Getting back on track…

I’ve become a person I don’t identify with anymore.

It can happen so easily. And it doesn’t happen overnight. But one night is all it takes for one to wake up the next morning and think, Who are you? Where are your boundaries? How did everything spin out of control?

For me, it has been 1.5 yrs since I’ve felt more like me.

A lot has happened in the last 1.5 years. Without going into too much finite details I will say some key points:

  • Whatever depression I had experienced two years ago, which lead me to therapy, has pretty much been kept at bay. Not to say it’s not lurking in the shadows waiting for the right opportunity to pounce out at me, but from my cognitive behavioral therapy sessions, I’m still able to exercise myself back on to a straight path anytime I feel like I’m being sucked back in to the darkness. More importantly, I no longer have suicidal thoughts!
  • Regardless of whatever shitty people or shitty things people have done to me, I’m still pretty confident in who I am, which is something I completely lost 2-3 years ago.
  • While this past year has been the most challenging, I am still feeling blessed with what I do have in life.

The issue is that I have this extreme want to excel my career.

On the one hand, it’s been quite obvious the vast number of skills and management responsibilities I have seen over just the past 6 months alone come to being. I am doing things that I know is what will launch my career further down its path.

On the other hand, I have lost that balance. I am sometimes a workaholic, working overtime and like this weekend, spending a few of my free hours each Saturday and Sunday to catch up on a workload which I will always be behind in.

I am a very accountable person. But not just because I have been given a lot to be responsible over, but it is in my nature to do what I can to not fail. I take great accountability in everything that I do. It is both a strength and a weakness.

What I want to do for myself in 2016 is to know when to stop, know when I need to just let go of work and spend some peaceful time, while at the same time, being efficient with my productivity at work.

The challenge with the former – even when I’m not working, I’m thinking about work.

The challenge with the latter – my new manager (a.k.a. NM), is not one to allow me to be efficient. New manager is all over the place with projects. I am not the only one who has observed this. All my close co-workers have pointed this out upon meeting NM for the first time. NM is everywhere, is what they will say.

It’s true. How many times has NM double booked dates/months for clients where I would have to spend a considerable amount of my time trying to sort out on a calendar that is one of my key performance indicators? How many times has NM allocated time for meetings on new ideas NM wishes to push only for our VP to decline as it isn’t top of our priority for our company? Not bad ideas, mind you, but given our low resources and the long list of top priorities, said ideas are just not important enough to discuss right now. I spent half a day on my business trip discussing one of these “to-do” projects where there was so much more we needed to discuss first.

And finally, how many times has NM emailed me, stated a certain procedure which is new to me (as has been most of my job) and that we will discuss it together first, only to then get frustrated with me a week later for not working on that procedure? Yet I was instructed to wait on it until we’ve had a chance to discuss it. <- This has been the worst. Not just from NM’s poor lack of memory and proper management style, but just the demeaning approach put on me. The tone of voice can be abrasive and sometimes even shrill.

My challenge is to manage my NM and this will prove difficult.

My first task is to document all that I do for my projects, specially when there is inconsistency with NM’s work and/or communication (with documentation where possible followed by clarification. I will remain diplomatic but firm. If NM shows anger or frustration for how I decide to do my work, I will eventually need to take all my documentation and approach my VP for advice.

This tactic of mine is not to seek revenge or try to ruin NM’s career. It is simply has come to a point where if I do not do anything, the only person who will suffer is me.

I’ve had lengthy discussions with my husband about this and he continues to encourage me to remember that I deserve taking a break and to not let work own me.

Anyway – wish me luck. 2016 is not going to be easy but I am optimistic something good will come out of this.

 

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“Don’t sweat the small stuff” But why?

I’m always told not to sweat the small stuff. For the most part, this statement holds true. But what if the sweating the small stuff is a way to practice handling the bigger stuff?

Lately, I’ve learned a very valuable lesson in my personal life. Through the help of therapy, I’ve been able to use ‘the small stuff’ to practice my change in attitude and behaviour within myself.

An example would be whenever my mother would come over and criticize something she sees in our house. Yes, mothers tend to do this and yes, it sounds small. To most people, it probably is small. To me (and others like me), it’s actually quite huge when it’s connected to a history of my upbringing and relationship with my mother.

The first time I realized my mother’s critique wasn’t as devastating to me as it use to be was about 2-3 weeks ago. We had this Easter lily plant in the middle of the coffee table. Completely dead. I think it was dead for at least a week before she pointed this out. And continued being dead for another week or two before my husband finally threw it out.

My mother went on about everything she could surrounding that dying plant. I can’t for the life of me remember what it was that she said – which was a good sign. A year ago,  I would have uncontrollably made a slew of mental notes about every single word she said to me. And then days later, weeks even, be tormented by it all. It was just something I became a pro at because it was the only life I knew since I started to walk and talk.

Though I do recall her saying that we used a perfectly good plate to put the plant on. I only remember this because I thought it was funny – it’s an ugly side plate which we’re going to replace soon anyway.

Anyway, point being, I realized for the first time that while her comments still frustrate and annoy me, I was suddenly able to not beat myself up over her negative reactions. It’s always something I understood in concept but never something I was fully able to believe in myself. And when that evening came and went, I explained to Doug that I finally was able to separate myself from her issues. That everything she was saying in direction of me was really issues she had all on her own.

And that I’m fine. I’m okay. I’m not the disappointment she continually tries to remind me that I am (either intentionally or not – most likely she doesn’t even realize she is doing this). Even if she truly believes I’m a disappointment, she’s wrong. I am my own person – flaws and all.

So I’m glad I did sweat the small stuff all these years. I think it was part of my road to practice on in order to face some of the bigger stuff either presently in my life or whatever might be waiting around the corner.

I don’t feel guilty about sweating the small stuff anymore. The small stuff has proven fruitful to me – rather than casually throwing them off to the side with a ‘meh’ attitude, it’s helped me distinguish what I need to do in the grander scheme of things.

Warrior Two – Much kinder but still strong

 

Warrior Two – Much kinder but still strong

I use to be an angry warrior – with little confidence.

Now? I’m the stronger, gentler type – that simply just poses like one. Read more…

taking it easy – with help from jon

jon bon jovi

it’s sunday.

i woke up from a very pleasant dream with the above man gracing his presence during my nocturnal drift. in my dream, i dreamt about work. there was a lot of stress in my dream. new management (i.e. new bosses) wanted me to figure out things that were not under my area of expertise. i was still tied to my old boss, somehow, in regards to networking… we had an argument. i was pissed at him. co-workers, past and present, were not being cooperative.

and then, a moments break within all this dream madness, had me in a coffee shop. i just walked away from it all just to take a break. as i waited for the barista to hand over my coffee, jon bon jovi was standing there next to me. he was so open. so friendly. we started talking right away.

the bar where people were waiting for their order was really crowded. he was sitting on a stool and let me lean on him. but the leaning was not just physical. it was supporting me emotionally as well. everything his body language communicated to me was, you need to take a breather.

so, no, it wasn’t that type of dream. nothing naughty, i’m afraid. while i find this celebrity sexier now in his 50’s (what is it about men looking even better in their 50’s?) for whatever reason, my subconscious mind chose him to be my voice of reason. how fun is that! it’s like a bit of humour my subconsciousness was trying to add in… a message of, lighten up! here… let me give you jon bon jovi for the night…

sure, there were some innocent flirting. why not give my ego some stroking while it’s at it, right? i didn’t mind – i thoroughly enjoyed having jon’s gentleman-like, yet sexy, attention.

so, last night, i went to bed with plans to do a lot today. doug is on shift, chaeli is at her grandparents’ place… it was originally a day of getting a head start for the up coming week.

then i woke up. and asked myself, why?

i planned to wake up, have cereal and go to the gym for an hour cardio session. i then planned to fold laundry, load the dish washer, unload the dishwasher, make my breakfast, egg-white, veggie omelettes for the week… another workout at home, this time the chest and back p90x strength routine… and somehow, during all that, work on some projects for work.

on a sunday where we’re going to see spring-like conditions – sunny and double-digit temperature – why would i do that to myself?

would jon have agreed on this? of course not. my nocturnal angel of reason would have shaken his head, laughed and tell me to knock it off.

and so, i slept an hour more, got up to walk hobbes while enjoying the fresh, morning air, then came in for a leisurely breakfast. i’m now sipping my lovely, aromatic coffee while blogging. and googling images of jon while i’m at it.

there are things i still have to do today and that is the reality. my family needs clean underwear, of course. and the dishwasher IS full.

but what i will do – i will go out and take advantage of the sunny afternoon. i will take hobbes for a longer walk and just enjoy the smell of spring. and for sure, i’ll enjoy another cup of coffee this afternoon.

i’m learning to be more gentle to myself. sometimes, it starts with just the small stuff. with a little help of an 80’s rock icon.