April 25, 2011

Turn and Face the Strain

I didn’t feel so great when I woke up this morning. I know why. One, I haven’t been exercising regularly for the past couple of weeks, and yesterday I walked a lot. My muscles are confused and consequently cranky. Two, since I never made it to the pharmacy to get my allergy medicine, my sinuses are swollen in protest. Three, as a direct result of the junk food I ate yesterday, my stomach is tossing acid around in revolt. In short, I haven’t been a model of good health lately and this morning felt it acutely.

I haven’t been exercising and eating correctly lately because I’m stressed out. Fitting time in to workout seems like a punishment when I’m working late most nights. Fast food and other edible comforts seem justifiable when I’m unhappy with my job. I’ve also been letting chores and errands, like pharmacy runs, slip because I’m distracted. I feel distracted because I’m not sleeping. I’m not sleeping because I’m not exercising and eating healthy. Not sleeping leads to more stress, which leads to… I’ll be honest: I’ve been having a major long-running pity party. My job sucks and I’ve been letting it suck down my personal life too.

Waking up this Easter morning, I felt how stupid that was. If ever there is a time to exercise and eat healthy and sleep well, it’s when you’re stressed. A sucky day at work is a reason to go to yoga, not an excuse to skip it. I know this, but I haven’t been acting on it. Instead, I’ve been feeling sorry for myself, as my last rant of a blog entry can attest. Someone suggested I take it down because it was so obviously an emotional vomit of an entry (my words, not hers). I considered taking it down because when I started this blog I intended it to be a record of the positive actions I take in my life, and that entry was not positive. I’ve decided to leave it, though, because it is honest. Anger and unhappiness is a part of everyone’s life at some point, and it certainly has been in my life lately. If my goal is to make myself a better Anne, I have to be honest about who I am. Right now, I’m a person who is unhappy with her job and who is letting it affect her life. Now I have to figure out how I’m going to get over this.

I’m not a traditionally religious person, but I feel there are valuable lessons to be learned and embraced from the stories and metaphors and wisdom that come from the world’s religions. I’m trying to tap into the ideas of renewal and restoration imbued in Easter celebrations. Today is a good day to start again, to make healthy choices and go back to the more positive me. I’m also considering that familiar prayer of “changing the things I can, accepting the things I can’t, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Changing the stupid job, while not impossible, is going to take time and a whole lot of patience. However, the unhealthy eating, the lack of exercise, the sleeplessness, the feeling sorry for myself I can start tackling all of those today. I can control these things. I can be a better Anne.

March 30, 2011

It’s Awful

How about this for a blog theme: Anne figures out how to quit her job.

My jobby job has turned into a nightmare. I know that must seem a bit melodramatic but I’ve literally had bad dreams about it so I’m feeling a bit inclined. This morning, I was practicing yogic breathing in my car so I wouldn't have a panic attack on the way to work. My job is awfully awful right now.

Part of it is that I’m on a terrible project. You know you’re on a terrible project when your coworkers start describing it as the “perfect storm.” It’s huge in size, quite literally double in size of other projects like it. It’s a Godzilla project. It has a short schedule for regular small projects, let alone a project that eats Tokyo. It has a huge staff assigned to it, but about 50% are on irregular part-time schedules, and only seven of us are in the same office. I also have another very big project that I’m expected to work on at the same time. That’s right, it’s Godzilla versus Mothra and half my army is invading Russia.

I have had bad projects before—bad-I-wanna-quit-my-job projects—but they always end. At some point the crisis is solved, or the mother of all manuals pubs, or someone comes to their senses and cancels the ridiculous print date. At some point that horrible feeling of claustrophobia passes and I stop dreading the next day at work and I don’t want to quit my job anymore. Godzilla goes back to the Island of Monsters.

I’m on week four of feeling claustrophobic. I had to force myself to get out of bed this morning. And yesterday morning. And the morning before that.

That’s because of the other part of the reason I’m miserable. I’m working with horrible coworkers. I’m working with people who don’t tell you when they are having problems, when they don’t know how to do what they need to, or that they won’t be making their deadlines. Instead, they say everything will be fine or they just refuse to do the work requested. Then they miss their deadlines by a week and turn over crap. And when they got called on the carpet for doing all of that, these horrible coworkers blamed me. By name. They went to my boss and said it was my fault.

My boss knows better. As do the other non-horrible coworkers who are this team. No one whose opinion I care about for one second believed that I was to blame for this. I had to suffer some cheap shots and play nice when I didn't want to, but no one thought I was to blame. Everyone knows who was responsible for the poor work and blown timeline. What is hard for me to deal with right now is that the responsible parties have not suffered any consequences for their actions.

Rather, I and my fellow non-horrible coworkers are working four times as hard as we were before and bending over backwards and playing nice to make the horrible people’s jobs as easy as possible so, just maybe, they’ll actually do them. Everyday I have to take phone calls from people who are incompetent and listen to them whine about doing the most basic functions of their jobs as they lob passive aggressive comments at me. They have still not made a deadline. They are still sending crap. They are still telling anyone who will listen how unreasonable I and my fellow non-horrible coworkers are being. They’ve taken to complaining about work they haven’t received yet. Preemptive blaming I suppose.

The managers that be are letting it happen. They are letting their good workers take up the slack and suffer for the horrible one’s incompetence. They are watching their deadlines and quality slide and saying, “It’ll be fine.” They are letting band-aid fixes work and not caring that the overall project process is hemorrhaging. They are relying upon me to get this sorted out.

Yes, this Godzilla project will end. Eventually, Mothra will go back to the Island of Monsters too. The horrible coworkers won’t go away though. They’re on a team that I will have to work with again. They are unlikely to change their opinion of me. They are unlikely to change their work ethic or improve their skill set. I can expect to see Son of Godzilla project in my future.

Or I can quit my job.

February 18, 2011

I Want a New Drug

I’ve been thinking about changing the nature of this blog, or even doing away with this blog entirely and creating a new one. I’ve found that most blogs I like and return to have one central topic or idea that the author completely, sometimes obsessively, focuses on. It gives a cohesion to the blog that I feel is lacking in mine.

A vague, it’s about me, doesn’t seem like a really good blog hook. A friend of mine sent me a link to a blog about candy. That’s it. The bloggers go and find candy, eat the candy, and then write about it. It was a great blog! It was fun, it was fully developed, it kept my attention for several minutes when I should have otherwise been more productively engaged.

I want a blog like that. I want to have lots of witty articles about nothing in particular that amuse people for short bursts at a time. Now, I know what you’re saying, I already have a blog like that (because you all love me and my posts about being unmotivated). You (I’m totally convinced) are thoroughly entertained by me and my little inane posts about me. I don’t, however, have a blog that I’m entertained writing.

Oh don’t get me wrong, I spend oodles of time thinking about me and how to improve me. That’s why I thought this would be a great topic for a blog, because I’m all about me. I analyze me and my activities a whole lot, so I should have lots and lots to write about...right? Nope. No. Not really.

I like some of the stuff I’ve written, and I think the song lyrics for entry titles is brilliant of me, but I’m not as often inspired to write about me as I thought I would. I’m still thinking about me and actively trying to improve as a human being, but I’m not sure I want to write it all down and share it with you. Some of that stuff is too personal. Some of that stuff is still too fresh to know where I’m going with it. Some of that stuff is—oh, let’s face it—some of that stuff is just plain boring to anyone who isn’t me. So, consequently, my “I’m going to write one entry a week” blog hasn’t had any entries lately. I’ve just been too worn out from living my life to be enthralled about writing about it.

I need a hook. I need a blog about one thing and one thing only. Something gimmicky and with words that are easy to make puns out of. Something that I can take pictures of because I like blogs with pictures. Something I can be obsessive about because it enthralls me and I love sharing any and all info I have about it with you, my gentle readers.

If only I knew what that was.

January 19, 2011

You’re An Amateur

Fake it until you make it.

That’s one of those self-help type of mantras that gets espoused a lot. I like the philosophy behind it. No one starts out perfect, you have to keep practicing. If you give up because you haven’t automatically started at perfect, you never arrive at perfect. The point is to keep on trying until you get there.

I’ve been saying this to myself a lot lately. I feel a little like I’m just going through the motions this week. At work, I’m not entirely sure I know what I’m doing, but everyone else seems to think that I know what I’m doing. My motivation for healthy living has waned somewhat, but I’m still practicing the rituals. My great ideas for the next American novel don’t actually involve any plots, so tonight I’m writing a blog entry.

Let’s face it, I’m faking it a bit right now. I’m not perfect. I’m trying. I’m in the process of getting better. That’s okay. If I fake it long enough, I’ll make it.

December 29, 2010

I’m the Sun

So it’s almost New Year’s Day, and this is a blog about the journey of self-improvement...I guess I should just do the resolution entry and get it over with.

If you can’t tell, New Year’s resolutions aren’t really my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love clear delineations: start points, dead lines, designated boxes, clearly marked folders, closed closet doors...they’re great! We should have cut-off points in our calendar where we call it quits for this year and move along to the next. It keeps things so nicely organized. I know exactly how to file my paperwork thanks to the time system. I take satisfaction in knowing that, if nothing else, my calendars are up to date.

I even don’t feel it’s silly to load certain emotional markers on particular days of the year. If we tried to live one emotional set of parameters all year long we’d...well, we’d fail miserably. Any old day I can be grouchy, make rude jokes about the government, and be morose. However, once a year it’s good to be reminded to tell everybody we love them, to be proud that we’re Americans, to laugh at death and wear ridiculous clothing, and yes, once a year to take a serious inventory of what we could improve about ourselves.

No, the concept of New Year’s resolutions really isn’t offensive to me. It’s just...I’m a naturally independent and stubborn person. Naturally independent and stubborn people generally don’t like the implication that we need to change. We prefer to offer advice rather than take it gracefully. Seeing a lot of news articles about how I should manage my money, manage my weight, manage my time, manage my stress, and manage whatever it is they assume I’m handling poorly as of 2010, makes me want to dig in my heels and say something like, “Manage yourself, buddy,” and metaphorically shake my fist.

I truly believe that, when it comes to change, the only impetus that one can actually rely on is oneself. The best advice in the world doesn’t mean anything until you are ready to listen. And listening to advice is useless until you actually act. I know how to manage my money, weight, time, and all that other stuff. Knowing how to do it isn’t the problem. The doing is crux of the matter. So, it is difficult to jump into the resolution spirit when I’m convinced that it’s me or nothing.

I concede, however, that being naturally independent and stubborn doesn’t mean I couldn’t use a little help. So, this year, perhaps I should to try and be open-minded to the advice givers of the world. Yes, in the end it does come down to me and my decision to act, but a little outside motivation, a few helpful hints, an article or two about keeping resolutions can’t hurt me. No reason to be stubborn for stubborn’s sake. No reason to take common sense advice as a personal attack on my skills at running my life.

This year, I resolve to be a little less resolute on my prior stand on resolutions.

December 10, 2010


December 10 – Wisdom

What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

I don’t know if it was my wisest, but it sure was a good one: I moved. I never got 100% comfortable in my last apartment. I had to move out of an apartment I loved into one that was “perfectly fine” due to monetary concerns, and I’m sure that colored my judgment somewhat. My last apartment wasn’t awful, but it was smaller. And darker. And the upstairs neighbors noisier. And the front office lost my packages. And...well, let’s face it, my last place just wasn’t “home, sweet home.”

I moved into a duplex this year. I’m not going to say it’s perfect (because I can think of two problems right off hand), but it is definitely an improvement. It’s big, it’s airy, and it’s just all around homey. It feels like my house and not just the place I’m temporary living to save money. It’s important for a home to be a home and not just a container of your stuff. My place is my little oasis from the rest of the world, and I’m glad to have it.

December 7, 2010

I love your friends, they’re all so arty.

December 7 – Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

Erg...this is a stupid prompt...I discovered the TV show “Community” is pretty funny. Their Halloween episodes are high-lair-ree-us. The last one was a take-off on zombie movies...but I don’t think that’s what this prompt is about...

Oh I’ve got one! I discovered Etsy.com this past year. If you don’t know of Etsy, imagine if eBay had been created by artists. It’s an online community where makers-of-stuff can sell said stuff to the buyers-of-stuff. The stuff ranges from simple crafts to fancy art, and it’s all on a user-friendly forum. Two Christmas gifts have already been purchased. Etsy also features blogs and what-not for those who sell. I find it all so fascinating that I daydream of crossing over from a buyer to a seller. If I could just come up with that brilliant idea...