Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Reset, rewind, pause, reboot

I feel like I need to do that with myself - delete all previous settings, especially delete browsing history and start afresh with a clean install of Human 1.1a (Never buy 1.0!).

I saw an opening via someone on a social networking site - get me down with the web 2.0 gurus!  Anyway late last week I put together a CV and winged it over to them via the marvelous internet - how did we exist 20 years ago?   I had a really nice "chat" with the Chief Exec today on the phone.  Problem is this is a bit of a speculative venture, an alliance of people, companies, institutions who kick around ideas until there is enough substance to turn that into a project normally for an initial proof of concept.  At that point they need someone to corral the various interested parties to get a reasonable project brief and that is then hawked around to get funding from one of the members to kick it off.  They need people to do that donkey work getting some consensus on the project look/feel/size/scope etc. and then produce the necessary documentation and start to promote it with the funding sources.  If you get your project funded you get a percentage of the amount funded to you as a bonus.  But the work is very part time really favouring someone who has other work on but some free time for this.  If you get the project funded you are reasonably likely to land a longer term role probably 50% of your time running it through, if you desire that.

A bit of a leap of faith then from where I am, regular good income etc. to an impoverished state for some months with no guarantee of further work afterwards.  Whilst the work looks really exciting and interesting, the part time nature and working from home (no more grey faced, head in book, earphones in train commutes) it doesn't sound like the right leap for me.

We actually officially launched the department I've joined yesterday - I know I've been here 9 months and it has only now got to that stage - changes in this venerable institution can be measured by techniques devised to look at tectonic plate shifts or coastal erosion!  No doubt now we've broken cover in the new set up they'll be another deluge of requests I'll have to juggle in a very small and already busy team.

I read many recovery blogs and listen to many speakers at meetings and talk 1:1 with many alcoholics/addicts.  One thing I find is that the vast majority of them are very positive about work, accepting of its necessary grind and happy to put their shoulder to that grindstone as part of their commitment to recovery.  Can I be honest here?  (It's my blog and I will be anyways)  I have to say I'm rarely like that, I do find work, the daily pattern of rise at 6am on the 7:20 train, into work at 8:30, leave at 5pm on the 5:25pm etc. not a pattern of daily churn I'm happy to engage in but one I feel I have to struggle through as a burden.  That is how I feel and because I feel like that I often feel really guilty about feeling like that - there are many without work at all, many with a job nowhere as good as mine in terms of what I have to do and the environment I am privileged to work in etc.  But somehow I still can't look at those positives and turn my emotions from the negative to a positive gratitude.   As the big book says I know the issue is me and my perception and reaction to the world - I can be as happy as I chose to be in this situation - the wallowing in self-pity and unhappiness is sadly too often my default option and one I use to justify other faults.   As I say this cycle then creates guilt that ... etc.

Here is my diagrammatic view on this daft cycle I get into....


  1. I find that the best way to not feel guilty is to start doing something you are passionate about. you feel burdened by the daily grind but then feel guilty coz it's better than nothing. but if you are doing something that you are passionate about it won't feel like a grind. no matter how nice the job you are doing is and no matter how nice the people are, if you are not passionate then it turns into a grind. if you don't feel like getting up in the morning and going to work then you are not passionate towards that work. that's just my opinion.

    or maybe you can just change the last box in that loop to be happy about what i have and have a little celebration to recharge yourself and then get back to the grindstone!

  2. Is there something you can add to your daily churn to uplift your spirits just a bit? Something small, maybe during your lunch hour, that you can look forward to each and every day? Read a book, write a song, something to help break up the mundane pace of work...just a thought.

  3. Without having known you long at all, I'm going to venture a guess. My feeling is because you have such a passionate love affair with a creative art (music,) work outside of that will always pale somewhat by comparison. Maybe even pale a lot. As a musician, wouldn't you rather be playing music for a living? Perhaps not just throwing it out there.

    I have been in the interview process for a job that will return me to social work. I was not a fan of the field, but the work will be easier on my body and there are benefits. I have none of that in massage. I love being in the body work field but I have to be realistic about the security of my family in the event I should say, break an arm or something. Without healthcare insurance, I'm screwed.

    I'm rambling. I appreciate your honesty. Just because we got sober does not mean that we wake up with the rosiest of thoughts with joy abounding. It gets better, but it's still life.

  4. Does anyone really want to work? I think maybe they give that impression because they know they have no other choice...there is pressure for those of us in recovery to put on a happy face or brave face or something, but it doesn't mean it's 100% genuine.

    I too would much rather do what I enjoy, which would be writing or posting pictures to instagram or playing diamond dash on my phone...unfortunately, have not found a paying position in any so I do something I feel I quite suck at some days.

    As for the job you're entertaining, is it possible to try it part-time in your "spare time"? That might be a way to test it out. I'm not much of a risk taker myself, but it sounds like something you're really excited about, and could possibly lead to something more stable and challenging and other good things.

  5. Such a nicely written post! I like your diagram - how true. I think the 'churn of daily life' when it comes to jobs/that sense of burden must be pretty widely felt, but I think that everything comes with a trade-off...
    I gave up the 9-5 twelve years ago to "follow my dream" and now I work from home in a creative field... it's worked out in lots of ways, but the commuting, office politics etc etc part of the previous churn of daily life has been replaced by a constant sense of precariousness, lack of varied social interaction, financial insecurity, cashflow problems, no changes of scene, etc etc! I don't regret it for a second (yet...!) but basically I've replaced one set of things to worry about with another set of things to worry about! My cycle completes itself, just as in your diagram - just with slightly different entries! C'est la vie...
    I guess we each have to decide which sacrifices we're prepared to make and how much the rewards are worth to us, it's such an individual thing. As others have suggested here is there any way you can make some changes incrementally?

  6. Thanks all for the comments - much of this is about perception and acceptance.

    One of my issues is the out the house for 12 hours a day that a commute to London gives me - hence difficulty to do stuff part time. Just spent the 2 hours at home this evening updating the local AA web site - and then there's the music... oh maybe I set too high expectations ... ;-)

    1. I think you bring up a great point here, Mr. F. My counselor says I'm notorious for doing this myself. My expectations for myself and for others can sometimes be a bit to high.

  7. restlessness isn't necessarily bad, if it triggers this degree of reflection! you are doing the work, friend! rather than swing wildly from one extreme to another, jacking up the lives of others along the way, you are working through it. suggest you allow some patience for yourself... and keep chewing.

  8. I like the honesty. There is this strange balance about being grateful, adding up the small things, and remembering to count all the goodness mixed with the reality that even good things come at some cost. I feel talking about it, seeing it, admitting you see it in yourself is a great place to be. I am irritatingly optimistic by nature, and I am fairly sure I was just made this way. Everyone ticks differently. That commute sounds like a bear! Can't say this wouldn't grind on the best of us. Guilt about feelings should be burned up in a fire where it can disintegrate. Your feelings are just that--feelings. You have to be dead to not feel. Lacking TRUE emotions is no good at all ;).

  9. "The best way to lose a job is just not to care. When you do not care, it shows in everything you do."

    I'd get out while you can.

  10. To be absolutely honest, I have never wanted to work at all, not since leavng school. That is--of course I want to "work" but only in something I find fascinating, rewarding (not necessarily financially--I'm not motivated by money) and in which I don't have to fake an interest. I'm still looking for that! But after a long, long struggle with waking up every morning absolutely hating my job, I've managed (through a good deal of sheer luck--don't believe effort is necessarily rewarded) to get my hours way down.

    Like C above, I now have a very unreliable, very low income, where there are days and weeks where very few people would believe how I live--it came to rescuing my lodger's discarded food out of the compost bin a few weeks ago. But I wake up in the morning without having to "go to work", and that is a priceless treasure that repays any days when I'm living on very odd meals made from leftovers and rice (I always seem to have rice!)

    Good luck F--I don't know what to counsel, as there's this eternal dilemma with something like this that (especially with your domestic situation) of not knowing whether you and your family will slip into poverty. But certainly, the dreariness, the pettiness, the pointlessness of most jobs I, anyway, have done, would make it worth a punt..