One Step Beyond! (On Leaving the Rat Race)

tumblr_m5vhxvxKEt1rysi71o10_r1_250

(From Madness – “One Step Beyond” film clip)

I loved Madness when I was younger – especially the song “One Step Beyond” – which seems appropriate now that I’m free from the rut I found myself in, working in a lackluster job where I was slowly dying inside. Stress was the number one factor in my decision to leave, but it helped that our situation allows for it.

Seeing the Madness gif brought back memories, when I was younger and had such high hopes for the future. Ageing can be bittersweet – when you realize that most of your dreams got lost in the static of everyday life and trying to make a living. (For some – simply surviving  and putting one foot ahead of the other can be a daunting experience.)

Family life, responsibilities and trying to fit into a society where you already feel like a fringe-dweller can take most of your time – if not all of it. That’s why it was such a momentous occasion for me to shrug off the shackles of a 9-5 job and immerse myself in my writing and freelance gigs.

So – how did I spend my first week (well – four days) of “freedom”? For one thing, I completed an erotic novel (something I’d shelved) and am waiting for it to be approved on Amazon! (Don’t judge me – at least until you read it!)

TNWCover

(This is my “tentative” cover!)

It’s called “The Ninth Window” – and it’s about nine women with one thing in common. (A secret until the end!) They share their intimate tales with Louise – a counselor who runs a writing workshop they’ve all attended. When it’s discovered that Louise “piked out” and did not contribute a story to the group – she is given two weeks to come up with one – and it’s a doozy! (Especially when her husband finds it!)

It should be available by 1/11/15 – in Kindle format – on Amazon for $2.99. If you plan to read it – I’d love it if you could leave a review on Amazon – even if it’s good, bad or ugly!

I’m about to start my ghostwriting job (found at Outsource) and finish my novel “The Willow Lake Group” – which is about a literary group in a mysterious town, where a young man falls in love with a woman’s handwriting – only to “lose” the woman to another new guy in town. (Hilarity ensues – along with heartache!) There are many fascinating characters, twists and turns – along with a magical cookbook!

It’s so strange being out of work – deliberately – or at least, to leave the “rat race” and be my own boss. If you saw last week’s post, you witnessed me at my best – in terms of planning and organizing. I’m an incessant (obsessive) “list-maker” and everything always looks great on paper until it’s time for execution. Even though I completed and polished a novel – I’ve spent a lot of time taking naps.

person-451713_960_720

Robert predicted that I would probably crash – and I did – in batches. It’s amazing how pent up stress, anguish, depression and anxiety (especially when related to your work) can take a huge toll on your physical and mental health. You don’t realize it when you’re in the thick of it – but once you step outside of it – the maelstrom appears like a menacing storm-cloud, which hovers over your head just waiting to absorb you and infect your life.

As a side note, my manager tried to argue with me about my reasons for wanting to leave – rather than take me aside and openly discuss my concerns. I’d written a simple resignation letter – with a “Part B” as backup – in case they really wanted feedback. They asked – I gave it to them – all five pages. I was impressed with myself for not using any expletives!

She tried to tell me that “all jobs involve stress” and that I’d left my previous job due to stress – hinting that maybe I was the problem. I had to correct her (politely) by stating that I left my previous job due to the constant onslaught of face to face contact with marginalized welfare recipients. It can be a rewarding job, but also terribly and highly stressful – especially when you’re case managing 160+ people, most of whom are doing their best not to participate or even worse, who believe that yelling and threatening is the only form of communication.

Secondly (unlike my manager) I have worked across a variety of industries throughout my career – public and private – and have always worked well under stressful conditions. The everyday stress of trying to get work done is of no issue to me. Trying to do the same thing under management that is akin to either the Keystone Cops or the Three Stooges – coupled with the burden of performing the work of at least two to three people – makes the stress just a tad more unbearable. Throw in a snake in the grass sociopath who enjoys lording it over people, relentless phone calls and emails when everyone has been allowed to go on leave at the same time – with a panic-merchant of a manager who operates as a knee-jerk reactionary at the eleventh hour, well – you get the idea.

I had to keep reminding myself over the last few weeks that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m fast approaching fifty (gulp!) and it’s now time for me to finally take the reins and forge my own path. No more knuckle-headed dimwits to have to deal with. No more endless paper shoving and pen pushing in a sterile environment where punchy keywords and pseudo-intellectual catchphrases are used in place of realistic, concrete goals and actual outcomes.

No more pretentious backslapping or kowtowing to “leaders” who are only concerned with empire building and peacocking.

I know that it seems as though I’m “purging” or exorcising my demons – but I’ve had a whole lifetime’s worth of horseshit to deal with in my “career” – just like most of the rest of us. The funny thing is – I was the common denominator. I made those decisions to accept those jobs and it was my consciousness (or rather – my “self”) who dictated how I experienced them and the people I dealt with.

I’m just grateful that I was able to see the light and strike while the iron was hot – backed up by the support of my husband. When opportunity knocks – grab it by the hand and don’t let go. It would’ve been easy for me to freak out and opt for the tried and true path – which was the “stable” job in the conventional world. I would’ve ended up even more bitter if I had stayed!

So – now I’ll give you an update on my “healthy regime” – with a series of gifs to illustrate how my week went (like an 80’s montage or interpretive dance!):

gif2.gif

95fcbd5876b93ca418271eb422940258

tumblr_ly04o4NxyG1qlvj4w

funny-guy-dancing-o

2c3b46059acb247b2b650d49d0f72b80

CAT-GIF-Funny-Cat-playing-with-human-index-fingers-haha

tumblr_m9010sXDqf1qdhag9o1_500

funny-gif-tired-kid-eating

tumblr_md162c7R181rrc78e

reverse-1352138228_sitting_treadmill_exercise

tumblr_ltwixhsewp1qdlf46

anigif_enhanced-26856-1402755651-1

nom-funny-messy

tumblr_msd5ksHgws1ro8ysbo1_500

Okay – it’s 12:59am and I tired myself out!

I’ll post some recipes on Sunday. See you then!

Advertisements

The Negative impact of Stress

buried-alive-1241454

I think stress and lack of sleep are two big factors in maintaining your health and weight loss. Without giving too much away (as I’m still employed – for the moment!) we’ve had a lot of spot fires to put out due to lack of staff and absences, so my workload has increased – to say the least!

I am already doing my old job as well as someone else’s job  and recent events have revealed that there is a lot of backlog and errors to complete. It also doesn’t help when phone calls, emails and people continue interrupting with questions and crises – forcing me to switch focus and re-prioritize every 5 – 10 minutes!

Throw on top of that certain personalities who range from Mild irritant to Machiavellian and Passive Aggressively Sarcastic – then you can only obtain a glimpse into my work day. It’s very hard to plow through old work when new work continues streaming in, which is why I’m grateful for a couple of people who are helping – and others who came forth yesterday.

It’s also difficult to retain your composure when you are talked down to, while you’re spinning plates and trying to get work done which isn’t even yours. This sounds like whining, but I assure you it’s not. Anyway – I’ll talk more about stress in the workplace in a future post. Now I want to discuss how the situation has affected my health over the past week.

As I stated in my last post, I was all gung-ho about forging ahead with my regime – but I found myself exhausted when I got home every night – even after having a nap on the bus on the way home. I was only averaging 5 hours sleep per night and didn’t have time to exercise in the mornings due to still being exhausted when I woke up. I cooked two nights, got rotisserie chicken one night, then burgers another night.

The other night is a blur. I feel puffy and bloated, tired and short-tempered – as I’m barely holding my temper in. At work yesterday – after an annoying meeting and continued stress – I felt my chest continuously grow into a gnarled fist. By the time I walked out of the door I was a ball of rage.

cartman-1-1490907

Apparently desk rage is steadily on the rise, as workers are often feeling like they need to repress the building anger and despair over being trapped in a futile job, where they cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I did many things to try and relieve the pressure, like listening to music on the way to work and at night, short meditations and breathing exercises – when I had the chance – in the bathroom!

My breakfasts and lunches were still healthy but the cumulative effect of it all crashing down became too much. So, I’ve made a decision – one which I’ll reveal next week – where I will finally achieve one of the greatest desires I’ve had for most of my adult life.

I’m going to keep this post short, as I have started freelancing and have a job to complete. (Part of my surprise!) Here’s a link about de-stressing with food and alternative healing:

Alternative Healing and Stress

managingstress-280x157

 

According to MyDomain.com – Here’s what you should reach for the next time you’re hungry and stressed:

  1. Leafy green vegetables
  2. Turkey breast
  3. Oatmeal
  4. Yogurt
  5. Salmon
  6. Blueberries
  7. Pistachios
  8. Dark chocolate
  9. Milk
  10. Seeds
  11. Avocado
  12. Cashews

Link: http://www.mydomaine.com/stress-reducing-foods

I am going to try and catch up on my sleep this weekend (even though “they” say that you can never actually catch up on sleep) and I will make time for healthy eating and exercise. Like Robert told me, if they’re already getting to you, why would you allow it to keep going after hours? It’s like doing the punishing for them!

Until next week, stay happy, healthy – and Merry Christmas!