Thursday, 13 October 2011

OK, I Can Take A Hint!

Sometimes I need to get kicked in the ankles before I do, though...

My day job has been so intensely busy since June that I've let my future slide. I got caught up in the professional pride of exercising a set of skills that very few people in my company have, buoyed by the acknowledgement of my peers at an IT conference.

Well, pride goes before a fall.

Today, I endured the humiliation of sending an apologetic email to the entire team after the team manager told me to do so. The reason? Because a team member who should have known better chose to take some general advice as a set of explicit instructions, and did something he shouldn't have done. Not only that, but his defence was "I was only doing what Anna told me to do". The fact that I hadn't told him to do it, that he was endangering the stability of mission critical systems and that he wouldn't listen to my concerns, led me to raise my voice in public.

Now, I'm not excusing myself here. I know better than to shout at another person; I should have taken the conversation into a separate meeting room. I didn't because this issue was sprung on me. Not good enough. The team manager was right to criticise my conduct.

Unfortunately, I left the meeting with the team manager knowing that, yet again, my concerns were being ignored. I was threatened with a negative performance review and a block on my applying for other roles if I did not send an apologetic email to the entire team. The fact that I'd already apologised in public to the team member was deemed inadequate.

To say I'm heartbroken is not overstating the case. I'm good at my job; I take pride in my skills and have confidence in my technical abilities that is completely lacking in almost every other area of my life. I feel like I've been staked out in front of a firing squad who have the ability to take potshots at me whenever they feel like it.

I get the sneaky feeling I've added another 50 points to an already dangerous life stress score.

But there's another view I can take on this whole mess.

I originally started my Kleeneze business due to issues with my day job. Since then, I'd forgotten how bad I'd felt about getting passed over for promotion when I knew I had the ability to do an excellent job in the new role. I'd forgotten how much I hated the office politics that sprang up every few weeks whenever certain people saw me as a convenient springboard for their ambition. I'd forgotten the sinking feeling I experienced as I realised that being myself was not good enough; that I was expected to behave like a demure little doll instead of a vibrant, passionate woman.

I can't be something I'm not. I've tried, professionally and personally for over 30 years and all I've got out of it is two divorces, an abusive relationship and day jobs where I'm treated as a doormat when I'm not being vilified for not being girly.

I want a life where I succeed on my own terms, where I am responsible for who and what I am and where I am able to look other people in the eye and say, passionately, I am proud to be me.

Today, the universe gave me a reminder that I'm not there yet. But I will be. Watch me soar.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

I Should Be Dead!

Or insane. Or both.

© Lyn Baxter
Since the beginning of July, I've had the following life events to deal with:
  • Partner's career change (he's going to university for a year)
  • Partner's lack of funding (I need to support him to the tune of an extra £10k)
  • Partner's 3 months of indecision re pursuing his master's degree due to his lack of funding
  • Partner's daughter and grandson moving back in with dad
  • Partner moving half his furniture into my house, due to daughter not liking it
  • Partner stressing over daughter moving back in, and there being nowhere in my house for his furniture
  • Daughter's split with her partner, who is my granddaughter's dad
  • Daughter's house move (mainly performed by me and partner)
  • Daughter's ex-partner's house move (95% performed by me and partner)
  • Eldest son's change of address (wholly performed by me and partner); it took us 8 weeks!
  • Youngest son's psychological reaction to being the only offspring left at home
  • Redecorating larger bedroom (including new carpet, new bed, new desk etc.) for youngest son, funded by partner before he realised how limited his financial reserves were
  • Needing to pay back best part of £750 to my partner
  • Moving some furniture into smaller bedroom, soon to be part office
  • Middle son's ongoing battle to show loyalty to his dad, which has led to some seriously hurtful texts, facebook messages and a general air of distrust on his part
  • A holiday with partner and my youngest and middle sons (!)
  • Mother's ill-health - ulcers
  • Mother's ill-health - thrombosis
  • Mother's ongoing ill-health, which was a background issue before the extra problems, including heart failure, scarred kidneys, etc.
  • Mother got burgled
  • Partner's best friend died aged 54 (same age as partner)
  • Partner's other best friend dealt with his grief by being so horrible, partner has now refused to have any more to do with the guy, so partner now mourning loss of two friends rather than one
  • My day job work responsibilities changing
  • My day job's team responsibilities changing
  • New day job boss
  • New team member, sitting next to me, who twitches whenever he's worried and knuckle-cracks whenever he decides to do some work. He's worried about 95% of the working day, including when he decides to start something new.
  • Reshuffle of desks around the office, to suit the new boss's idea of how the team should be structured
  • Notification of new team job (tailor-made for me) which I would have to interview for, which has spun off some good quality office politics amongst others who want their preferred candidate to be selected
  • Car shunted by woman director in company BMW who refused to provide insurance details
  • Car written off
  • New car immediately developed the ability to stop the engine whilst driving along in third gear.
  • Laptop - with all of my Kleeneze routes on it - spontaneously combusted the day my written off car was due to be collected.
  • Had to buy new laptop and am still catching up with recreating my lists a week later.
According to the Holmes & Rahe Life Stress Test, I ought to be extremely ill by now - and the test hasn't kept up with today's stresses - half my stress triggers aren't even on the list. I've had to "best guess" what certain triggers would cost. My stress count for 2010 was around 850, where 300+ is bad news. My stress count in the past 3 months is 437! My partner's reaction when I told him was to point out that he'd got worse stress than me! I'll give you three guesses how that improved my stress levels...

Needless to say, I've had to focus on all of the above instead of building my Kleeneze business. So much so, that I'm effectively starting again from scratch.

I don't see that as a problem. It gives me  a chance to plan properly for the rest of this week, to better make use of the limited time available to me right now whilst making sure I have a decent plan to maximise income.

Any suggestions on how I can do better? Comments are always welcome. I'm just glad to be back!