Work Work Work

Some days don’t feel like mine at all. They are owned by the company that I work for. Days were stretched out doing the “impossible for the ungrateful” (Roman J Israel). I’m not the only one who knows the feeling to be constantly switched on. It makes you resent a job you once loved, and lets your mind wander at 3am.

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I wanted to share this story about super chickens from Margret Heffernan:

  1. One set of chickens were left to breed without scientific interruption.
  2. The second set were hand picked as being the “most productive” (produced the most eggs).

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The 2nd set ended up pecking each other to death. This isn’t only true for chickens but it is true in real life. We learn that only the top 10% earn the university place, or earn the bonus, or earn a promotion. So we fight against each other for this goal. Instead of working together.

People who work at organisations aren’t just at fault for this, but organisations are too. They create an environment in which people are forced to react in a “dog eat dog” manner. Financial target goals bring out the worst in people. Rather than goals that:

  • “Talk to something much deeper inside them”
  • “They feel they have been given the opportunity to give the best work they have done.” (Whether that’s provide them with the right resources, length of time, or your feedback etc)

Next time you feel yourself about to peck someone else at work to death, because lets face it, your mind set at that point in time is “they deserve it”. Maybe have a bash at the following:

  • Breathe
  • Go for a walk outside (free break!)
  • Write the email (but don’t send), come back to it and re-write
  • thought process: it’s just work, and this is a process I need to get through.

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Times are changing, and we should start thinking about what we can get out of work (in terms of experience and motivation), rather than what can work get out of us.

 

Sleeping Sickness

Sometimes I feel like there is too much going on inside my head. Like there is a barrage of thoughts echoing their way through to get my attention. There’s a ghost of Christmas past, present and future guiding me through each awful thought. The only muppet though is me! I just can’t wait for them all to quieten down, so I don’t have people asking me constantly “are you ok?” and I respond with the only way I know how: “sorry I was just thinking about something”.

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What I don’t think a lot of people realise is that everyone is pretending. Pretending to have the perfect relationship, perfect career, perfect home, or perfect family. We never take a picture and share what we want to forget.

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What I find helps (taken from Tara Brach) is to take a moment and think of sitting next to the emotion you are feeling:

  • Fear – think of the people who would want to help you through this, and places you feel safe.
  • Anger – Understand the space that is happening in, and observe it whilst you stand next to it.

One metaphor I love is that this man drew a small V on a large piece of paper and he asked: what people could see? They answered “a bird”. After a while he said “it’s the sky with a bird flying through it”. This is remembering the big picture; to gain perspective. Whether that is playing some music, taking a walk, having a laugh, something that pulls you out of the fog that you are in.

It’s funny that all these busy loud voices can make you feel lonely. I think it’s so important to understand that, everyone has their awful times (we just see their picture perfect instagram lives) I mean look at 2007 Britney! You are allowed your bad times, and you are more than entitled to pick yourself up to reach for your good times. It’s ok to say you’re having a crap day because your mental health isn’t great that day. That makes you a hell of a lot braver than 99% of people in this world.

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UnTrust Us

We navigate through our lives, and let people into our inner circle of inside jokes, messenger group chats, relationships or “seeing” (the pre relationship… which is like watching an ice cream melt and not being allowed to lick it. Ladies don’t worry you got the flake right?!)

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Sometimes the criteria that we let people into our “weird little worlds” isn’t set at the highest bar (and that can be ok). It can be based on a gut feeling (as long as its not a gut feeling for ice cream). Occasionally people aren’t quite who you thought they were, or didn’t act exactly how you think they should. Which is ok because we all grew up in different environments, with different experiences so how can we expect the exact same out of each other?

Yes people do leave our inner circle, and we have no idea why. This can leave us with these internal movies playing during the witching hour. Questions pop up in our heads like: “Did he leave because I have in jokes with my cat?” or, “Because sassy Sandra wears low cut tops?”

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As the “what if” scenarios roll by, that inner Mark Corrigan monologue starts. It feels nearly impossible to stop.

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One great way to step out of this inner movie is to ask ourselves these questions:

  • “What is true now?
  • What is asking for attention?
  • What is asking for acceptance?” – Tara Brach

Tara Brach goes on to explain that these are all cognitive questions. They help us listen in a receptive way, and snap us out of our 3am story telling.

The next time you and your anger lye in bed recounting the stories, the conversations, the body language, between you and someone else. Ask yourself the above questions. Most of the time we are feeling pain at the cost of wanting to be accepted by someone other than ourselves… Fuck that.