Life | Work

I’ve Been Away … But Now I’m Back!

By on April 30, 2018
I'm Back

I’m Back after a small hiatus – and a few folks have asked me why I haven’t been musing as much as normal.

So, where have I been!?

The answer is nowhere at all, but life has been happening and it has been happening in spades.  I’ve had so much going on I just haven’t had the headspace to deal with it all so blogging has taken a bit of a back seat.

Today was the last day in a job that I have had for the past 8-9 years. For me, the last year has been a difficult one for a multitude of reasons but for the majority of the time I have spent there, it has been wonderful.  It’s one of those mixed feeling things because my colleagues are actually second to none and I am going to miss seeing them as often as I do now, although they will undoubtedly be getting invites to parties at mine.

So what next?

Well, I am now officially self-employed.  (You can check out my website here although it is not completely finished as yet) and I am also open to offers.   That said the next couple of months will be spent traveling around and generally being a kept woman.  This has never happened before and I’m not sure how I feel about it but I am grateful for the fact that I have a wonderful man in my life who will give me the back up I need while I try to consolidate my business.  I honestly could not have even considered resigning without the support of my husband.   He is my lover, my best friend, my cheerleader, my facilitator and an absolute rock.

So I am going to have to knuckle down to all of that business building stuff and keep plodding on with the studies for my BSc.  The next few weeks, however, are going to be spent trying to regroup psychologically after what has been, for me, a bit of a stressful time.

So, I’m back, and will soon be as opinionated and sarky as ever…..

 

 

 

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Life

I’ve Lost The Ability to Say “F*CK IT”!

By on January 27, 2018
gutless

Or, When did I get so gutless?

Now I know that last year, 2017, I was completely spoiled by the epic amount of world travelling I was fortunate enough to do.  I know am blessed in so many ways right down to the geographical location of my birth and my race (if not my gender!).  This alone opened many doors that would otherwise have been closed to me.  I have too many blessing to even list.  I am the first to admit that this particular blog post is pretty much a white, middle-aged, middle-class moan about “first world problems”. Frankly, most of the population of the planet has more pressing matters to attend to.

To my husband and friends who read this – no this is not about you!  Essentially it is about wondering why I’ve become totally gutless in my approach to life.

I suppose this is partly the menopause which – it is said – encourages one to sift through all your mental garbage bags.  As part of that process, I suddenly realised that most of my adult life, if not all of it, I have always done what needed to be done.  I have always taken on responsibility for meeting the needs of daily life for myself and others around me.  Oftentimes this means not being able to follow my own dreams but on the plus side, it means others can follow theirs by default.

I think that facilitating others is a laudable and generally very good thing.  If you are currently doing this, well done.  If you are currently being facilitated by someone else, well done.  Be sure to show your appreciation.  I am all for people following dreams, picking and choosing what they want to do.  I’d just like to have a fair crack of the whip myself.

I know that part of this is watching people walk away from various hideous aspects of their lives – be that a relationship or a dead end job –  and then looking and feeling so much better for it.  I can’t help thinking that I can only get out of this stagnant rut by leaping, creating a vacuum and letting that get filled.  Maybe I need a kick up the arse, some real motivation to change my daily existence.

Maybe my desire to just say, ‘fuck it’, hop in my van and only come back when others have sorted out the fall out would actually pan out OK.

 

 

 

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Life

2018 Stole My Mojo

By on January 20, 2018
mojo

2018 stole my Mojo and I really need it back!

I had all sorts of plans at the end of 2017.   I was going to hit the ground running.  Sadly, mother nature arrived with a virus so the tail end of 2017/early part of 2018 began with a case of the lethargies and the sniffles.  My mojo well and truly left the building but that said, I anticipated its return and made my 2018 plans.

I don’t really do resolutions because I rarely keep them and why set myself up to fail?  Instead, I highlight a few mores and lesses I want to focus on.  This year I decided that if I actually focused on the ‘mores’ I was more likely to stick to the plan, plus the ‘mores’ would probably bring about the ‘lesses’ by default.  I am hoping this makes sense.  It makes sense to me.

Anyway, I decided, I needed more things that would make me feel less stressed and happier:

  • More travel, at home and abroad.  This is a must.  That old bucket list is not going to tick itself off.
  •  I certainly want to maintain more personal connections this year and re-establish old ones in real life that I am connected with on Facebook.
  •  I am hoping more travelling will lead to more opportunities for photography which I really enjoy.
  • More focus on healthy living – better diet, more regular habits, time management, more exercise and better sleep.  I enjoy and benefit from these things but for some reason, they are always the first to go.
  • I also get mentally bored really fast so I want to get down and do some studying this year.

 

The saying is ‘less is more’, in this case, I am hoping that ‘more is going to be less’ and the less that I really do need is less stress!

  • More focus on a healthy lifestyle = less stress.
  • More travelling, photography, connections with folks I like and value = less stress

 

And my major LESS was work.  I work 24 hours a week in employment, but I regularly have to pull 12 hour days for freelancing and my aim at the end of 2017 was that this really does need to stop.  I can’t afford to give up the freelance work, especially if I want to travel, but I can organise myself better and start saying no.  This should lead to a lot less stress.

So, what has gone wrong?  I am stressed.  My mojo is still somewhere else, hopefully on a sun-drenched beach sipping a cocktail.

Essentially, the work thing has not panned out as I had hoped.  I have been pulling 12 hour days at least twice a week since the off.  I am now also studying for a degree in Psychology which is requiring a certain amount of time and I really want to do this, it has been on hold since 2012!   Rightly or wrongly, I mostly feel like my life has continued to be a series of incessant demands with no time to take a breath.

2018 is only 20 days old and I am still minus one mojo and mostly just as exhausted as I was before.  I am coming down with stuff like sore throats, mouth ulcers and a few days ago I had the first IBS flare up I have had in months.  I am grumpy.    My (almost) overwhelming desire at the moment is to pack my stuff, get in my van and drive off, camping up for a week and spending time in nature and sleeping.

It has to change and has to stop.  I have no idea how.

 

 

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Life | Work

Is Saying No An Option?

By on September 8, 2017

Should we as a society continue to see convalescence as a ‘luxury we can’t afford’?  I can understand the concerns of employers especially small businesses but it seems to me to be the large national and multinational companies who are insisting on disciplining people for being unwell for more than a few days in a year even if they are certificated by a Doctor.   However, I can’t help but feel that in terms of both the human and the operational costs, these are false economies in the long run.

It seems much more common that when people become unwell there is a lot  more pressure to keep going, to not take time out to recover, because of the either real or perceived impact on other people or a corporate entity.     The impression is that people are no longer afforded the ‘luxury’ of convalescence either because their employer does not offer sick pay, they feel guilty about the effects of their absence on their colleagues or simply that their employer has a policy that you can only have a (usually ridiculously) small amount of days off ill.  I’m not sure how I could have achieved a 6 day annual sickness target when I was off sick for 5 weeks with Labyrinthitis a while back.  I couldn’t walk straight let alone work in retail!  Luckily my employer was sympathetic and supportive of a gradual return to work.

Retail is a real killer when it comes to viruses – constant contact with people and handling money which is covered in goodness knows what.  I have had people with noses literally dripping on the counter, people coughing in my face, sneezing all over the show and saying, ‘I should have stayed home today and not come shopping’.  Yes!  So why didn’t you then!?  Thanks so much for passing this on.  I can honestly say I have caught more colds, viruses and infections working in a shop than I ever did  working in hospitals!

Most of my colleagues, myself included, often turn up to or have returned to work too soon with some awful  virus  or stomach bug that is then passed on to their colleagues.  The net result is we all go off sick like dominoes – there is massive disruption and not enough people to cover those who are unwell.  No one ever gets to  recuperate from their illness, they are constantly called on days off to provide cover, their rest time is either curtailed or constantly interrupted with demands from work so they never get to fully relax, at this stage most people will get run down and tired, they get ill and the cycle starts all over again.

Ultimately if you struggle in to work with some hideous disease  or you work non-stop to the point of exhaustion you are not doing anyone any favours; certainly not your colleagues or your customers/clients and ultimately not your employer because as each domino in the stack falls the greater the disruption will be.

As an employee you are constantly under the threat of potential dismissal so it is not surprising that people return to work too soon if there is a disciplinary process after only a few days of ill health.

It is a self perpetuating cycle of misery and eventually something will give:  People will move jobs, leave the company, take early retirement or whatever or they will simply become too sick to work at all.   Then there is all the hassle of having to find new staff who are also soon in the sickness cycle and you are back to square one.

The only real solution is to not get sick and the only potential way to avoid that is to make sure you don’t get run down and exhausted.  This involves saying no and this is really difficult because it is so often perceived as and feels like a completely selfish act, especially if you know that by saying no it is going to impact on other people who are either unable or unwilling to say no themselves.    However, ultimately your input in the workplace will be better and more consistent if you are feeling on top of your game and not constantly slightly under the weather.  If you look around you, there is nearly always one or two people who consistently say no to or limit the amount of extra hours  they work and who are rarely off sick as a result.  That should be a good indication of the way forward and something employers should maybe take note of.

I wonder with the aforementioned threat of dismissal which is ever present for many in the workforce, the use of zero hour contracts as a method of ensuring people’s constant availability at the end of a telephone, and so on, whether saying no is a real option for millions of people and whether as a society our overall health and function is going to suffer as a result.

 

 

 

 

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