New work, decisions and breathing

Oh my, again a month has passed without me writing a word. I did make a conscious decision for these past few weeks to just focus all my energy on getting to grips with the new job I’ve started. Frankly, even if I didn’t make that decision I still probably wouldn’t have written anything as I had no spare brain cells left to deal with the the world outside the training and the assessment test, all the new people (so many people!), and navigating the new premises, and pretending like I’m a proper grown-up for hours and hours each day.

It’s all still tough, I’ve another week of training left and then I’m on my own, let loose on the innocent strangers. I have no doubt that it will be a few months yet until I’m more confident about what I’m doing and able to function properly. But I have also made another decision a long time ago, and I am planning on sticking to it – work has never been, nor do I intend it ever to be, the central focus of my life. It’s something I do because inexplicably people don’t want to give me things like food, electricity, clothes and books for free and therefore I concede that I need to work in order to survive. And I need to be productive, and around people even when it tires me, and needed. But it is not my proper life, though I have to spend a solid portion of my days doing it. My life is my partner, my family, my friends, books, owls, my writing, poems and photos, my little and big projects, delightful food experiences, my travels and my imaginary adventures in long-lost civilizations and on the distant planets. And so now I feel is the time to start separating the 8 hours a day I need to spend being the corporate-me, all confident, business-like and acting like I’m totally conversant in stuff I have heard about for the first time only a few weeks ago, from the rest of the time when I get to be the actual-me. It’ll be tough but it is doable and I will do it. Get back to the blog and all other writing undertakings, schedule some small portion of my days to work on a passion translation project I came up with, keep meeting up with important people in my life, just keep living, keep enjoying the small and big pleasures of life.

This sounds like I’m complaining about having to work already. Not at all, I need to be working, the 4 year hiatus from reality has provided me with ample proof of this fact. But you know, you’re always going to bitch a bit about your work, right? Well, I will, a bit, sometimes a bit more if I have a bad day.

Here’s another decision I’ve made though, from now on I shall not write about work. I may mention it in passing, or give an occasional insight into the amazing extent of human foolishness (anyone working in customer care has stories, stories that would make you weep for humankind…). But my writing is my breathing space, and so I intend to figure out a way to leave the work at work and not infect my air with it.

This is not a good or interesting post, I’m aware… But I kind of had to remind myself of these things after a tough week. Now, let the two whole days of freedom and books commence!

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Work Worries, also Morning People Are Aliens

I’m up, I’m up, I tell you! Not at all snoozing, see, moving my hand and at least one eye is open, you can go and totally safely leave me in bed without any risk of me falling asleep again!

I’m trying to get back into a sane sleeping rhythm. I got a job (yay!), I’m starting on the 5th of February and I’ve decided that I would use the time I have left into getting myself a bit more human, so that it doesn’t come as too much of a shock when all of a sudden it’s expected of me every day… It’s going… ok… Or at the very least I am getting up in the mornings and going to sleep at reasonable o’clock. But I’m not enjoying it. I’m not a morning person. I don’t trust morning people, you know, the ones that are all smiley and chatty two minutes after they joyfully jumped out of bed, and do a 5k run before breakfast. I think they’re aliens (sorry mum). I’m more of a bleary-eyed monster impotently raging in the shower I reluctantly drag myself into using solely my sense of touch because the vision has not rebooted yet. Also, don’t talk to me for at least an hour after I got up, I’m busy locating my brain and figuring out which limbs are responsible for which actions, the sounds you’re directing at me make no sense and I don’t like them.

As much as I’m delighted about having a job (and don’t get me wrong, I am, I’m so relieved and happy), I am also terrified. I had a thoroughly unwanted 4 year break, I’m not used to working anymore, the getting up early, the being places on time, the whole office environment, the co-workers, the customers. I know, I know, a couple of months and I’ll be fine again but meanwhile my brain is feeding me a diet of increased anxiety and catastrophe forecasts. What if I turn out to be so hopeless that I can’t even pass the test after training, and therefore will be asked to leave in a couple of weeks? What if everybody just hates me on sight? What if all my preparing for getting up on time doesn’t work, I sleep through my alarms every day and get fired for being tardy? What if I develop some sort of speech impediment that doesn’t allow me to speak to people politely and instead causes me to shout streams of abuse at the clients on the phone? And so on, and so forth… I’m pretty certain none of it will happen but I don’t seem to be able to stop thinking about it…

This makes me act a bit funny. One moment I’m walking about happily, looking for some office-y looking clothes, planning to get a haircut so I look vaguely presentable when I start, and the next wanting to punch strangers in the face just because a sudden surge of anxiety turns into inexplicable rage, and at least if I’m in prison for assault I won’t have to worry about any of this. I don’t, by the way, punch strangers in the face I mean. You don’t really know me, so I feel it’s best to clarify these things.

I guess I’m just going to try to enjoy my last few days of freedom, read some books, walk some walks, eat some doughnuts etc. And when the work starts I’ll do what I usually do – my best (also drink lots of coffee) – and hope it’s all gonna be fine.

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In my last job. Totally working…

15 minutes of worries

I worry and stress a lot. Nearly all the time, and always, always before going to sleep. I’ve read recently about a technique that is meant to help with that. It’s a very simple thing really, you just assign specific time for worrying, say 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. During this time let your anxiety run wild, list your worries, try to come up with solutions, stress to your weird little heart’s content. But once the time is up, you put the worries in the box and not touch them until the next worrying session. If the worry starts bothering you during the day or night, just remind yourself that it is locked in the box. Again it’s a simple concept, and perhaps just a little bit silly and smelling strongly of pop psychology, but I’ve decided to give it a go.

My first 15 minutes of worrying starts now.

  • I’ll never find work again, ever, nobody will ever even give me an interview. The only job I have any hope of obtaining is one that no one else wants – like cleaning vomit from the cubicles of a dingy pub’s toilets.
  • I’ve no money.
  • I will never have money and will end up homeless.
  • I’ll end up old and alone, forgotten by the world, in some institution and nobody will notice when I die, for like a week, until I start to smell and rats are chewing on my decomposing remains.
  • All my friends secretly hate me. I’m not sure why they continue to hang out with me, I never said I was rational.
  • I’m not rational.
  • I’m not a proper adult, I don’t understand adult things.
  • I’m too much of an adult and I’m becoming boring.
  • I am boring.
  • My English is not as good as I want it to be and my Polish is starting to disintegrate.
  • When we get a dog it will never love me, it’ll sense my inner wrongness and will judge me for it.
  • I have an inner wrongness about me.
  • My teddy bears don’t like me.
  • I own teddy bears and sometimes I’m not ashamed of it (see “I’m not a proper adult”).
  • Sometimes I’m ashamed of having teddy bears (see “I’m too much of an adult”).
  • I don’t read enough these days.
  • Some days I read too much.

15 minutes is up. Into the box you stupid things! Aaaaand breathe….

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Head above the water… Barely, but it’s possible to breathe…