Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Before

Quote of the day: “Delay is the deadliest form of denial.” ~ C Northcote Parkinson

Song of the day: Clocks by Coldplay

Date: Jan. 25th, 2009

As it turns out, I am not a Time Lord. Pity that. But none of us are, right? Yet each year we do get our own chance at regeneration in the form of the New Year. It’s the traditional time to take stock of who we are and maybe work on making ourselves into who we want to be. Truth be told I’m a radical in spirit, always yearning for change. However I’ve been in the same place for a long time now. It rankles. And might be why I often find myself standing on precipices of my own creation. So I look forward to the New Year with a sort of unusual relish and the (self illusionary) chance to start things a fresh.

I buy organizers and note books for To Do lists and make “a plan” to be a more perfect version of me. I sit and ponder what my resolutions should be, sometimes by looking back on the previous years and seeing what I did and did not do. Funny thing. “Stop procrastinating” has been on the list for quite a few years in a row now. (This might explain why this post is on the 25th instead of the 1st as I originally intended.) Along with my resolutions, I make a list of goals; things I want to get done before having to buy another calendar. It sounds like a good idea, but having scanned previous years I am getting the sense that the goals I make for myself are just make-work to distract me from the fact that I am stuck. Where I am isn’t really where I imagined I would be when I was imagining it oh so long ago. So what’s a girl to do? More specifically, what’s this girl to do?

Consult a book.

A few months back a friend of mine sent me a book called “Designed for Success” by Dondi Scumaci. When I first got it I gave it a cursory look and was impressed by its straight forward style but wasn’t sure it was for me. However, as the New Year approached I pulled it out and decided to give it a try. It’s not like it could make me more of a procrastinator or even more stuck, could it? On the cover the book proclaims that you will learn how to:

“View your career in a new way.”
“Build a powerful support network.”
“Have more fun at your job.”
“Achieve the success you deserve.”

All sound great, but as I read the introduction and first chapter I discovered a problem. I don’t have a career. I have a job. And a dead end one at that. Although I had already decided to follow the book to its conclusion to see if it could help me I was a bit downtrodden by this obvious divergence. However, I’m going to try it out anyhow. The book lists The 10 Commandments for women in the workplace. That’s 10 chapters. Plus the Call to Action (Chapter One) and Answering the Call (Chapter 12). Twelve chapters, twelve months. Each month I am going to read a chapter and try to implement the advice within on my dead end job and see where it gets me at the end of the year. And you, my lucky readers, get to follow along on my path to where ever it leads.

In order to measure my progress, one needs a base line. The place I am at now. All the diet ads have them, “the before” picture. This will be it. Let’s see, I’m a chronically shy ACOA diagnosed with ADHD (but still un-medicated) paper pusher that is so bored with my job that I create problems just to break up the monotony of the paperwork I do that in seven years just gets tossed anyhow. I think I spend more time playing Free Cell and reading Twitter than I do on my actual job because, really, any idiot could do it. Except that they can’t because there is a process that is exacting that everyone else likes to ignore, leaving it up to me to figure out and fix. So I guess we can add bitter and underappreciated to the list. Oh, and I’m underpaid. But, who isn’t?

I’ve skimmed much of the book but only really read Chapter One, Call to Action. In it she summarizes the stereotypes women face in the work place and how they can impedes our ability to achieve success. Although it is good to be aware of them, she cautions not to fixate on the stereotypes too much and giving them more power then they deserve or using them as an excuse for not succeeding.

Despite all the notes I made in the margin or sentences I highlighted in various colors, the main thing I took from that chapter is this: my job means I’m getting paid to do something for someone else and it’s not actually about me. Seems simple and obvious, right? You would think so, but ego can get in the way and cause all sorts of trouble. Like bitterness and feeling underappreciated. But I’m getting a paycheck, so really, just what is my deal? First order of business: get over myself. I took the job and have known for a while what it entails, so unless I’m willing to ditch it to find another, I need to shut up and just do it. With my lists of strengths and weaknesses in mind, I’ve decided to try and view my job with this new perspective. Isn't that one of the four things the book promises right on the cover? I’d say for this book, so far so good. Fingers crossed.

Hopefully it can do something with this procrastinating problem of mine, too…

Show quote of the day: “So here you are, my lonely angel, stuck on the slow path with me.”


LL said...

Well... you certainly paint a lovely picture of yourself and your job.

I can hardly wait to see you emerge from your chrysalis. ;)

Twichie said...

This is really cool. Love the way you've broken it down and can't wait to see how things progress.

Dondi Scumaci said...

I love your approach. Will be following your progress with great interest. What a marvelous experiment. Dondi Scumaci

samatwitch said...

Good for you! I am the world's worst (best?) procrastinator - it's even in the name of my blog!

I also have a job, not a career, but I enjoy my job in the non-profit sector and the people I work with - plus I have an office in a park with wildlife abounding and a beautiful view of the mountains when it's not cloudy or foggy, so - not so bad. ;)

NYPinTA said...

LL, I am what happens to people that can never answer the question, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" At least I haven't grown up yet. ;)

Twichie, thanks.

Dondi, (I hope I can call you that) also thanks.

Samatwitch, the one way I usually answer people when they ask if I like my job is to say that I like the people I work with. Well, 95% of them... ;) I have a view of some trees and a house. Could be worse.

Red said...

Hmm. You already broke one resolution but good luck with the rest. LL is rooting for you!

fermicat said...

I've decided to take the bull by the horns at work also. Instead of bitching about how I don't get interesting assignments, I just started taking them without asking. So far, so good. I feel a twinge of guilt now and then, but I remind myself of how the rest of the work is divvied up and that usually fixes it. In addition to self service, I also just asked my boss for a project to work on. He was very receptive, so I think things will go well.

Good luck figuring everything out. If you find any answers, let us know here! :-)

Beth said...

I have all these mental problems. What a shocker! Seriously though, I was agoraphobic and I still have social anxiety. I can't just go get a job, I can't even do an interview. I suppose I could, but last time, well, let's just say it didn't go well. I'd love to be able just to GET a job. Do I need to work? No, thankfully, but I'd like to be able to just do it. So, I know kind of how you feel. I know a self-inflicted holding pattern when I see one.

Hey, I just bought Firefly and Serenity last night. Wanted you to know that too. (also told Fermicat)