Friday, September 12, 2014

What I have learned

My job does not define who I am. I can detach emotionally from this cubicle hell I am in. I can do my job to exceed my own satisfaction and take pride I how I do it. I do not need to look to my "food chain" for affirmation of what I do for my company. I look to my coworkers gratitude. I look to my callers heart felt appreciation of the help I provide. I look to that feeling I get figuring out an issue and resolving problems. I can look in my heart and my intentions and know that I gave fully of myself and my abilities. I earned my paycheck honestly.

You are not my family. Despite what you say at rewards banquets and mandatory staff meetings, you are not my family. Your words have rung hollow and cheap for too long. Too many of us have been hurt and no longer believe you. I do not have to drink the koolAid to be proud of what I do. In fact, by looking at you for what you really are, by recognizing your duplicity, I realize how strong I am. You did not and will not break me.

I am an Artist. With a capital A.  I create beautiful things.

I have a tribe.

I belong.

I am.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Forever and a day

Wow. It has been forever and a day since I've updated anything in here. I have been well. Continuing to learn and grow, continuing to be spoiled by my wonderful husband. Some of the situations at work have been "dismissed." Others remain. Choices I have made leave me stuck working there. Mortgage,  co-signed student loans, living in the middle of nowhere. I am unable to find a job in the area that pays within $8.00 an hour of this one. To quit, we have to move. There is no hope of a lateral move at work. The breakdown has left me as damaged goods. To hire me would be to take a risk, and this is not a safe place to risk anything.

To survive at work I have had to fundamentally change who I am. Maybe that is too harsh, maybe not. I am an extrovert. I enjoy seeing and interacting with people. Making it through a day in a gray cubicle is like slow death. I have to reward myself with little breaks from the monotony. Look through photo galleries, little mini knitting sessions, Facebook. Little reminders that this will pass and this is not my world, it is just a means to an end. However I am finding myself retreating into myself more and more. Becoming an introvert.

I invest emotionally in all that I do. I just can't do this with work. It is an unsafe place for people who care. I won't lie, this is the primary reason I am still on medication. To watch people I care about be treated as idiots, to watch their hard work get minimized and devalued. It's rough. I joke about starting a pool to see who leaves next. I've never seen such a demoralized and depressed group of people in my life. For years I was the cheerleader, but I am all used up. All I do now is say I'm sorry and recommend drugs that end in pam. I've had to learn how to care less. Detach. The difficult part of this is compartmentalizing the detachment.

I have learned much about myself this year. I am continuing to learn.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Checking in

I've received several emails wondering what was up so I thought I should pop in and say a few words.

We found a new soap, Honey from Pure Life Soap Company. Fabulous lather, very moisturizing. Ken likes what it does for his dry skin, but it has no scent for flower boy. So now we use the Honey bar, then he washes his chest and face with something scented. Now I can still bury my face in his chest before I kiss him good bye in the morning.

At work there is absolutely no change. After the big talk with HR and the new manager I was actually quite hopeful, but it seems it's still all words. I'm still in the cubicle. The write-up is still in my file. I still have not been given any details as to exactly what I need to correct. I still knit at my desk.

The only thing different is I'm finally getting to the point that I just don't give a shit about it anymore. At this point I probably could be labeled as having a bad attitude. I just don't freaking care. I don't do bored out of my mind very well so I don't anticipate working there much past the end of the year. We do have a tuition reimbursement program, I might stick around and take advantage of that. Get some certifications, make myself look better on paper.

A co-worker got a promotion. It's really kinda funny. I got to sit in on the interviews when we hired these two guys and I flat out told them that this was a dead end job. There was no promotion track. If they were planning on coming in and showing the company how smart they were and then be promoted, go elsewhere. Well, jokes on me. One got moved to the SAP team a year ago, and last week the second one was moved to SAP support. Quite a salary bump, which the guy really really needed and I am so stoked for him. Don't take it personal Tamara, it's just really rotten timing. LOL, right. Actions speaking louder than your words again. Yes, I am bitter. No he didn't knit at his desk. He read and fail mail all day. One day he stood up and said "I have nothing to do, EVER." BUT he is wicked smart and can do the B.A. job with his eyes closed and like I said, he really needs the bucks and I am happy he will FINALLY have something to do. Sometime. Maybe. But he at least gets to do nothing for a lot more money now.

I have completely removed all the pictures from my cubicle except one. It's the one of Ken and I kissing at Texas Motor Speedway. I put a sticky note on it that says "This is what is important."  I have several sticky notes up. They say MORTGAGE, It's a paycheck, This job does not define who I am or my value, NOT YET, It makes sense if you don't think about it too hard. That last one is what a guy in another department says all the time. But it will be way easier now to just grab my one picture and leave when it gets to be too much.

Lillian's baby blanket is just about done. I've been playing around trying to knit flowers to attach to the blanket. I'm really proud of this piece. It's cheerful and soft. She kept coming up and trying to take it off my lap while I'm knitting in the evening. I finally had to stop knitting on it when she is here.

My current project is to sew Ken a jacket for night time at Burning Man. He found a cream/pink/gold paisley and flower print that he really liked. I made sparkly gold pants to go with it. I might make the lace dickey and the top hat to go with it. We will have to see about time constraints.

We took down the furniture from the Monkey Hut and found EIGHT female black widow spiders in the yellow bench. Several males too. Needless to say we have sprayed and wrapped everything to put into the shed until it's time to pack up and go. It's getting close! We got the notice from the post office that they tried to deliver the tickets today. I get to pick them up tomorrow! WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!

I know this isn't my usual style of post. I have a five mile long to do list and am typing this out quick just to get certain people off my back. That was a joke. Sorta.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I sense a disturbance in the force

Strange happenings at work. Someone in management actually listened to me. Even stranger, he seemed to care. As did someone in HR.

I get to go to Burning Man. I get to take two weeks off, one week to drive up with Ken and help set up this camp we've been working on since we got home last year and one week for Burning Man. I was given the third week off too, but I offered to fly home on Labor Day and be there for go-live on Tuesday. He said I was generous to offer that. Get that? He said I was generous. Someone in my chain of command said something nice about me.

This particular shirt was once a supervisor of mine. Back in the giddy days. He would give us our marching orders and pretty much leave us alone to decide how to march and whether or not we took hostages. Anyway, now he's my "Acting Manager." So, since he'd been out of my loop for several years he let me fill him in on how its been going. We had an HR witness in the room. Thankfully she is the one that has been so helpful to me through all this crazy business.

So, I filled him in. At times I couldn't keep my eyes open. I just couldn't talk about these hurtful things and look at him. HR would remind me to breathe every now and then. Sometimes all I could do was whisper, but I got through it. Then he started gently asking questions. He is a soft spoken kind hearted man and I trusted him with my hurts.

HR told me that she is dedicated to helping me get into a job that is rewarding and challenging for me. My manager told me that he knows who I am. He knows what I am capable of. He knows what I can do. He told me that he is dedicated to helping me become me again. That he saw sparks of me in there, but he really wanted me to come back fully. And he hoped I would stay at the company because I am important.

And that is how we left it.

I came home completely drained. I would have thought I'd be exhilirated, but all I wanted to do was curl up on Ken's lap and sleep.

I lay in bed this morning while Ken made coffee. He's taken to being nude man in the morning. There is no danger of Sarah or Lillian being up THAT early. I listened to the sound of his feet, his curses as he stubbed his toe on that damn stool that has been in that same location stubbing his toe for four years now.

We made lunch, pattering around the island, getting this or that. Peaches or berries or both? One banana or two? We have peppered turkey or salsa turkey. No, only 12 grain bread. Hey, throw a couple of those EmergenC's in there would you?

Our shower was devine. We are nearing the end of this bar of soap. Next in line is a bar of Honey soap from Pure Life Soap.

I headed off to work for the first time without knots in my stomach.

I am healing.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Trudge, drudge, or skip and dance?

Snappy title no?

I've not had much to report. Life continues and I'm adjusting. Work remains one long trudge fest. I do so much better when I'm working a deadline or a crisis. These long days of nothingness are just not good for my brain. I start rehashing things. If I had said this, or if that person had stepped forward with truth, or if this person would listen. What if I went to that person? Would it make a difference?

I was going over all that with Ken when I got home and he bluntly said, Tamara, it's too late for anything there. It's just how long you can take it so we can get things paid down and you can quit. I will step in and quit for you if I see you sliding down that path again. It's not worth it. I'd rather have you than money.

He's right. Even if they remove the write up and I get any amount of my leave back, I'm still that crazy lady that fetal positioned at work. No manager there will touch me, even if I could apply for another position.

I'm concerned about my brain. I was knitting a simple little baby blanket. It has some pattern to it. Knit one side, then side two knit 8 (purl 8 knit 4)x8 then knit 8.  Do that for 12 rows then knit 8 rows. Repeat 17 times or so. For those that understand knitting patterns not hard right? For those that don't, trust me, it's not all that complicated. The first three sets I knit at home are spot on perfect. Then I took it to work and it's like my brain just turned off. I can't count to eight. On some rows it's completely backwards, I knit 8 and purled 4. Ok, I'm a newbie knitter and should cut myself some slack, except that even though I was looking at the work, I thought I was on track. It wasn't until I got home, ate supper and picked it up again did I see how off it was. All the knitting I did at work was a complete mess. All the knitting I'd done at home was perfect. So even with all this self awareness and even with medicinal assistance my brain gets a bit freaked out at work. Anyway, that shook me up. I put down that blanket and haven't picked it up again. I'm going to have to rip out three sections and right now it's a good reminder for me to not get too cocky and keep going with my recovery. Some complacency was creeping in.

Eat good food. Play every day. Create something. Meditate. Seek out those people in my life who are positive. Love with all my strength. Open myself to being loved back. Be kind.

When my mind starts spiraling on the what if's I need to pull it to what is real. Showers with Ken. Reading books with Lillian. Nude gardening (sorry kids, I'll pay for your first three therapy sessions. On second thought, screw it. Get over yourselves). Ok, I'm new to nude gardening. And I'm not completely nude. We'll call it nude-ish. Eating local peaches. Ken in his little white shorts.

It's my call. Trudge through the drudgery. Or live my life as happily as I want. One day, the happy part will come easy again. Like it was before I lost myself. I see glimmers of me coming back and have so much hope.

I do have a request. Send me some stories of things that inspire you. Ways that you fight your stress demons. What kindles the fire in your soul? I'd love to hear about you.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lillian's Guest Blog

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Speaking to my heart

You're truly good and humanity is better just because you walk among us.

I have to say that is the best compliment (besides Ken's proposal) I have ever received. It was just a part of a note I received from a friend. The note was so sweet and thoughtful. But that sentence made me catch my breath. I received it on just the right day. One of those days when you are dealing with these people and you start to doubt yourself. I always considered myself a nice loving person. I don't have any hidden or secret agendas. What you see is what you get. If I am mad at you, you know it. If someone needs help, I do my best to help or find someone better suited for the need. I don't judge others on appearances or beliefs. I try to give people many many chances to do better. 

All the negativity at work about my attitude, the finger pointing and accusations about mistreating my co-workers somehow. I had started to question everything I did and said. I became afraid to talk to anyone. I didn't know who I was supposedly offending or how. I still don't.  So I didn't know who I could confide in or rely on. Having consequences for behaviors that sound so unlike me is just devastating. 

And then the compliment arrived in my inbox. 

I have a choice on who I let speak to my heart. 

Those people have power to do what they want with my job. They have power over where I have to sit and how I spend my time for 10 hours Monday through Thursday. But they do not have power over me, or my self esteem, or my values, or my beliefs. 

I AM a beautiful perfect child of my God. My goal in life is to do good and make the lives of the people around me better.

Thank you Brian. You are a gift.