Posts Tagged ‘Work’

A good day after a long weekend

After a long weekend of family, friends, fun and way too much food it’s not that easy to get back into the swing of things….

Today is like a double Monday! Not only do you have a long weekend to recover from, your week is shorter so you have to double more in less time. So why am I stating the obvious? Well, as hard as this day was it wasn’t my worst. I have had so many bad days over the last few years… Days that were horrible and sucked without a real reason for my misery. So when I get to walk away from a double Monday without feeling completely defeated -don’t get me wrong, I still wish that I had gotten more done today but a part of me is proud of what I achieved.

Usually by now I would be completely warn out by my anxiety. Usually my Sunday’s are filled with anxious anticipation of the negative persuasion because of the week that is upon us but I managed to allude the pressure I am prone to place on myself. And this morning I woke up and took it one step at a time rather than trying to attack an entire week’s tasks in one day. It helped.

Small things like taking a minute to show my bosses kid how to get to the high score in the Shrek game on my phone or having lunch with my friends even though I was only seconds away from bailing on them because of work pressure or that extra 2min I spent talking to a customer about her family or actually going through my music to choose a song I like to start the day with instead of relying on the random button and spending the next 5min skipping a bunch of songs I wasn’t quite feeling…

Music has been an amazing pick me up throughout the years and today I’m just really grateful that I’ve been able to get inspiration when I could have easily convinced myself that today was a day of doom…

Today I had a good day

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Work away from work

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You press the snooze button. Maybe more than once… As you lay thee in your bed wishing you didn’t have to get up, the thought crosses you mind: if only I could work without actually going to work…

And no, I’m not talking about staying home and working. I’m talking a bout a work related road trip! Tomorrow I’m having one of those!

2hours of full brainstorming on our way to a lecture/ training course with like minded people where our opinions actually matter and everyone isn’t just rushing around in a zombie like state. Followed by a working lunch and probably some more brain storming or at least a few dozen phone calls and then into another business management training session! I know that this probably sounds über boring but to me it is exactly what the doctor ordered!

A day away from the soul crushing workload that I have come to know as life and full of thought provoking intellectual conversations instead!

So I guess I better make sure I get a good night’s rest! I hope all of you can find something in this week that will inspire you to love your work again
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Autism Awareness

April is Autism awareness month. Usually I see these kinds of awareness campaigns as a little bit of fun for a good cause and hopefully somewhere along the line one or two people will be reached and that would be a successful campaign. This time around I pushed for a fairly simple project at work supporting the global call to ‘Go Blue for Autism’.

A simple process where all of our staff wear blue every Friday this month and we hand out flyers (which I also translated into Shona with some interesting results) and we educated our staff. I had a lot of conversations with idividual staff members about what exactly Autism is and what they can do to help. I was really amazed by how little all of them knew!! Sometimes I take my experience and education for granted.

So 13days into Autism Awareness month and it’s amazing how involved all of them are. They want to know more and they want to share it with their friends and families and they actually love being more informed. The biggest thing with Autism in Africa (and most mental health issues) is that no one talks about it. No one really seem to know much about it and more often than not, the person suffering is written off by their families and locked away; kept as a prisoner in their own home, simply because no one knows how to ‘handle them’. No has bothered to educate future parents on the very real possibility that their child will not be like every other child… that their child might be different. And by different I do not just mean have Autism or any other mental illness, I also mean that their boy mightlike playing withdolls and that their daughter might grow up not wanting to marry a guy… There is still a lot of forced rules placed on everyone and if your child or your family do not fit this mold perfectly, you must be ashamed? What kind of a world do we live in where a father might hate his own daughter for being gay or a mother writing off her baby because he does not respond like other kids? An uneducated one!

Awareness campaigns are so common right now that it’s easy to start thinking that they are just a way to kill time or make yourself seem more worldly but we forget that these campaigns exist not for those of us who are aware but for those who have never been informed. For all of those mothers who spent days crying because they could not bond with their child. For those kids who were abandoned because no one saw the potential behind their disorder. For everyone who has been made to feel worthless simply because they were not like everyone else.

So do yourself a favour and get involved! Talk about it! Share your experiences and be not afraid to teach others what you have learned…

PS: if you live in Southern Africa join us on twitter at DLYGzimbabwe where we are starting a campaign to talk about mental health instead of just allowing each other to suffer in silence

Switching minds

As I was waiting for some crucial information today, I passed our Easter Chocolate stand. Now from a procurement perspective, I love it! It is not often that we get to have a full range and diverse prices and a quantity I am semi-comfortable with (you can never really be 100% happy with your predicted sales quantity). From the EDNOS side of me, I really don’t like it… just sitting there smirking at me. One more reason to hate food and what it does to my body. But I digress, while I was rearranging some things to kill the time and not drive myself crazy by taping my fingers on the desk, I noticed that there has been a lot happening around me that I overlooked.

For instance, my old office section was extremely hostile today. SO much tension and anger that were just being bottled up instead of just talking about it. In my current office, we yell at each other or storm out or simply just talk about it. Whichever method we choose, you know exactly where you stand with us at any given point in time. This is something that is lacking from upstairs. So I switched offices, expecting to just have a better view (aka more control) over the people I am responsible for but as it turns out, this has resulted in a switching of mind sets to some extent. I have been able to remove myself from a hostile environment and then get a change of perspective not just on how I react in the work environment but also how we were being perceived upstairs. It was not good…

So I guess, sometimes in order to really see yourself, you need to not be yourself. Allowing myself to adapt with my environment has meant that I am capable of starting over again and designing a better version of myself. You know how you start out somewhere new and all of the flaws are so obvious that they just scream at you but as you change some things and fail at changing others, these issues lose their obvious nature and you end up stuck in a circle of mediocrity until someone else shows up and points out the flaws you are no longer able to see. Being around different people while doing the same job has resulted in a very different priority list and some things that use to take me forever to get done, now happen in seconds because I am in close proximity to the 3 people involved in the decision. Yes, there are some annoying factors like not always being in the management loop and having to play catch up a lot. Or being summoned upstairs when you have 6 people already waiting for you and then having to explain that you are not blowing off your Directors but rather prioritising their clients. And then there is this little issue where I feel like my I’m loosing my best friend because we’re both so busy that we simply can’t chat as often as we use to… deadlines suck.

But all in all it has been a great experience, kind off like hanging upside down on a jungle gym for the first time…

This Week

Ok, so this week was actually extremely stressful. There was so much happening and up until 2pm today I threatened *mostly myself* to quit 6 times; dramatically declared “I give up” at least 15 times; felt like crying 9 times; almost cried 4 times; was too depressed to eat cheese twice and drank a total of 6.33 litres of orange juice. And then it all came to a head.

The owners of our company showed up and the guys who have been torturing me for the last 2 days had the tables turned on them and were put on trial. The guys I were most afraid of surprised me and actually stood up for me. One of my Directors still chose his ego above what is right and showed absolutely no loyalty towards me but I believe our big boss is smart enough to see through his BS. All of the extra hours I put in, seemed to have paidoff and the training sessions have made a difference.

Now I just have to recover… Spending an entire week completely focused on all of these little tests can really mess with your body clock and for me that has the added pressure of heightened insomnia and unhealthy eating habits. To then have all of that weight lifted from your shoulders is such a relief. Now all I have to do is get the message back to the rest of my body! My heart is still beating super fast and my mind is still racing to make sure I have covered every angle and that means I still do not have my appetite back and that just makes me more sluggish than I need to be.

Obviously the results make such a huge difference and there is still this one little uncertainty that might throw a curve ball in my direction but that is a problem for Monday. Tonight I’m sipping on my Scotch *apparently I do that now* while petting the sleeping dog on my lap, listening to some Shania Twain…

Tomorrow is another full day of creativity and potential frustration that can hopefully be overcome with loads of party favours. And Sunday it’s back to focusing on work and being creative and attempting to meet the most insane deadlines *that annoyingly I set for myself* and a whole week of hanging on for the weekend.

Right now it’s all good and I’m reveling in it!

It Should Get Easier

So last week I was rather positive regardless of the circumstances but today I started to feel the positivity fade drastically. It’s like one second it’s all awesome and sunshine and roses and the next it’s all doom and gloom.

So today I was trying to cling to the last bit of positive energy I had left and 15min to 5 it left… it’s amazing how much can go wrong in just 8hours and it’s amazing how complicated things can get in that time. It should get easier shouldn’t it? It’s not like I’m a rocket scientist or a surgeon who has life or death pressure on their shoulders every day. I have a normal job and a year and a half after I starting it, I still feel overwhelmed every day; I still feel incompetent and I still feel like I am a failure. The obvious answer is to quit and get out because clearly it is not healthy for me but the sad truth is that no one here can do my job either… I can’t let the people I work with down by not doing my best but at the same time I… I’m just lost… I guess today was a tough one and I want to believe that tomorrow will be better and that I won’t feel this bad or at least that I will feel better about myself… but by now I know myself well enough to know that the only way that will happen is if I make it so.

I have to choose positive to band I have to fight to not let the negativity overwhelm me. After all of these years of dealing with depression, it should get easier right? Well, I guess in the most respects it has – it’s easier to see it coming; I know that it doesn’t last forever; I have ways of getting through the negative moment and I have learned to make sure that I fully appreciate the good times but sometimes I just wish that I could have an easy day…

While I take my lavender bath and drink my camomile tea and listen to the amazing P!nk, I’m going to take a few deep breaths and try to change these voices in my head – you know, and make them like me instead…

Change is as good as a vacation

Patience is not one of my strong suits… I do not like waiting for people to do the things I know I can do better. But unfortunately there are only 24hours in a day and to optimize your time, you need to delegate and yes, that requires patience.

The funny thing is that as much as I hate waiting, my love of teaching is a million times stronger. Being able to pass on my knowledge and see that penny dropping moment expression on the faces of someone who is experiencing the magnificent moment of growth that comes from education. For the last year and a half I have been working in an environment where I was slightly in seclusion as far as my job is concerned. No one at my place of work can do my job. They have tried and somehow it always gets really screwed up. So a few weeks ago, I found an excuse to move out my office and relocate to another part of the building where the environment is very different. My job hasn’t changed; the pressure that comes with it and being the only one who can do it – which means if I get sick, I have to go to work otherwise nothing happens and we end up at a standstill – hasn’t changed, the only thing that has changed is the fact that I am surrounded by other people. Unlike the people in my old office, these guys are not on the same management level that I am (wow that sounds rather pompous of me but I don’t know how else to express this). Previously we were all busy in our own worlds talking about the future of the company and complaining about the lack of drive from the operation side and sheer lack of knowledge coming from ‘downstairs’. Now that I am here and get to see these guys all the time, it means I can I ask the questions as it happens instead of having them build up to the point where I need to have a whole 40min meeting discussion all of my queries. And the greatest thing about that is that I can give them guidance and explain why I am asking these specific questions while the event is still fresh in their minds. Plus I get to see them react to it and actually put it into practice or correct them if they misunderstood and it gives them the opportunity to express the challenges they are facing without seeming defensive.

I’m slowly learning to trust my HoD’s and allowing them to take responsibility for their departments and not needing me as much. This was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. Yes, giving up control is hard for me but since I get to train them from scratch, it’s like I’m giving control to a mini-me rather than to a total stranger. Of course they will never do things the way I would do them but that’s the whole point, they should do it differently and hopefully do it better… And of course if you are the one calling the shots, you will make sure that it is followed to the letter and that it succeeds because it is not just some foreign directive that comes from above, it is your own little baby. My favourite part of training is that I get to show all of these people how to be better at what the things they spend a third of their day doing. And it is fun to let go every once and a while. Of course it also frees me up to do all of the other things that I cannot pass on to them yet.

Just today alone, we’ve had discussions about operations and staff management and searched for that pesky little line in a 15page invoice that prevents us from balancing… and we found it! It’s rather weird but doing all of these little things that we generally did not have the time to participate in when I was upstairs is giving me a break from all of the usual chaos of the rest of my job… like they say: a change is as good as a vacation and every time I get to change the conversation from something ‘life or death’ to something ‘mediocre’ it’s like my brain gets to take a break. And I think the fact that I get to spend a little more time with the people who have disappointed me and my team upstairs so much over the last year, is reminding them that we haven’t given up on them yet. Hopefully this new opportunity is not just therapeutic for me but also beneficial for the rest of our company.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that knowledge is most useful when it is shared…

Cheese & Chocolate without Vodka and Coke

This week has been a rough one… We had selective electricity which really wasn’t matching with my schedule and PowerTel was inconsistent at best in the few seconds that I actually had time and electricity concurrently. I know that doesn’t sound like the end of the world but to me, I need those things to relax and get rid of the frustration of the day… Instead I had to settle for Wimbledon. Don’t get me wrong, I like watching sports but taking bets on which player will hit the net first or having ‘who has the most annoying grunt’ discussions is no match for the awesomeness that is Twitter.

But I degress, the reason I needed a stress reliever this week was just an annoying series of events. Stuff at work resulted in me having to fit 3days amount of work into 1; waisting 2days work because I had to redo it through no fault of my own in the pressure cooker deadline of 4hours; other people were messing with my staff and completely through my scheduling into chaos and resulted in me fighting fires the last 2 days. I also had to cover up other people’s mistakes and once again squish several days of work into only a few hours and hope like crazy that I didn’t miss any tiny details… Plus this week everyone else seem to have lost their basic ability to use office equipment leaving me to run around acting as secretary for the masses. Oh and the most important priority in our company has all of a sudden become business cards that I must just magically design and get trademark approved… Oh yeah and I have to do all of this while keeping up energy for the current promotion; organize future promotions and plan the ones coming up in the next 2 weeks. All of this in a 7hour day? I don’t think so…

If this was all I had to deal with, maybe I would have been ok but I’m drinking orange juice (which is code for I have a cold) and have to turn 40 high school kids into performers in less than 2weeks and well… there are also a few family issues I had to attend to this week. The good news is that I seem to be in a phase of my life where I have given up drinking and I rediscovered my love for cheese and chocolate. That may sound really random to you but to me those are 3 huge things that affect everything from my energy level and sensibility through to my eating habits and mood levels.

But today I got to watch sport on TV, an old movie I use to love, play with the dog, rescue a kitten, finish some of my work, write a post to my little baby cousin and eat a snack I haven’t made since I was like 12… So today, the entire week has been worth it or rather doesn’t matter. Moments like these where I get to enjoy a breather and that feeling of triumph before being weighed down by the world again, are really comforting and a real sign that it will always get better.

Love you all ❤

First Fight

We had our first real fight. It was silly. Just because it was silly doesn’t make me any less annoyed.

While JS was waiting for his PC game to load he took my phone from me and yeah it was a fun game for a while but then I wanted to use it to play music while I take a bath. So he said that he’d give it back to me as soon as I started running the bath water. I knew that the chances of him giving it back like he said was slim but I still chose to trust him. This is pretty much where the spirit of the game ended!

When I got back he obviously didn’t want to give it back and continued playing the ‘what’ll you give me for it’ game. In all fairness I could probably have said I’ll give you a kiss or something but after I said please several times, I was just not in the mood to play anymore and I went on the defensive which translates into making idle threats like ‘this is the last time I’m asking nicely’ or ‘do you want to sleep peacefully tonight?’ all still said with a smile. Then it dawned on me that I don’t want to be one of those women. One of those women who have to bribe and threaten the guy they love to get what they want so I flipped out a bit and gave him one final warning as I considered pulling the plug on his computer or pretending to through his phone out the window but instead just opted for pulling out his internet cable…

Admittedly that was childish of me but by that time I was beyond the game and I just don’t make empty threats. So I walked out and went for a long walk, which didn’t cool me down. So I went for a run and that only seemed to make me angrier so I went back to walking which still didn’t prove effective. Eventually I settle on pacing: not effective at all but a good time waster! Somewhere between the end of the pacing and the bath I eventually took, I realized that it was obviously never about the phone and even the fact that I don’t want to be a stereotypical girlfriend is not the true reason for my upset. It all comes down to trust.

I knew that there was a greater chance of him continuing to withhold my phone than of him actually returning it but I chose to trust him anyway… I chose to trust. The thing most people don’t realize about me is that I have some serious trust issues! I use to be all stable and trusting but I got screwed by a few Virgos and now I’m a bit scared. It’s not fare that he has to deal with this. It’s not fair that he has to compensate for my insecurities and my trust issues.

It’s crazy that something as silly as a game of phone hide-and-seek can bring up insecurities I almost thought I had come to grips with. With that said, if we work through all our fights this way we might just make it to our his and her rocking chairs 60 years from now.

AM