the sixth day of “work” staycation

The morning went well, but I lost my hope for success in the afternoon again. Being a naturally skeptical and highly critical person, especially towards her own, I am not surprised with this.

I work, work, and work, and only a small fraction of it goes into “recognize me” bin. All these efforts, careful and meticulous work, time, energy, and deals with stress I put into this work seem to wash away and bring me from all the way bottom to all the way top, the feeling of being inadequate. Its pain and heaviness are inescapable.

I wish I could retire. I do not want to say that I wish I was old enough to retire – I have a life to enjoy and explore still. I want to fully immerse in it before it becomes too late to do whatever I can do with my healthy and able body and mind. But nothing makes me feel more remorseful of having only a little amount of money saved, which prevents me from even thinking about retirement.

They say education is great and a must, and what an education I have had. I have got a PhD degree, worked in four different countries, did countless of interesting work. Yet it was not only after 36 that I could get a job with benefits (including pension plan) and only after 38 that I have got a job with a decent salary. I want to ask; where is all my knowledge, skills, and experience now? Obviously while my efforts, tears and sweat have benefited many organizations, countries, and people (for which I am actually happy), here I am at mid-40s struggling with the idea of leaving a job that constantly makes me feel low, stressed, and unappreciated. Where are the benefits of all my education and capabilities when it comes to me?

Low self-esteem should be broken by all means; nobody is as “low” as one can think. I cannot do this in my case, however. This has been like this for years, fueled by my current position. I competed with many talented individuals to come all the way here and here at this position I am not capable of going any further. I cannot blame others or the conditions, but I cannot blame myself, either. I gave my best and countless numbers of hours and brain cells to this work over the many years. I cannot take this feeling anymore.

I want to believe that even without attaining the level of success I wish for myself, I still can and do great work. I know many people at my position going through the same struggle, and even performing less than me. Yet, they are good at standing, talking, and walking tall, in contrast to me. My own hardship on myself, my own expectations from myself, and my own frustration are the ones that drag me down in my own eyes and then in others’. I sometimes think that this job is more about mental stamina and confidence, however false it can be, than having the capabilities, skills, and excitement for creativity, quality, and effective work. I lack that stamina. 

I once had told another colleagues of mine at administrative level that I was more of a manager than a leader; I get things done. He was understanding and said that “….a leader is great, but a manager is even greater. Leaders open the way and develop the ideas, vision. Managers are the ones that make it reality….” How great is that?

I am affected by the lack of effective leaders at my organization as well as the lack of transparency, trust, and presence of lots and lots of silos. I need a leader that can open the way for me and provide me with better resources so that I can soar. Yet, nauseating truth is that I am supposed to be a leader of myself and do all of these. Nobody is going to care about my conditions, needs, or improving my morale. It is all on me.

I wish I could just stop resisting this frustration and accept myself as a failure to find some kind of peace and perhaps identify new paths to explore and move forward, but I am not capable of doing this. I have either a competitive nature that I am not consciously aware of, some kind of hope that does not go away and keep pulsing in my mind, or I am in fact better than I think I am. Not necessarily awesome, but just better. Whatever the reason for not accepting myself as a failure is, I am not sure whether I am grateful or not. What I know is that my time did not arrive yet, so I will keep going, even under harsher conditions. Eventually I will figure out how to make “lemonade”.

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thrift store treasures

 I have not written in a while, have I? I feel like I must write, write, write 🙂

A couple of things;

1) I continue to get up at around 7 am… Never in my life have I done this consistently. and with no good reason, like a flight or something.

Is it the end of winter? Daylight? Or plain old age?

Huh… My friends, they say as we age we need less sleep. I guess I am experiencing this. It is a fact! 🙂

2) I made an effort to take the bus this week, rather than the cab. It is working. I still do not feel like walking because of low morale, but I will re-start this sometime in the future. It is gonna feel great – I know it 🙂

3) I have walked two hours again today to a shopping mall. This is, I believe, the 3rd Saturday straight that I have done this. I checked two thrift stores and found myself a nice blouse – just for 4 bucks 🙂 this is the 3rd blouse I have got in the last three weeks from thrift stores that excites me like this 🙂 It is a beautiful thing and I love it 🙂 I tried around 15 other blouses – one of them was really awesome! I wish it was a little bit larger 🙂 Oh, well. next time 🙂

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I found it very interesting today that I am getting more and more comfortable with the idea of buying clothes from thrift stores. I previously had bought books, sewing notions/fabric, purses, a jacket or two, and one or two shirts over many years. What can I say? Sometimes I can find really amazing stuff and they are very affordable. I also help others by shopping at these stores, I would like to think. So I should feel okay. But, see there is something still bothering me about shopping there. I guess I am worried about people recognizing me and then talking behind me. After all I am not poor, and I can afford new clothes, and I would not like to be called “cheap”. But I must admit it is so much fun to go around the thrift stores, look at all the interesting stuff (they have more diverse items than regular store, don’t they?), and find a lovely piece that I can love and use 🙂 

On a separate note, walking was very easy and fun today. I am really grateful for doing this. It is an healthy activity and it makes me realize how fine my body and stamina is. Especially when I compare this ability to before when I had low energy for years and would not want to walk even 5 minutes… To be able to do this now feels awesome 🙂

random thoughts

It is quite cold, my friends. We are talking about below 0C. 

Air is fresh and crispy but honestly it just feels like when winter is just starting in December. Déjà vu….. Not so cool. We have had with winter already.

Since my morale is low in the last few days, I try hard to feel okay. I am kind of numb or absent-minded. I feel like if I do not keep busy, all the thoughts and emotions will rush towards me and I will collapse under their weights. I know this is irrational thinking. But it just feels so. So I keep busy – I work and work and work and that feels good.

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All my life I worked very hard, except may be a couple of times when I have had personal troubles that kept me from focusing and working a lot. Working seems to help keep my fears and emotions at check and for that I am grateful. It is just that I know that there is no running away from troubling thoughts or emotions, so one day I will have to face my sadness and worries. I hope to gracefully accept them when the time comes, rather than resisting and reacting. I found that not resisting makes it easier to cope with.

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So, am I kind of saying that I am grateful that I am not retired?

What would I do if I had no work to go to or focus in such a mood? Let me tell you – that would not be nice. So, yes I am so very grateful for my job and not being a retiree right now 🙂

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what future is like

I have been working in my field in a very dedicated and intense manner in the last 23 years or so. I worked in 4 different countries, did really well considering that I am a female and have been a “foreigner” in three of these countries (ah, yes I have been insulted, discriminated, and stereotyped many times), and have a great job that I think I deserve and is good for me. Except the stress levels and negative criticism that are inherently high in this line of work and the recent very annoying uncertainty about our future economy, salaries, and retirement benefits.

At one point in my life, maybe 10 years or so, I was again strained like this re; work opportunities and future stability, was having a personally bad time, and questioned how well this line of work was working for me, the efforts I put into it, its negative consequences to my mental and physical health, and what I was feeling like doing (sadly, I had lost my interest, enthusiasm, and dedication to my career and was desperately looking for an exit for a new, better, energizing, and positive life and work experience..).

It took me around 2-3 years to turn things around, by luck I would say (so grateful), but I was so lost (it is hard to figure out everything alone) and so depressed that it really hurt. Eventually, I never re-gained my naturally “extremely intense” enthusiasm towards my career. When such a strong bond, love if you will, is hurt, it is hurt for ever. My sincere verdict.

However, when I got my current job, I was filled with motivation and was still interested in, competitive and hard-working, even though that something was missing. I did really well, accomplished the majority of the things I put into my mind as much as the conditions permitted. Of course, I could do better. I always wanted to do better. And I could not at some points, because of some reasons. Whether they originated from me or from external resources does not matter. What matters is that I have changed, I have got tired of certain things, and now I want nothing but to change many things, including the topic of my work. I am hoping this will energize me and give me yet another push.

At my position, we are free to work on any topic we like (is that not fantastic?) as long as it is a productive and relevant topic. I think as the first step, that is what I will do; try to change the topic. That requires some thinking with a neutral state of mind, so hopefully I will have some time off to just focus on this. A new topic means a new excitement, another shot at an intellectual challenge 🙂 Always exciting 🙂 Problem is I have been meaning to do this for 3 years now; what are the chances of this happening anytime soon? We shall see….

Yet, not even this erases the scary fact that slowly, one thing at a time, my overall interest and dedication to this job, especially with the negative economic climate, are decreasing. 

Previously, I considered resignation from my current position many times because of the fact that it took me quite a while (many years) to adjust to the city and the work place culture, the stress levels it creates, lack of opportunities and support needed for a more successful career, and overall boredom that comes from many little things of life. Just this year I started not reacting badly to being here. But then started the provincial economic problems and the firings…. Talking about low work-place morale… This has had profound effect on me. I really want to get out of this situation and find a better, more secure job. I know the chances to do so is low, but I keep wanting this. It is only normal to want so. It is the human nature.

A couple of days ago, I was thinking; I probably have another 20 years to work before retirement (let’s cross the fingers… hope I will be able to work till then and hope there will be retirement possible at the future economic climate).

Twenty-years…..

Twenty more years I will struggle with the high level stress, criticism, reduced levels of enthusiasm towards my work… If I am lucky enough to keep my job, of course. Constantly I will find myself in the same situation with the need to handle stress, the need to change and improve the things, longing for somewhere new, some organization better.

The idea of constantly trying these has made me feel tired already.

Perhaps it is the best time that I quit this work and start another one/another career, maybe somewhere else with hopefully less stress levels. Will that ever be possible for me? Will I be able to work out and handle the stress better one day? I doubt it, but there is always hope. Will it be a better job? More secure? In a better city?

The more I think, the less it seems possible – status quo may be better than another position somewhere else.

So, what is it that I should be thinking about my future?

Well, unless I am fired from my job, I will keep going and doing my best. I know I can do this. I will focus on having a good life and putting in a positive attitude in my position. I will keep making financial plans and saving as much as possible to somehow help secure my future. I will take it as an opportunity, should they fire me, to listen to inner myself and find out what it is that I want in life and what my next chapter in life is like.

In the mean time, I sure can look for jobs, nothing serious but like a past-time activity, and who knows maybe I will come across one that will be a good opportunity for me. Where I will feel appreciated, valuable, and respected and where my efforts will make a significant and positive impact.

Until then, I am likely to come to this point again and again.

To make this easy, I think I must trust life. As a recent comment on one of my posts said (re-phrasing) “life does not work out the way we predict it to be, sometimes it is hard to understand the turn of events until we realize that whatever happened was only the start of a better life, better experience, better opportunity.”

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