Hiatus is a Good Word

I’ve thought about this little blog a lot lately. When I started writing here I needed an outlet for creativity and emotional venting. Also for pondering aloud. 

So much has happened to me since the summer. I said goodbye to daycare due to my kids outgrowing it. I got laid off of my 10-year cube job that I both hated and needed. I decided to sell off our rental house and therefore had to evict my friends who lived there. Then I broke my wrist in early October and am still in a cast. It’s a pretty purple colour but it prevents me from using my left arm very much and I happen to be left handed. 

Much soul searching ensued but not as much as when I was still a full time employee. I was neither sad nor happy about my sudden freedom. Mostly I wondered how I should feel, same as I have after many life events. Divorce springs to mind as one of the more discombobulating experiences that had a similar affect on my daily life. 

Luckily I hired a good lawyer and received a generous severance. Luckily I make money through our basement rental and luckily Husband’s biz is going like gangbusters. 

Yes I need to find a new vocation/focus/activity to keep me productive but until this arm cast comes off and the rental house is finally ready for sale I’m just helping Husband with his work, keeping the house functioning, and enjoying the lack of career expectations. I might work in a cube again if I have to, but only on a contract basis. It’s nice to have that as a fall back plan but I hope I never have to use it.

Meanwhile my midgets get older and I continue to encourage their independence. Boy is a moody 14 and is currently enduring ninth grade. Girl is a young lady, very social and industrious. We 3 are all still very close and I’m doing my level best to stay that way. 

Linked In immediately became irrelevant to my life. So did travel, to some extent. I no longer have a life I need to escape, and so my travel itch has diminished considerably. I’m fucking content, and that surprises me most of all. 

  

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It’s Ok to Hate Your Job

Courtesy of Reddit:

Somone I trust and lookup to told me the other day at breakfast that I should write a book on my experiences and how I got off my ass and helped myself. I laughed and said I knew I didn’t have that kind of focus or care to write.

Even this post I’m just dictating into my computer mostly. But I did want to share this with you because it helped me.

You hate your job. You try to pretend like you don’t but you do. You get in the car every morning, with your coffee in hand, and take a deep breath. Right there, in the quiet of your front seat, you have the same conversation with yourself day after day. It goes like this:

“You can do this. Just one day. You can make it through.”

Of course, you know that. You know you can make it through the day. You’ve been “making it” through days for months now, even years, by repeating this very same routine, this coffee and breathing and driving and numbing and “you can make it” routine.

But is this what life is supposed to feel like? Like you’re just “making it” through?

Does everyone feel this way? I fucking did and I hated it. Thankfully I was fired for my diminishing performance at work.

Chances are, you’ve worked a handful of jobs and most of them have felt this way. In the beginning you think, “great opportunity,” or “exactly what I need for now” or even, optimistically, “this one is going to be different.” There’s always such a freshness and excitement and urgency and enthusiasm when you begin something new.

But then, after a few weeks, or maybe months if you can hold out, this old familiar feeling starts to sink in: Exhaustion, depression, loss of motivation, the fear that you’re just pushing papers or running TPS reports or barking at a room full of students to calm down. The feeling you have to drag yourself out of bed in the morning.

What about the thing you want to be doing? The thing that gets you out of bed in the morning and keeps you up at night? Why can’t you get paid to do that?

Never mind, you give up. Nobody really loves their job. Do they?

You worry it must be you.

It must be an attitude problem, or a gratitude problem, or maybe you were just born lazy or entitled. Maybe it’s because you live in a rich country, or because you grew up in a rich family, or because you grew up in a poor family and you always wished things could be different. Maybe this is a “first world problem.”

At least you have a job, you tell yourself. Some people don’t even have that.

I’m writing to tell you it’s okay.

It’s okay to hate your job, and it’s okay to want a new one. It’s normal. You’re normal. You don’t have to hide it or feel guilty anymore and you don’t have to talk yourself out of it. What you want is saying something. It’s trying to tell you something. It’s a special message for you from deep inside your gut.

Don’t ignore it.

When you’re hungry, your body tells you by sending signals to your brain. Your stomach growls. You crave something. Your mouth waters. You respond by giving it food.

What your body craves isn’t always best for you. Anyone who has dieted knows this. Sometimes our bodies are addicted to sugar, or to fat, or to salt, or even to chemicals, and we have to recognize and intervene and feed it something different than what it craves. But we don’t do this because hunger is bad. We do this because we know what’s best for our body.

Because what we really want is to be healthy, to have more energy, to live longer, to lose weight.

The worst thing you could do, when your stomach growls, is give it no food at all.

Don’t ignore your hunger.

Instead, ask yourself what you really want.

What do you really want out of life? What is the most important? You can’t have it all, so you have to prioritize, but it’s okay to want stuff. It’s okay to want a different job, a different city, a different job, a different way of life. Different wants crop up in different seasons (career, family, marriage, friendship, healing, etc.) but wants always help us to zoom in and focus and feel thankful and see progress and find meaning in our life.

So, what do you want right now? What matters most?

If you woke up this morning and are dreading your job, listen up. You’re normal. This is normal. It can be hard to find meaning in what you do, no matter your job title. But it is possible. Everyone doesn’t hate their job. And it’s not irresponsible for you to ask yourself the questions you need to ask to find work you love. (Like, what do you want?) You may discover you need a new job. You may find you simply need a change of perspective.

Either way, what your feeling is not bad or wrong. In fact, it might be trying to tell you something important.

Don’t ignore it.

 

How I Embraced the Cubicle and…who’s kidding who? I hate this shit.

Lately I’ve been called upon to be a personal cheerleader for a co-worker/friend. Usually it’s me who hates being here, marking time and providing necessities of life to my family unit. Last week and the week before that I was home a lot with sick children, and I determined I don’t want to be a stay at home mom (sahm) even if it’s an option, which for me it is not. I don’t know if sahm dissatisfaction is linked to my fear of being ‘unproductive’ or becoming a 1-dimensional drain on our family’s resources, but I definitely felt bored by the end of that period. I don’t even want to use word unhappy to describe myself. That word feels too strong for my malaise and too weak for the stirring I feel inside me that wants to burst out of my chest.

Last week and this week, my friend Anne is going through a phase where she feels unrewarded at work, meaning she feels her work doesn’t make a difference in the world. Normally she feels satisfied by her projects and is content to bang out documents as required. I reject the idea that if she was better paid she would be happier. Same for the notion that her working for a different company in a different cube would provide her with a solution.

This week on the Bill Burr Monday Morning Podcast, Bill puts cube workers on blast and asks rhetorically if anyone hoped as a kid that one day they would be dealing with spreadsheets and other paperwork in an office setting. My answer to that is Yes, I did. The idea of having inside work that is clean and uses my brain was very appealing to this farmer’s daughter. No longer would the weather determine my productivity that day, and I predicted I would receive regular praise for my brilliant ideas and Protestant work ethic. Sure, I’ve experienced this, but now my dreams have changed. Now I want some freedom to explore my new interests and make money while producing meaningful services or products to the public at large. I’ve never wanted to be famous or outrageously rich, so my humble goal should be simple enough to achieve.

My hypothesis for Anne is that, no matter what office she works in, she will ultimately be unsatisfied because she will not be doing work she really wants to do. What does she want to do? She doesn’t know yet and that’s causing her mental discomfort. I was at that point last year, and by now I’ve come to the realization that my discomfort is ok and doesn’t need to be resolved at the moment. I don’t know what I want to do next, and that’s ok. This is the idea I’m trying to convey to my good friend; it’s ok if we don’t know what to do yet because someday we will.

I’ve been listening to many podcasts lately and some of them pertain to entrepreneurs. Sometimes I’ll hear a good sound bite and I try to remember it. Keep in mind I’m always riding my bike while listening to these, so I haven’t a pen and paper nearby to jot down these ideas.

“People put more value on entrepreneurs than they do 9-5ers”

It’s true generally the entrepreneur is glamorized, while the ‘wage slave’ is not.

“We eat at TGIFridays, not TGIMondays.”

Weekends are what we live for, supposedly. But no one’s tweeting about the crappy parts of making a living as a guest speaker or consultant. Mostly all we see are photos of beaches or mountains with the caption, “This is my office today.” What about a photo of a bland hotel room and a picture of a squished cereal bar that will serve as dinner that night? Not so glamorous but much more relatable. That tidbit was provided by Kevin Kostella, who creates The Freedom Lovin Podcast.

I’d like to think I’ve got my eyes wide open about the prospect of being a business owner, not that I have a business in mind yet. One inspiring site is My Wife Quit Her Job. This man blogs about his family’s transition from a typical dual income household of working for other people, to running an incredibly successful online store. His wife was working at a 6-figure job and hated it. She hated it so much that her sadness and anger filtered up to her family life, making Sunday evenings just awful. A solution had to be reached, and so together they found one.

Husband and I periodically but regularly discuss what else I could be doing to earn income for our family besides working in a cube in an office building. We have some ideas but nothing is without risk and all of the ideas take time and effort. I’m willing to devote time and effort in this case but not as much if I am not guaranteed success. Or practically guaranteed. I suppose that’s what holding me back.

 

Hey There, Lonely Girl

Husband works very long hours and has done for years, getting his business off the ground and making it a success. I’ve been genuinely supportive of his efforts and very rarely complain about this. I know it’s for a good cause and he loves what he does for a living. His happiness colours his relationships and outlook. However, In practical terms this means I am alone a lot. I take care of the house inside and out. My kids are my kids and not his, so him not being around shouldn’t be a problem, except when it is. Having a loving union is very important to me as an adult and as a parent.

When is it going to be my turn? Right now I’m a stereotypical quiet strong woman behind a successful man. I’m just as smart as he is, and just as ambitious. I’m delighted by his success; his accomplishments are mine too. Is there room for 2 people in a marriage to achieve success? I’m an ordinary person who doesn’t want fame and is not willing to work 18-hour days to achieve whatever I’ve decided is my goal, because I’m not willing to sacrifice time with my midgets, husband, dogs, beach, home, and tranquility. I’m not that kind of ambitious.

I’m a scaredy cat when it comes to taking financial risks. I’ve made mistakes before and I’m determined not to do that again and so my cautious nature wins out most of the time. And yet, I’d like the chance to find a work situation that I love. Luckily, husband is supportive of me and soon it will be my time to challenge my norm. Soon.

 

I Need the Motivator from Wipeout

If I could get that installed at my house, I could better propel myself out the front door of my house.

My jobs in the morning are: let dogs out for a pee; take my pills; get midgets up out of bed (sure, they have alarm clocks, but that doesn’t mean they will heed them, so I’m their backup, their plan B); monitor the progress of the aforementioned midgets, offering solutions to problems such as forms that need to be signed, swimming stuff to find, and a distinct lack of socks all while keeping an eye on the clock; get myself ready for work, the effort of which varies depending on the dirtiness of my hair; feed dogs (because if I feed them as soon as I get out of bed, they wake me up earlier and earlier every day); kiss girl midget good-bye; take dogs for a walk; and go to work. Would I want my midgets to be more independent? I used to think Yes, but I’m glad to be included in their daily routines. This involvement keeps us connected.

I can (usually) get myself out of bed easily enough, and I crank some tunes via Songza to get my mood to a happy state. It’s the leaving of the house that presents a problem, one that would be solved by The Motivator. For now, the warmer weather is my metaphorical Motivator, and for now that’s good enough.

I’ve been riding my bike to work and that’s providing some joy. Always people wonder why I bike on busy streets instead of the bike path. The bike path is boring. The landscape is homogenous, the wind is formidable, and there are no flower shops, bakeries, or traffic lights to break up the windy monotony.

The warm weather has also quieted down the plaintive whining in my head that appears during the winter to wonder why in hell I live in such a cold climate. So there’s that.

Putting ourselves last

Our kids’ emotional needs come first, because whatever our needs are, our personalities are already formed and our emotions largely predictable. Even if they aren’t, we are adults. It’s too late for us. The clay has dried. It’s not too late for our kids though. My midgets have a great relationship with their Dad and with me, because their Dad and I have consciously grown those relationships and supported each other’s involvement in the lives of our midgets.

Maybe I’m so passionate about this issue because if I give this situation my ‘all’, and my midgets turn out emotionally stunted or damaged in spite of this effort, I don’t have to blame myself. My first instinct is always to avoid offending someone or affecting them in a negative way. This has led to my avoidance of conflict, although I’m working on that. So perhaps my passion comes easily to me because my life goals are aligned with the goal of raising my midgets surrounded by love. I saw an episode of Grey’s Anatomy where a working mother was jealous of the bond between the nanny and her child. I have never felt that way toward my caregiver, and in fact used to call her my midgets’ day-time Mommy. She is still an integral part of their development, and, together with her husband is one more element of love added to my midgets’ lives.

Just this morning I was patting myself on the back once more, after I read an article in the newspaper.

I can’t imagine how guilty I would feel if I screwed up my chance at perfect parenthood. Perfection is a pipe dream, I keep telling myself, but I don’t believe that. I am doing the best I can, same as all parents do, so what makes me think my method is correct? Will I look back on this in 10 years and see I was wrong? What will I do then, to console myself? I’ll probably tell myself I did the best I could, and at that time I will have to admit I didn’t do a perfect parenting job. Perfection is always my goal; through all of my schooling and achieving traditional milestones. That’s what got me into the wrong marriage, into a beige cube job that probably doesn’t suit my personality, and pushes me to push my midgets into socially sanctioned roles of good helpful teens who will be university educated and gainfully employed. And then I see a TED talk like this, which makes me question my effectiveness in preparing my midgets to be happy successful adults.

I want my midgets to be proactive, creative, and independent. Does achieving a university education and a ‘regular’ job promote these qualities?

It’s Barely Spring and I’m Thinking Summer

When you want your kids to have all the advantages afforded to them at their age, you have to be prepared to think ahead. For Summer soccer leagues, sign up is in March or April. When you want your child to attend Summer camp, you have to register in March or April too.

With just 8 weeks of summer here, the time gets filled up quickly. And yet? We still have to keep the kiddos occupied for the full 8 weeks while we adults are gone all day. This presents a challenge for many, because camps aren’t cheap. They aren’t even comparable to regular child care costs. Are camps and childcare worth it? Yes indeedy. But even if you can afford 6 weeks of camp (I’m making a big assumption here that most parents can afford to take 2 weeks off every summer but I could be wrong.), the camps fill up and might not be available. And if the camps are available, hopefully they occur on the same weeks as your child caregiver is taking holiday, otherwise you have to pay twice.

When your kid is under 10, they will pretty much attend any camp you drop them off at. It’s much more nerve-wracking for you than it is for them. Kids older than that seem to have opinions and preferences and put up resistance to attending camps that they deem boring/uninteresting or friends aren’t attending. Yes that’s right! You have to coordinate with other parents to make sure our darlings are in the same camps at the same time. Before you can coordinate, you have to find out phone numbers or email addresses using the least reliable courier service ever: your kids.

All of this to say – my summer is nearly already mapped out from the first week of April. During the weeks where there is no camp and no adult around, my midgets will be working at husband’s store part-time. Busy midgets are happy midgets.

Taking My Concept of Happiness and Putting it on its Ass

Husband runs his own business and loves it. He is gregarious, smart, charming, and witty, and he loves his job. This becomes obvious to anyone who enters his store. I have often found myself to be so jealous of his job satisfaction, because mine seems to ebb and flow. Husband loves helping people and derives a lot of satisfaction from that.

I mentioned that my documents and such don’t help very many people, maybe a maximum of 10, and even then in a very limited manner. Husband replied that to the people in my family, my job helps them quite a bit. I provide a steady income and health insurance, both of which have contributed immensely to my family’s successes big and small. We have a happy, cozy, home, largely due to my beige cube job, and that’s not a small accomplishment. I have held onto my career through motherhood and divorce. I bought my own home and then a rental property on my own. Then I sold my home and with Husband, we bought a cute house in a great neighbourhood. We travel. We drink Starbucks. We do things. We are happy.

So yes, I do make people happy every day, and I do help people every day.

This Fall we are hoping to sell our rental property. Sometimes we think it would be better to sell our own house and move into the rental property, but lately we are leaning toward staying in our current home. This is because our home has a fully separate basement apartment, which provides a nice income stream. Seems like a clear cut decision, except our home has a bigger mortgage owing on it than the rental does, and we would stand to gain much more financially by selling our home.  Aside from that, I hate moving. I hate decorating and getting everything just right, only to have to leave it behind and start all over again. We have tried to take emotion out of this decision, but that’s just impossible.

We still have time to discuss and decide, which we will do.  Meanwhile, I continue making people happy daily.

Short and Sweet-ish.

Sometimes when I click on a link or menu item that I’ve clicked on 100s of times before, I will position my mouse to anticipate where the next link or button will appear. That’s just a little game I play to keep myself amused.

What would happen if I decided I wanted a lower paying physical job instead of the beige one I have now? I call my current job beige because the walls, carpeting, and people are beige. I’m not referring ethnicity; rather to attitudes/acceptance/facial expressions of coworkers.

I’m not a spring chicken (and thank goodness, because I don’t want to get eaten this summer). Physical jobs are for the young or people who haven’t any other options. Of course I’ve seen the toll a physical job takes on a person no matter their age. The young (under 30) generally thrive. They show off their amazingly tight abs, arm muscles, and suntan. Anyone over 40 though, who is doing a physically active job, starts to develop bodily ailments because they are literally wearing out their joints, bones, ligaments, and muscles.

Generally I like trading my brain capacity for money. I wish that capacity was worth more money and required less time, but overall I feel like this is the best I can do. Is that…sad? I don’t think so? I don’t know.

This year will be busy because there are lots of changes coming about.

Get off your butt and go to work!

This post is singing my song. I take issue with the comment though, the holier-than-thou people who think society has created ‘lazy brats.’ I’m paraphrasing. I had no idea so many WWII war vets were still alive and commenting on the internet. You’d think from these comments that the current adult generation in their 20s and 30s are the first ones to be ‘pampered’ and accused of being ‘spoiled!’ Every generation thinks they have it rough. These days, getting a bachelor degree is the bare minimum to get any kind of decent/boring job. There are so many innovations, technological, social, cultural, that it’s difficult for anyone to stand out these days.

I like the post, and hate the comments.

Culture Monk

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by Kenneth Justice

It’s not FAIR Kenneth, I shouldn’t have to work at a boring job, I should be able to do something  that I enjoy” she said.

~ I was talking to a twenty-five year old young woman last week who complained to me about the perceived “injustice” of having to work a job she didn’t love. She believed that she has the “right” to work at a job she enjoys. Unfortunately, the various people I meet like this young woman (both men and women) tend to live off of their parents, many of them still live in their parent’s basement well into their thirties.

The reality of life is that most jobs aren’t that much fun. Digging ditches, working at a water sewage treatment facility, working for a garbage company, working in janitorial service, the list is virtually endless of dirty, smelly, nasty, and boring jobs.

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