as smoothly as they might.
I would like to stay in that place where I’m chill, but in the environment I work in, that’s a huge problem. Because we’re not supposed to be that way or do things that way. We’re supposed to be always-on, always pushing, always moving forward, never looking back, finishing off jobs and moving on to the next thing. And never, ever let your guard down and let people see your vulnerabilities. That’s not allowed. Showing any sort of vulnerability in the workplace… it’s heresy.
Occupational hazard? Probably.
So, what’s the solution?
Well, first thing is to realize that this is the situation, and be prepared for it. Not be surprised when people expect me to be ON and refuse to interact with me as regular people who share common goals, common dreams, common interests, common space.
And not be surprised when people come gunning for me, looking for vulnerabilities they can exploit to make themselves feel better about themselves. Ironic, how I seem to have landed in the midst of a group that just loves to do that. My boss, my boss’es boss, and my boss’es boss’es boss are all that way – and in this situation, the trickle-down theory does work.
The thing is, I have the distinct impression that they are really very unhappy in this way of doing things. They can’t see their way out. They are all tired and overworked and exhausted, and they are falling back on old patterns that play to their most base aspects. They are pandering to their “lower selves” and that’s familiar and comfortable for them. They may not be happy with it, but they are comfortable with that familiarity. They may have never worked in environments where another option was open to them, where they were able to let their guard down. They may also be pushed against the wall in life in general, and they may have too much to lose by letting their guard down.
Anyway, they’re kind of stuck and caught. And misery loves company. The thing is, I have no intention of being miserable. And I have no intention of staying in this situation where I succumb to the unhappiness of people around me. People make their choices, and I make mine. I choose to make other choices. I choose to promote some change in the workplace, in the corporate world. I choose to create the kind of world I want to live in, and get some work done, and have a good time, too.
I choose to take up with people who are as aware as I am of the issues that the workplace is creating for people, the illness it is fostering, the unhealthy relationships it’s instigating, the stresses it’s building… all for the supposed purpose of “success”. There are a number of thinkers at work in the world who are working towards changing the corporate landscape to be more… human. And I need to align myself with those folks.
Stop. Just stop the participation in the bad habits, the bullying, the pressure tactics, the undermining, the playing along with that way of doing and being.
And go. Go into the midst of the storm, stake out my place and say, “You know what? I’m not going to do things that way. You can choose to behave that way and do those things, but I’m not gonna. You can try to screw me over, throw me under the bus… whatever. I really don’t care. I’ve got a job to do, and I’m going to do it. And I’m going to do it in a way that respects the dignity of everyone involved and doesn’t treat others like objects to do my bidding, or threats to my ultimate goals.”
I’m going to build up my strength, add to my endurance, take good care of my physical health. I’m going to work my ass off to get to a place where I can support my own body weight and move through the world with fluidity and ease.
And I’m going to rest. Because the body and the brain and the spirit all need that. I’m going to stop. So I can really go.