Saturday, 26 May 2007

The Disappointment

I don’t know why but I feel I need to write a bit about The Disappointment I refer to above. I think it is because until I do this, I can’t draw a line under it. At the moment it just always seems to be there, somewhere in my mind – and I feel it now gets in the way of PLAN A.

So here goes. I’ve worked with the same organisation for many years now and I’ve steadily worked my way up the ladder to a reasonably senior position. Around 4 years ago a further promotion opportunity came up. I went for it, encouraged by my managers, but didn’t get it. I was disappointed but it wasn’t the end of the world. I knew it would be a while before another chance came along but decided that I would take that time to position myself as best I could for when the next one came. I took on some very big challenges and delivered on them. I took on additional tasks and delivered on them. I took on corporate roles and delivered. I got great appraisal reports.

Then earlier this year, it happened. A couple of positions opened up and were offered for promotions. My managers were so convinced I would be promoted that they started to look at who they might get for my job. I remained cautious because I knew there would be stiff competition – but I knew I was ready for it. Everything I had done over the past 4 years was about proving I could deliver at that level and creating a bank of experience I could draw from.

It went wrong at the very start of the interview with a psychologist who was doing the psychometric testing. She arrived late and unwell. She did not add on the time lost due to her lateness. Throughout the interview she made wild assumptions about me and gave me little or no opportunity to explain. I didn’t get the promotion. My managers were shocked. Representations were made but the psychologist would not admit she turned up late. That was it.

In some ways it feels like it should be no big deal. I’m lucky really because I have a fairly good life. Putting The Disappointment in perspective with problems other people have or with some of the dreadful stuff that happens around our world, this is nothing. But it rocked me. My career seemed to come to a dead-end. I felt lost and didn’t know what to do next. Through the gloom of The Disappointment came a glimmer of something else. I don’t exactly know what the something else is yet. It could be one or more things. What it’s not, is about investing so much of me into an organisation which at the end of day said “oh well, never mind – something else will be along sometime”. I’m still working through what next and developing my PLAN A.

That’s it – the line is now drawn!

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

You talkin' to me?

Communication is one of the things that helps the world go round. But I’m certain it’s also one of the things that can get in the way of the inhabitants of the world getting it together.

Example 1: I can’t get internet access. Help what do I do? How do I find information without the internet? I remember the telephone directory – get a number and call …. If your call is about X press 1 ….. if your call is about Y press 2 ….. if you call is about Z press 3. Thank you. If your call is about A press 1 …. on and on …. if you are absolutely clueless press 99 and we’ll know we have a hopeless case. I press 99. Eventually I get a human. I soon realise that said human is sitting in a call centre in an entirely different continent. Based on previous experience I think – here we go! I offer apologies now. The English spoken by the person I dealt with then and the other 8 or so people I spoke with in the call centre over the following 5 days was actually very good. It was the technical bit that got me! A series of questions followed around master sockets, routers, DSL cables, microfilters and who knows what else. I responded with “there’s a white cable that’s plugged into the thingy that goes into a wee white box that goes into the other thing in the wall”. But is it the master socket they asked? “It’s the thing in the wall” I said. By day 5 I was saying, I’ve tried a different DLS cable, another router, a different microfilter but it’s still not working. I should say that every conversation with the call centre, which lasted a minimum of 30 minutes and often much more because I had to go over everything again, was punctuated every few minutes with them apologising for the loss of service. When eventually, I got it back I was falling over myself to thank them for the service they had provided and the help they had given me. Anyway, the thingy is plugged into the what’sit and the doodly thing is flashing – so I’m cooking with gas!

Example 2: The Disappointment as mentioned at the top of my blog page is at the forefront of everything at the moment. My big boss (the one above my immediate boss) is concerned I’m going to leave the organisation. She invited me for a discussion. “I know you are ……..” she says. “Disappointed?” I fill in. “There will be other ……….”. “Opportunities?” I ask? “Yes. But there are no …………”. “Guarantees? Well I understand that.” I decide not to complete her sentences after this point. It seems they think highly of …. They would be sorry to lose …. They would like me to …. And will do what they can to find something to keep …. There are ….. coming up and I would be …… for them ….. if only I can wait for …….. I came away wondering what nudge, nudge, wink, wink actually means.

Example 3: My boss (who doesn’t deserve the title!) wants me to stay in the job I’m doing. He says to me, “I promise to give you more freedom. These are exciting times. This next big job is yours to stamp your initials on.” I think “why my initials and not my name?”

You talkin’ to me?

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Zen and the Art of Cleaning

Phew! I've just spent two days decluttering my kitchen and scrubbing it from top to bottom and corner to corner. What a way to spend a Sunday and a holiday Monday! However, I am so glad I tackled it. It's been bugging me for some time now. The cupboards were full to bursting, everything was muddled-up and the counter-tops had become just further storage space. I'd been planning the big clean for several weeks now.
Why did I let things get so bad though. Time is a big factor - just not enough of it. So while I knew I needed to do something about it, there was just never the time to do it. Hoarding is another big factor. I just seem to have trouble throwing things away - I'm not going to go into lists of stuff I had and have now thrown out but one example would be receipts and instruction booklets for appliances that have long since gone to the big scrapyard in the sky. I'm also prone to taking other people's 'rubbish'. I think when family and friends don't really want to part with something but feel they have to, they bring it to me because they know I'll hold on to it, so that makes it easier for them. The other factor has to be organisation - or lack of it. Nothing was organised or in it's right place. At one time there was a place for everything - but recently everything been fighting to have any piece of space at all.
But no more! A place for everything and everything in it's place - my new mantra! Everything shining and sparkly clean. And, I have counter-tops again! I decided to rid myself of just about everything that doesn't get used and a few tins of things that had got to the back of the cupboard and were past their use by dates. I cleaned the ceiling, the tops of the cupboards, inside them and the fronts - there is not a part of that kitchen that has not been cleaned. I've done so much that I actually feel like I've had an intensive workout. My muscles ache like I don't know what!
But what's all this got to do with PLAN A. Well I worked out recently that if things are in chaos around me and I'm under stress with work then the chaos seems to intensify. My home has to be my sanctuary and it can't be that if every time I open a cupboard something falls out. So part of my plan is about bringing order to my life where I can.
I keep going into the kitchen now and looking round and feeling great satisfaction. One room down - several more to go!

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Triple Gym Workout

“Church is the gym for the Soul”. That’s what the poster outside the church said when I drove past last weekend. It got me to thinking. First I thought - clever. Then I thought - sad – even churches are reduced to sound-bites. Then, can you give your soul a workout?

It got me thinking about gyms. It’s been a while since I’ve been near one. I still have my membership, it’s just it seems that I keep coming up with other things to do – I mean there’s never anything on TV - apart from when if there had been nothing on then I might just have gone to the gym! But there can be no doubt that having stopped my fitness sessions, I’m suffering in various ways – stiffening-up, putting on more weight, and losing contact with my gym pals.

Thoughts then drifted to ‘mind gyms’. It seems now that in order to keep our brains healthy and active there are mind gym workouts we can do. Personally my mind never stops – but usually I’m thinking about work. I fall asleep thinking about it and I wake up thinking about it. Not healthy! This week I’ve had a bit of a distraction because I’ve been focussed, at times, on this blog. I often try and meditate – and try the ‘if a thought comes into your mind just let it come and go’ approach. Problem for me is that there is a big line of thoughts – one comes and goes, then the next, and the next and so on and so on. Sometimes my mind is so full, it’s like everything is competing for first place. More than once I’ve said something which has been a combination of several non-related thoughts! This needs to stop.

So, back to where I started. Can I give my soul a workout? Well it’s a while since I’ve been to church – so I’ve certainly not been doing it there. When I was younger I went to church then at some point I just seemed to stop – not sure why. I think though that I’m quite a spiritual person, although I’m not quite sure how I would define what I mean. But I’m interested in different religions and I now have a ‘fusion’ of beliefs. Basically, it comes down to compassion, understanding, and equality. But I think this is an area I need to examine more.

In terms of PLAN A, this means I need to build in Mind, Body and Spirit workouts.