Wednesday, 29 June 2005

Who came up with the working week anyway, that's what I want to know. I have realised that I don't actually believe in work. The idea of going to the same job everyday so I bring home a pay check so I can buy things at the weekend and then go back to work on Monday seems rather depressing. I freely admit that I am a very people person and rather idealistic so the reality of the need for money is not as immediate for me. That is not to say that I don't worry about paying the bills but my paycheck does not motivate me to do my job. I feel like the financial system we are working in traps us. How can we do what we are passionate about, spend time with family and friends, be servants to our Churches and communties when the working world seems to have such a rigid view of what work is? Job sharing, glide time and contracting can offer some flexibility but not everyone has those options. I think there needs to be greater recognition of the rythms of life and a holistic approach to employment. I know that it sounds like pie in the sky, especially for those who are self employed but we have choices and the economy is a human system, even though it often seems to work against us. Paid parental leave is an example of what is possible when people demand that their real lives are recognised and supported.

For me, I dream of being able to work hard in what I am passionate about but still feel like I can participate in non-paid work which is important to me. Now I need to have the courage to risk moving outside a mainstream way of doing work.

Tuesday, 28 June 2005

Expectations are tricky things, expecially when they are of yourself. I tend to have really high expectations of myself. Not necessarily in the the things that matter. I tend to expect to be able to fit everything in, to be totally organised and to have everything under control. As is probably obvious these expectations of myself are completely ridiculous. There is no way I can fulfil them. And you know what the strange thing is, if I had to sum up what I really think is important in life, being organised just wouldn't be very high up the list. But actions do often speak louder than philosophy.

What I find scary is the possiblity of changing the ecpectations I have of myself. I feel that if I expect "less" in the way of quantity of work, organisation and how people see me I will be lowering my standards and being lazy, or even worse, that people may think less of me. And I think that's what it really comes down to. Caring what people think instead of what I know is important in life. I know that the only way to combat this form of self oppression is to look to God's opinion instead of people. The trouble with that is that I have no idea what God thinks of me. I know it in the general sense, I know I am loved and that God desires me to grow to be more like Christ through the Holy Spirit. But I don't know how Jesus would say "No" in a work situation or cope with the stress of deadlines, multi-tasking, family and being "healthy".

So I guess I come back to the fact that maybe I need to recognise I am only human and I stuff up a lot and maybe humility is really the answer to it all. Let me know if you have worked out how to be humble but also maintain good self-esteem which is not based on what you DO but who you ARE. I think I have been working on that for most of my conscious life and it still has me completely stumped!

Mmmmmm no answers here...

Monday, 27 June 2005

Hope you like the new look. I just looked at my last few posts and the titles are a little frightening. So many say that I feel stressed and too busy to post and that I feel guilty for not posting. That is so silly. I choose to blog and I want to get my thoughts out there. Not because they are that profound but that I like the idea of shared insight into life. So much of Western daily life is so individual and it is wonderful when you realise that everything about the human experience is shared. Shared pain is so much better than pain alone. Sharing pain may not fix it but it helps lift the weight a little. I have had a few experiences recently which have really showed me this.

On Sunday a friend knocked at the door with a care package of goodies because some of the women at Church knew I was stressed and understood how hard that is. I am really holding onto that at the moment and it was absolutely fantastic to remember I am not the only person who struggles with work stress.

Tonight I was at a meeting with other teachers and just by chance we all started sharing about how many times we have cried at work and in front of classes in the last little while. Heaps of us had and we talked about the fact that we cry and then think "No-one can help me with this. Pull yourself together" and just get on with it again. I guess it is worrying that we could all relate to tears at work but it was comforting to know that I am not going crazy and everyone finds it tough.

Last night I had a phone conversation with a friend and we agreed that we are both having mini-breakdowns, or at least personality/work/who am I crisis. So again, I am not alone.

Tomorrow I still have to go to work and keep it together and keep on top of stuff but at least I do that with a whole lot of others who are barely getting by, just like me. So I don't know how to make things better yet but I hope that together we can work it out.

Saturday, 4 June 2005

I am at work and it is a holiday weekend! Hrumpf!
But I have had an epiphany about work and me and my attitude to it.

It all started earlier in the week when I was reading "I have a dream", the Martin Luther King Jnr speech, to one of my classes and I just broke down in tears. Now I have to admit that that speech often leaves me a tad weepy but this was ridiculous. I was a sobbing wreck and had to get a student to take over. This turned out to be quite funny in hindsight as there were so many words the student couldn't read but since they didn't want to disturb my sobbing they had to skip over them which meant much of the meaning of the speech was lost. At the time I wasn't really seeing the joke though.

It was one of those weepy moments when you doubt your own sanity. I had no idea why I was crying and was not really sure if I could get it together to teach the rest of the lesson. After a quick trip to the bathroom and a stern "pull yourself together" look into the bathroom mirror, I returned to my class and carried on the lesson, telling the class I was "a little overtired". My students were great and just let me get on with it. I realised afterwards that my tears were the result of hitting the wall. Work had been piling up and so had the pressure. I have been saying yes to things which I really don't have time to do. Also my lack of motivation and doubt about whether I really want to be teaching had resulted in cumulative procrastination so that I felt as if I was drowning under it all. It is amazing how your body just says "Enough is enough", and lets you know you need to deal with things.

So I am at school this weekend so that I can get on top of my work because, though I am not sure how much longer I want to do this, I am doing it now and I am going to do it well. No more saying yes to things just because I am unsatisfied with what I am doing now because that just results in awful stress and enotional colapse. I am trying to get back into being motivated just because something needs to get done and not expecting to necessarily have much fun while doing it. I feel that I am being taught another one of those "how to be a grownup lessons" about followining through with something I have committed to and learning how to persevere. Again I am learning not be ruled by how I feel about things. Instead I want to have greater integrity and not to be so fickle.

And I am actually enjoying feeling like I am doing what needs to be done adn I am not in denial any longer about it all. I hope that I can manage the demands of work and the time I need with friends and family and myself. But for now I am redressing an imbalance so it might just be work, work, work for a little while.