Job Stress is at an All-Time High

That’s the note my chiropractor added to my file at today’s appointment.  In addition, he was very supportive and encouraging, telling me I had to identify those things that are out of my control and LET. THEM. GO.  Yeah, tell me something I don’t know Doc.

Not to be bitchy (Dr. G is awesome and I’d never really snark at him) but that knowledge has been engraved on my brain for a long time.  It’s acting on the knowledge that’s hard to get a handle on, even when my health has deteriorated as a result of the new deal at work.  I used to walk at least twice a week during my lunch hour.  Now I’m lucky if I get ten minutes to go get my lunch.  Granted, I’m supposed to take at least half an hour but sometimes you just can’t stop what you’re doing damn it.  Plus I’m not eating the healthiest, and while I am not abusing alcohol, it sure looks mighty attractive these days, which in itself is worrying.  Instead of the rhetorical question – “is it Friday yet?” I’ve started asking “is it happy hour yet?”

During the checkup I explained that ironically there are “All Staff” meetings next week.  Because we’re a GLOBAL monstrosity of a firm we have offices all over the world in all different time zones so they scheduled two meetings over two days to be sure everyone could participate.  I’m in a west coast office so that puts our meeting time at 4 PM, when I’m tying up loose ends and getting ready to leave for the day (on a good day that is; lately I haven’t gotten out of the office till after 5).  I don’t plan to stick around for more of the same old same old from the Poobahs.

Amusingly, the BigWig who sent the email announcing the meetings pointed out that they want everyone’s questions and they even set up a confidential link to submit those questions anonymously.  Phft!  I told Dr. G I was tempted to test the anonymity of that link by sending the following:

“This question is directed to the genius who came up with the Shared Services idea:  What the fuck?!”

Then I gasped and covered my mouth in shock.  I can be foul-mouthed at times, but I’ve never used that kind of language around any of my health care providers and I was completely stunned it had popped out this morning.  But Dr. G just laughed and I found myself laughing too.  He did recommend that if I submit the question I change it to “WTF?!” to be on the safe side.

So work sucks and doesn’t show signs of improving any time soon.  When another secretary on the team texted me last night that she was thinking of “looking” – as in for another job(!) – I felt my heart drop even further.  Oh sure, it isn’t as if I haven’t thought about it.  But I’m going to be 59 this year.  Who’s going to hire someone who might retire within the decade?  Even with 30 years experience I’m not that marketable.

Life however, goes on.

Out with the old…

This post is in response to the weekly challenge Creation and Destruction and builds on my last post about how a lot of folks might be resolving to do some stuff because it’s a new year.  I pointed out that while I’m not the resolution type, I do want to make one change in 2015.  My goal is to move more.  So what exactly does that mean and how will I know if I succeed?

Clearly a snapshot of the old me is in order.  No, not an actual photograph, I’m anonymous remember?  Not to mention camera shy.  But in order to evaluate progress you need to know where you started, correct?  Well I’m starting from a sloth-like state.

On a typical work day I’d curse the alarm clock at 4:30, which I had to move across the room so I wouldn’t hit Snooze over and over.  Once the morning routine was complete I’d drive the 2.5 miles to the train station where I’d stand in line for between 10 and 15 minutes until the train arrived.  I opt for a car near the elevator so when we arrive in Seattle I can take it up to street level rather than drag myself up the stairs among all the other lemmings.  With my bad knees I’m slow and I hate holding others up; that and I’m just plain lazy.

I then grab one of the many buses which run up Fourth Avenue and arrive at the office early enough to enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee and breakfast from our café.  I’m usually working during that ritual but it’s more casual than focused unless there’s an urgent “to do” waiting in my inbox.  Sloth-like me sits probably 80% of the day.  Enough that when I do have to get up, everything complains:  hips, knees, ankles, feet, neck and shoulders.

After work, I used to grab a bus back to the train station where I’d stand waiting for the train, or if it was already in the station, find a seat.  Once at home, we either grab a bite out or throw together something and eat while catching up on whichever show we’re following.  Either way, more sitting.

Weekends aren’t any better sadly.  Even when we go visit JD’s mother and sister we’re sitting in the truck for almost an hour.  When we arrive at their house we’re sitting again.  Mom is in her mid-80s and she doesn’t get around well any more so “visits” are in her tiny living room usually.  And of course we have to eat!  Then there’s the almost hour drive back, once more planted on our asses.  Often the most exercise I get on the weekends is doing laundry and walking out to get the mail we’ve neglected all week.

There you have it – the old me.

So, what does the new me look like?  The new me will be different, but may not look different at first glance.  This change is not about appearance.

One of the things which I want to change is my attitude.  I hope the new me will, if not bounce out of bed, at least no longer curse the alarm clock.  I’d like to wake up happy to face a new day more often than not.

The new me will also be more active – habitually more active because she wants to be, not because she has to be.  I’ve already taken steps in that direction, literally.  Several weeks ago I started walking down to the train station after work rather than hopping on a bus.  I’ve only missed walking once when I had to stay late and needed to get there quickly.

Today was my first foray into water aerobics at the Y.  I’ve wanted to try this class since I joined the Y but it falls during the work day, not before or after.  For awhile I tried to swim on my own before work but I’m not very disciplined.  Strike that, the old me was not very disciplined.  I couldn’t make that into a habit.  To be fair, I had to leave for work two trains earlier than my regular departure to be able to swim and get to the office on time.  That quickly got old.

I believe the water aerobics will be more successful because I’ve added some accountability to the mix.  Since it’s held during my work day I have to work a little flex time in the morning and I’m already here early enough to do that.  In addition, I use my lunch hour to cover the rest of the time.  So I bet you’re wondering how that makes me accountable.  Well, I had to advise my attorneys and the backup secretaries in my department of my new schedule and explained what I’m doing.  I certainly don’t want them to see me as a quitter, so I’m counting on that to help keep me going.  My current goal is to participate in at least one of the two classes each week.  I’d like to build up to being able to do both eventually but I’m not making promises my body can’t keep right now.

Besides flailing and jumping about in the water, I’m walking for thirty minutes (give or take) with a group of secretaries on the days I’m not in the pool.  They’ve been walking together for some time and I just joined in recently.  We all take the elevator to the lowest level of the building’s garage.  Starting there we wind our way up the ramp to the top garage level, turn around and retrace our steps.  Most of them do it twice at least but I’m only able to do one time up and down so far.  I’m sure that’s going to change the better I feel.

Does this meet the challenge’s criteria?  Who knows, but it was what came to mind after reading the prompt.  I’m working toward the destruction of the old me:  lazy, crabby, feeling poorly – and hoping to create a new me:  active, happier, healthier.

Now for those of you who follow me, don’t be worried.  There will be no posts about how everyone should do what I’m doing because it’s wicked cool and it will make you feel so much better!  Far be it from me to tell anyone what they should do; we’re all grown-ups right?  Do what you want.  That’s what I’m doing.

And to be crystal clear, I might lose the laziness (well, some of it anyway) but I promise I will hold onto the sarcasm and my slightly twisted sense of humor.  Have you heard the one about why God is definitely not a woman? Hmm?  Anyone?