I’m Feeling Stressed…

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I hate feeling stressed.  It’s an awful feeling and it makes me want to do things I know I shouldn’t – like go off my diet or start smoking again. Neither of which I want to do.

But somethings lately have just been bugging me, and I wish I could exorcise these feelings and get back to working towards a more positive and healthy ‘me’.

Part of all this could be the ‘post-holiday blues’.. since I returned from Gran Canaria a few weeks ago, I’ve been feeling quite ‘blah’ and the typically grey UK weather hasn’t helped any either.

I swear my tan faded the moment I stepped off the plane.  LOL

Not to mention my diet seems to have stalled a bit since I returned.  I seem to eat fairly healthy throughout the day, but once I get home it’s like I have no will power.. and that’s with me rarely buying anything snack-like.

But it’s not like I don’t already have a weekend to Madrid planned in a couple week’s time.  Plus I’m considering going to Naples and Pompeii in early July as a late birthday trip… so I don’t think it’s that.

Perhaps it’s the impending visit from my landlord next weekend and that he’s staying at the flat for about a month – he lives in Belgium but occasionally has to come to London for work so he’s kept a bedroom for himself.

He’s not a bad guy but I don’t feel completely relaxed or comfortable having people over when he’s there.  He knows I’m gay and has said he doesn’t care if I have someone over, but it’s a comfort thing.

But to be honest, him visiting is more of an inconvenience than anything.. and just means I need to make sure I’m wearing clothes when I leave my bedroom.  LOL

Ok… Let’s just face the elephant in the room and address the true source of my current stress load – it’s work.  It was slightly stressful before my holidays and it’s just gotten worse since.

Basically, it was decided last year to bring in a new computer system for our division, and my colleague was jointly tasked with assisting the developers to build it so it was ‘fit for purpose’.  I wasn’t assigned the task at the time as I was expected to be on holidays during the original launch period (end of June 2016).

But since she’s not a technical person and isn’t that good with implementing processes, things kind of went to shit.  Especially as she spent most of her time flirting with the programmer when he’d visit our offices to work on the program together.

Anyway, things kept getting pushed farther and farther back until finally it was realised that what had been build was absolute crap, and it had to start almost from scratch again… so the project was reassigned to someone at the other office and she gotten things done.

And then suddenly things for our part of the division got dropped into my lap a few months back, and I had to get our part up and running via systems testing.  Despite not knowing anything about the program really.

So there I was just before my holidays having to teach myself a program that wasn’t working completely, and go back and forth with the developers to try to mold how things work somewhat.

But as with anything in life, I wasn’t even asked if I wanted to do this.  I was just expected to ‘fix it’ as I’m seen as the ‘computer guy’.  And they’ve now decided that I’ll be our new system’s ‘expert’, meaning any problems people have they’ll come to me for it instead of the developers.

Oh joy… lucky me.

Meanwhile, here we are several weeks after the program launched and my department is the only one who can’t even use it because the developers haven’t loaded our correct rates yet.  The rest of the department is fine for the most part, and they can get things done.  But we can’t.

Like I said to one of our supervisors this morning, it’s like our little department is the forgotten step-child.  And no matter how much I chase things up, it’s like I’m talking to a brick wall.

*Sigh*.. As much as I could say I don’t feel appreciated in my current job, I know that’s not completely correct.  I do get messages of thanks or notes of appreciation from the bosses, but it’s almost to the point where it’s expected that I’ll just get things done.  And quickly and efficiently as well.

I’ve been told that I’m getting another (very small) raise – the 2nd in the last 6 months or so – which is great, but I’ll believe it when I have the signed paperwork in front of me.

I do wonder why I’m still with this company after almost 3 years.  I’m pretty sure I could potentially get more money at other companies, but yet I haven’t been looking around at all.

It’s partly because this office is so convenient to where I’m living (I can literally walk home in just under 45 minutes), but also because I know if I leave this job right now I’ll have to pay them money..

They’re paying for my PRINCE2 certification, and part of the agreement is if I left within 2 years of starting the course then I’ll have to pay back a certain percentage of the costs (standard for most companies these days..).

But is that worth sticking around this place for another 2 years?  Of continuing to feeling used and pushed to do more and more?

I suppose only time will tell.. until then, I need to get studying.  The certification isn’t going to complete itself.

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New Year Blues

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On New Year’s Day while driving back to London from Essex with a couple of dear friends, one of them asked me a fairly innocuous question regarding my plans for the year ahead.

“So, you have anything exciting planned for 2017? Anything you’re looking to accomplish?”

And for some reason I really struggled to answer him… and that alone threw me for a loop. Even more so than my seemingly lack of an answer.

For whatever reason I was already feeling somewhat ambivalent about it all in the lead up to the holiday season. I could have easily stayed home instead of travelling to my mate’s place in Essex for their Naked New Year’s party (which really wasn’t as exciting as it might sound lol), but I forced myself to go. It was an alright party, but not as exciting as previous year’s celebrations.

Here’s the crux of it all – Over the past couple of months, I’ve been feeling fairly anti-social.  I’ve been spending entire weekends at home alone, rarely talking to anyone let alone actually leaving the flat.  It’s happened a couple of times where, because I’d picked up groceries on the way home Friday night, there was kind of no need to go anywhere.

This is something that has continued into the New Year. And all it does is make me feel like I’m wasting my weekends.

I do genuinely go into most weekends with a basic idea of what I’d like to do, even if I don’t have anything planned ahead of time. It could be something as simple as taking the laptop to the local coffee shop to do some writing (which we all know has been lacking these past few months), going to a museum, or maybe just going out for a couple drinks with mates.

But instead with groceries in the fridge (or enough cash for take-away), I end up having several Netflix marathons.  Or on the very rare occasion, have a mate come over to hang out for an evening.

Basically I boils down to the same feeling I’ve had repeatedly over the years.  That if I don’t make the effort first to keep in contact with people or to suggest doing things, then it’s quite rare to hear from them. That could be somewhat simplistic or overly pessimistic, but hear me out…

truly caresThere are a few friends that I used to hang out with regularly (if not weekly), but this seemed to only happen when I’d message them to see what they were up to.  So when I’d stop messaging people to see what they’re up to, I kind of stop hear from them.

And that feeling of ambivalence towards my social life has clearly spilled into the rest of my life, especially when I try to think of where I’d like to be at the end of the year. What progress I’d like to make, what accomplishments, and so forth.

And that’s not a great feeling, especially after I was so driven during the latter half of 2016 to complete the Microsoft Office Specialist (expert-level) Excel 2013 certification exams. It wasn’t easy, and I had to retake them after failing the first time, but in the end I powered through and aced the exams as I knew I could.

Maybe my ambivalence towards 2017 has to do with this ‘waiting pattern’ it feels I’ve been in since those exams. I still have 2 other exams to complete to achieve my Master certification, which I have until the Autumn to complete, but I’m also waiting for the approval through work to get my Prince2 Foundation & Practitioner certification.

And that’s a great thing to be able to say is happening. I’d initially spoke to my old boss about doing this back in April, but there didn’t seem to be any movement regarding it. But once the new boss started back in October, things really started moving. And not just about the course.

This new boss is all about getting things right and is quite geared towards pushing forward those that work hard… not those that seem to flash certain attributes and turn on their gender-specific charm or get all emotional in order to get what they want.  Hell, he even pushed for me to get a raise back in October after he’d been there 2 weeks, and he wants to expand my role into more of a divisional overall one over the next year as I complete the course.

But yet I still sometimes feel that despite things actually going sort of ok at work at the moment that I need something to change?  Definitely doesn’t help any that the regional office I work in is quite lad-ish and unprofessional, which gets on my nerves at times.

Or is it more my dissatisfaction regarding other aspects of my life (ie: social and/or love life)? Could that be spilling over into my work life and tainting something that’s actually going alright?

Is there truly an answer to any of this?  Probably not, but most likely that’s down to my own pessimistic outlook at life at the moment.

*shrugs shoulders*disappointed-man_slider

A Long Overdue Update…

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I keep saying I’m going to write an update on things that have been going on over the past couple of months, but for some reason I never seem to get around to it.

In fact, I never seem to open my laptop much these days.  I tend to spend most evenings plunked down on the sofa watching TV (Big Bang marathons mostly..) while playing on my mobile or iPad.  And that’s not a bad thing really.

I could give the excuse that because I don’t really have anywhere to put my laptop that I don’t think of turning it on.  Sure, I may not have an actual desk or table of any sort in my bedroom to sit at and write, but I could easily take it to the living room and sit at the table there..

Perhaps I don’t think of doing that because most evenings my flatmate is also sitting at said table as it’s where the tv is and where we eat our meals, and it really isn’t that big of a table to begin with.

boredomOr perhaps I’m just giving myself excuses why I haven’t been writing at all lately.. well, except for last Sunday when I sat in the local coffee chain for a couple of hours and banged out a post or two.

I could lie to myself and say that maybe I really just haven’t had much to update you all on over the past couple months, but that’s really just a load of bullshit. LOL

The last actual post I’d wrote before the holidays was all about the work recent work centralisation to head office (see previous post), and how I wanted to ensure I didn’t have to move offices due to the travel time and costs.

In the end, I was able to snag a position on a brand new contract that allowed me to stay at my existing office.. along with a (very slight) raise to go along with the new role.  Double bonus!

The contract was due to go live two weeks ago after the holidays, but it has sadly been delayed while we wait for the contracts to be signed off and the client to send through the first few jobs.

It’s been a bit odd the past couple of weeks not having a regular routine when it comes to the workday, but it’s been good at the same time.  It’s allowed our team to sit down, look through things in detail, and basically create the processes ourselves from scratch.  I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such autonomy in a job before, even if it’ll be temporary.

The other upside of this is it’s required me to really dig deep and recall some of my dusty Excel skills, as I’ve barely used them over the past couple years.  It’s amazing how quickly it all comes back when you’re creating massive work trackers and linking them to other spreadsheets to calculate works.

Unfortunately, by the end of last week we all got a bit bored.  There really was only so much pre-planning we could do as it seemed we’d done everything we could with what information we had.  It didn’t help much that our manager has been out of the office for the past few days in meetings, so haven’t had much instruction or direction for what else we could be doing.

Anyway, here’s hoping the manager is back in tomorrow and has some news regarding the launch, or at least can give us a bit more direction.

But who am I to complain if the company is willing to pay us to do very little, right?  🙂

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The Work Centralisation Issue

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So as many people know, I haven’t exactly been super happy in my current job but haven’t had much of a chance to look around for something new, let alone actually change jobs.

I could just be making excuses, but between moving flats and planning my recent holiday, I kept telling myself that I’d wait until the New Year before I started looking for a new job.  I just wanted to get myself settled in the flat and enjoy my impending holidays, and then I’d get going on my job search.

Just like anything, the best laid plans usually go astray.

I was totally getting excited about going away in about a week’s time when the managers called the entire administrative staff into the conference room.  We’d been noticing there had been several ‘impromptu’ meetings at the office with some higher ups from head office, as were understandably leery going in.

Well didn’t we all get the shock of the week… they announced that in 4 weeks, they were merging all the domestic administrative staff together.  At head office.  In Ewell, which is on the outer edge of London.. barely.

As it stands, that’s in about a week’s time.  Damn.

From a business point of view, I can understand the centralisation as it could lead to higher efficiency, as well as a reduction in overall payroll since each department would deal with all the contracts instead of just one or two.

For our point of view, this couldn’t have come at a worst time.  Not only did they want to move us to head office, which would cost each of us a lot more in transport, but they wanted it all done by December 9th.. just before Christmas.

A lot of people already travel over an hour to get to work each day.  I know I used to when I lived at my old place.  And if I had had to travel to head office from there.. well, it just wouldn’t have been possible.

The timing was especially bad for me, as we were given the news on a Wednesday and I was going on holidays the following Monday.  And we’d been given an initial deadline of Tuesday to advise whether we’d be transferring to head office.. so because of my holiday, I had about 48 hours to make up my mind.

They’d purposely left everything last minute (which is sadly legal..) so that we’d have no choice but to agree to moving to head office.  Or quit.. well, technically accept redundancy, although hardly anyone would actually qualify for any sort of payment.

That’s right.. once again I was faced with redundancy.  I’d last went through this at my old old company when the contract I’d worked on got moved North to a small town called Crewe, up towards Manchester.

The last thing I want to do is have to travel close to 2 hours each way just so I have a job.. but it’s looking like I’m going to have to, as I haven’t had much luck looking for something new outside the company.  I’ll have to leave for work around 6am each day, possibly not getting home until at least 7pm.

There goes any hopes of a social life, huh?

tired-at-workI’ll just have to make the best out of a bad situation.. which is why I’ve applied for a couple new positions within the company, one of which is similar to my current one and would allow me to stay at my current office.  The other position is a manager role at head office, because if I’m going to have to make the trek there every day, I might as well do it for more money.

There’s no guarantee that I’ll get either role, but it doesn’t hurt to try at least… and my preference is clearly the role at my current office.  Mostly for the easy trek to work.

So fingers crossed things go well and something comes up.. again.

Getting Snappy

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I’m finding more and more these days that it’s a struggle to keep myself out of the ‘dark place’.  To keep my spirits up and try to look at each new day as something exciting or interesting, even if all I’m doing is my usual daily routine.

And I think I was kind of succeeding with this over the past few weeks despite the lacklustre goings on in my life.  I’ve been doing my best to just enjoy my free time by watching my favourite television shows (Doctor Who marathon anyone?), relaxing on my sofa, and relishing the rare opportunities to spend time with mates.

Unfortunately this hasn’t been going so well for the past week or two, and I’m finding myself stressed out and desperately looking forward to some well-deserved time off work next week (I’m off to Manchester next weekend with my best mate P from Scotland).

I know a lot of this stress and anxiety I’m feeling is due to a few changes at work (something I don’t tend to write much about on here..), where we’ve finally gotten some new staff in to replace the ones that quit/were fired over the holidays.  Normally I enjoy the challenge of showing new people how things work and the processes that need to be followed, but this time I’m finding it too much.

For some reason, it feels like it’s all coming down on me to show the newbies the ropes, which results in a constant bombardment of questions that pulls me away from the work I need to get done.

468737-stressIt’s not so much the questions themselves, but how it’s the same ones over and over again, mostly from this one particular guy.  He’s picked up most of the system processes, but anything else he feels this need to reconfirm on a daily basis, despite us telling him to write things down.

And sometimes he comes out with the most ridiculous questions that either don’t make any sense at all or are just plain stupid.

Gawd, how I hate using that word about someone, especially when I think he’s actually just insecure.  I keep trying to get him to think for himself, but instead he’d rather re-ask the same questions just to make sure.. which then makes me snappy and frustrated to no end.  And once he’s completed the tasks he’s been ‘told’ to do, he’ll just sit there and chill while the rest of us are still working away until end of shift (and beyond some days) as if there wasn’t anything else to do.. and he doesn’t ask if there is.

The worst was this past Friday when I was alone with all 3 of the newbies (my boss had booked the day off.. damn her hahaha), and I couldn’t get anything done.

But when it took me close to 2 hours to do one simple task because I was constantly having to give them directions or tell them what needed to be done next (which they should know by now), I couldn’t help snapping at them.  And that’s not like me at work at all.

too much to do at workSome of the management have commented in the past how I’m always calm and cool regardless of what is going on or what needs to be done.  And this is exactly how I want to be at work.

Unfortunately the stress of the day got the better of me, and I was frazzled all day long.  Something a couple of my colleagues in the office noticed and kept (discretely) checking in on me to see if there was anything they could do to help..

But not any of the management, surprisingly enough.  Hmmm..

Anyway, luckily the supervisor is back to work on Monday, and we’ll have a busy couple of days to ensure we get ahead of the game before I have my time off from Thursday.

Though hopefully it isn’t as bad for her while I’m off until the following Wednesday.. but then again, can’t predict anything I suppose.

Guess I’ll have to write a second post about the stresses in my personal life.. Watch this space. 😉

Looking on the Bright Side of Life

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There are loads of people out there who consistently and constantly are able to look at life in a positive light, even when something negative happens in their life.  They remain upbeat and cheerful regardless of what’s going on around them.

Most of the time I can’t help but wonder how the hell they do it, especially when I’m going through dark period after dark period and wishing something good would happen in my life.

Luckily things have actually been going really good lately and I’ve shockingly been feeling something I haven’t in a long time – contentment bordering on actually feeling happy!

It’s not like I’ve found the perfect job or met the perfect man (though that one is still up in the air lol). It’s more that I don’t really have a reason to NOT feel happy at the moment.

I don’t LOVE my new job, but it’ll do for the foreseeable future and I think it’s something I could be good at.. as long as I don’t get sucked into the existing staff’s negativity. It’s shocking how much bitching and moaning about the place I overhear in the smoking area.

Although I might get sick of the 8am starts each morning at some point.. But on the bright side, I get to finish at 5:30 and am home just after 6pm because it’s so close. So that’s a bonus at the moment. 🙂

As for my dating life, it amazes me how quickly that can change. Over the past while I’d started to feel like the troll under the bridge due to the lack of attention.

Then that coin flip happened, and things seemed to change.

Not only have I continued seeing the sexy Kurdish guy (I’m travelling to Guildford today to spend the night..), but I also had a date with a kinda cute Italian guy last Friday who wants to meet up again .. Although I don’t think I’m interested since he wasn’t that good of a kisser. Lol

As for sexy Kurd, do I think it’s love? Do I think this is me finally meeting my perfect match? Who knows and frankly, who cares. All I know is I enjoy his company, he makes me laugh and smile, and I still think he’s sexy when he’s being goofy or in a grumpy mood.

Are there warning signs with him that should be telling me to walk away from him? Sure there is, but then again nobody’s perfect. Obviously I’m not thrilled that he’s already partnered (long-distance, and rarely see each other) or that he doesn’t live in London and is moving further south.

But at the moment I’m not going to worry about any of that and am just going to continue to enjoy his company. I’m not thinking about the future or any ‘what ifs’, but instead am concentrating on the here and now.

Basically I’m trying to just enjoy life as it comes along… For once in my life.

Fingers crossed it lasts for awhile. 🙂

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Growing Up (or Older Depending on Point of View)

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turning 40I realised something kinda scary the other day… that in about 100 days I’ll be turning 40. 😦

How the fuck did that happen?!?  Where has all the time gone??

You’d think that by the time you turn 40, you would be settled as a person.  Home, job, career, love, what have you..  The usual grown up things I suppose.

(Click HERE for related post)

But I’ll be honest, I don’t really feel like someone who’s about to turn 40.. or at least I don’t most days.  Most days I feel like some overgrown kid who’s still into a bit of Sci-Fi, fantasy and superheros, while still kind of living like a student.

But then there are those days when the years creep up on me and I can feel the past 4 decades (?!?) pressing down on me, especially when the stress of life catches up to me.

Or when I have to walk up several flights of stairs.  😉

This has been especially true over the past week or so (the stress, not the stairs lol) thanks to all the trouble I’ve been having finding work and getting through life on such a limited budget.

Fun times.. not.

But the whole thing – the lack of work and the issues with finances – has got me wondering when did life get so complicated?  How did it get so stressful and focused on having certain things in life?  Or is it us who’ve made it like this?

reliving childhoodThinking back to my early 20’s .. sure I had my fair share of ups and downs, we all did.  But I can’t honestly say whether it was just as stressful then as it is now… Does that even make any sense?

I don’t know.. maybe it was a simpler time mostly because at that age I had different expectations for the immediate future.  Life was more about having cheap fun, getting pissed, and hanging with the friends I’d made once I finally came out of the closet.  Life seemed so much fun and carefree back then, even if it was such a small town life.

Or at least it always seemed like it was.

But I honestly don’t know if I would want to go back to that life knowing what I do now then.  It’s a scenario we’ve all thought about.. and in a way, it could sort of happen.

With the financial and job issues I’m having at the moment, it’s been suggested by several people, including my parents, that I could move back to Canada.  Which would potentially mean back to my little home town (at least to start off with) where there’s no social life for the gay man really.. Most definitely isn’t as open there as it is here in London.

Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams

But that wouldn’t be the issue.  To me, and this is probably my pride talking, I would feel like a failure if I ‘had’ to move back to Canada as if I’d somehow failed at living my life here.  And I’ll be honest, I truly do want to live here in the UK.  Maybe not in London perhaps, but I feel like I need to be here in the UK right now.

I don’t think I’d be any better off being there compared to here.  I’d still be unemployed with no money to live life.

I’ve been an extremely independent person for as long as I can remember, mostly relying on myself for help when things went tits-up.  Turning to friends and family for advice when you need it is part of life, but at almost 40 years old, aren’t I a bit too old to be running home to Mommy and Daddy when life isn’t going well for me?

Or I could just be over-analyzing it all, and need to continue to be patient.  I’m sure a job will come along soon.. it’s just a matter of whether I can survive financially until then.

Fingers crossed everyone.

My Ongoing Job Search Saga

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I still can’t believe I’ve been out of work for just over 6 months now.. 6 months!?!  I have no clue where the time has gone so quickly, despite feeling like I’ve been doing nothing on a daily basis on top of my job hunting.

ready for workWhich seems to be getting me nowhere at the moment.

I’ve repeatedly revised my CV, written a ton of cover letters, had call after call from recruitment agencies, and even had a session with a career consultant at the Job Centre.. but still nothing.  No job.

Well, not completely nothing.. I’ve had a couple of interviews but it’s averaging out to less than one interview a month.  I don’t think those are good odds.  I’d have hoped I would have been on more interviews by now..

Of course, the best was this morning.  There I was, all suited and booted, on my way to my next interview.. when the agency called to cancel the interview, less than 5 minutes before I was due to jump on the train.

Nope.  Nothing planned at all today.

Nope. Nothing planned at all today.

And why did they cancel it?  Because they forgot to put me in their diaries, so thinking they had an interview-free day, one of the interviewers took a sick day.

*Face palm*

How the hell that happened is beyond me.  But it definitely doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence in the company (or the recruitment agency), regardless of how well they did on last year’s Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to work for list.

I’m still waiting for them to reschedule the interview… I’m not holding my breathe.

Now before anyone starts in on the cliched ‘It’ll get better’ or ‘Something will come along anytime now’ or any other sayings to supposedly cheer diddly squatme up..  Please.  Just don’t.

I appreciate, I truly do, but there’s only so many times I can hear them over and over.. and over and over again.  I do love the support however those sayings don’t make me feel any better, which is what I think you’re trying to do.

I’m doing my best to try and stay focused and positive about finding a job (at this point, almost any job), but it isn’t easy.  People don’t tend to talk about how it actually feels when you’ve been long-term unemployed.

Depressing.  Lonely.  Rapidly reduced self-confidence.  Lazy.  Monotonous.  Unmotivated.

carrying on with life

Must. Carry. On.

And so on.. Surprisingly it can be very difficult to maintain focus on finding a job when that seems to be the only thing going on in your life at the moment.  Your mind wanders (or maybe that’s just me..) onto other things you’d rather be doing than sitting in front of the laptop all day long, looking at ad after ad.

Let’s not even talk about how fast the time flies when you’re playing ‘Bejeweled’ on Facebook.  lol

I won’t even go into how sick I am of seeing the looks on (some) people’s faces when we talk about it all.  Partly sympathetic, partly pitying, partly condescending, partly thankful it’s not them going through it.  Or maybe I’m just imagining that…

*Sigh*  Is it bad that I wish I could just take a holiday from all this dreary-ness?  Go lounge on a beach somewhere warm and sunny, and just RELAX?

Ahhh.. if only. 😦