Work: The Soul-Sucking Reality of Adulthood

giphyDo you remember what it was like to take the first baby steps in your career? How great it felt to take a step toward what you’d worked so hard for in school, and on the bottom rungs of the grunt-work-we-suffered-through-it-so-you-must-suffer-through-it-load-of-sadistic-bullshit-ladder?

Oh sure, for a while in your twenties and thirties you feel like you’re going somewhere, and then after forty – BOOM- it’s like hot-tub-fucking-time-machine.

You’re back in high school.

Nobody likes to wake up to an alarm, battle traffic and then be told what to do all day. That’s why they call it work, and that’s why you get paid to do it. Keeping yourself busy throughout the day is a good thing. Keeping yourself busy all day surrounded by egomaniacs is not.

And that’s what’s wrong with the world.

It’s not a competition folks. It’s life. It’s short, and it’s precious and it’s way better if you’re kind to one another.  Take these words of wisdom that I shared with my son during dinner tonight, and heed them well;

Ask for help if you need it. People are always happy to help, unless they’re douchebags.

…and really, life is too short for egotistical douchebags…

For instance, this morning I received a text from a friend who was down because they had been really mistreated at work. Beginning a new contract, they were not given the courtesy of being told in advance that there would be a later starting date, or that their title had changed.

The only realistic conclusion with regard to this matter is that the boss is an egotistical turd.

We all need to make a living. It doesn’t matter what you do, or who you are, your single goal ought to be kindness.  The true measure of a human being is always how they treat others, how they contribute positively to the environment that they are in. I’m a firm believer in using everyone’s strengths and weaknesses to the advantage of the day, and the purpose of our work.

There is no psychic room in our lives for petty maneuvers that inflate  ego, especially in the work place.

giphy1If you are in an environment of Douchedom at work  where kindness does not reign as Queen, may I suggest a few things?

  1. 1. Find solace in little things that you can focus on without anyone thinking you’re some kind of spiritual numpty.  For instance, a quirky little saying pinned to your board, a small photo of your next dream vacation, a stone from your favourite walking trail.
  2. Meditate on your beverage. Yes. It’s perfectly acceptable to have some sort of sipper at your station or desk, so put it in a container that brings you joy. Not a flask ( as much as a good snort of gin might feel mid-day). A pretty tea cup or a bright bottle. Whatever. Just remind yourself that you are taking care of you, and that a-hole-ego-maniac-ass-hat-of-a-co-worker can just sip on their own negative swamp water, because you are not having any of that poison.
  3. Before you lose your cool, quietly ask yourself, ” Who do you think you’re talking to”?  Take a deep breath, look directly into their eyes, smile, say “I see”, very calmly, and carry on doing exactly what you were before you were interrupted, attempted to be made a fool of, or lorded over. Carry. On.
  4. Use your commute to de-stess. Don’t call your bestie to bitch. Don’t text. Don’t drive in silence. Crank some feel-good music, roll the windows down, and envision all of the bad shit being blown away. Begin the transition to that hot soak in the tub, the novel you have beside the bed, or the long walk you’re going to take. Do not let bad mojo at work steal any more of your energy.
  5. Change before you leave the office. Change your whole outfit, change your shoes…whatever, just change something to symbolically get out of your ‘uniform’.
  6. Freshen up. That’s right. Twice a day go to the loo and fluff your hair, wipe your boob sweat, re-apply lipstick, pull up your socks, put cold water on your face….be creative, but come out refreshed.
  7. Look for a new job. I’m being serious. Even if you don’t really want to leave what you’re doing, it helps to know that there’s always other stuff out there. It was a piece of advice given to me by my mumster and it works. Knowing there’s gainful employment away from a bad environment helps strengthen your resolve to make it work, whether it’s from the desk you’re sitting at, or at  a new one.
  8. Accept that sometimes, no matter how great the calling, we do not find our joy in the workplace.  For instance, I find my joy in writing, reading, attending my kiddo’s sporting events, camping and even running. These are  great joys…small joy at work is a beautiful calendar, a dainty tea-cup, a smooth writing pen, having self control and coming up with witty comebacks in my own mind…If work is your joy, you do not have time to participate in pettiness. You only have time to become better at your craft. Keep your head down, your mouth shut and go for the gusto.
  9. Be nice. Have a candy dish at your desk, ask about somebody’s pet, kids or spouse. Be human and available. Don’t be the raincloud that dulls down the office. At the very least, on bad days, keep to yourself and enjoy your tea.
  10. Laugh. At yourself, at the douchebag who thinks they’re a big-shot, at everything. Just fucking laugh, because that my darling ones, is what life is all about.
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It Whispers

whisper2

“Our intuition is where our true genius lies.”
~A. Artemis~

Relax. Trust the process. Surrender. Good things come to those who wait.

The world, and social media sites are awash with pithy statements. Stop. Go. Om.

Along with our waning attention spans ( over half of you have stopped reading this already), our ability to trust our instincts has been lost as well.

Whether you’re stuck in a bad job or a bad relationship chances are you’ve sought out advice about what you should do. Stick it out or make a run for it?

In the past, I’ve had relationships that I’ve known are no good from the start. Hindsight is 20/20 of course, and I can see now that those relationships lasted as long as they did because I wanted a relationship, but the one I was in was not the one.

There have been other relationships that were interfered with by a third-party, and I took that as a sign it wasn’t meant to be. Hindsight reveals that it was  a good relationship and the interfering party was wrong. Not just wrong, but wretched.

Whether it’s a lopsided friendship, job, questionable  lover, relationship with a faith group or business partner, experience has taught me two things. First, engage your trusted friends and colleagues in a conversation to fully explore what may or may not be happening. Second, and most importantly, come to a conclusion and develop a course of action based on your own intellect and intuition.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?

Are the things that are meant to be, supposed to be a struggle, or feel effortless?

Now  it’s time that I must seek some solitude and listen very closely to what my intuition is whispering….perhaps two fingers of bourbon will help….bottoms up darlings.

 

Self Check-Out

Interior Grocery Store Design | Check Stand Ma...

Interior Grocery Store Design | Check Stand Markers | Waikoloa Village Market | KTA Store (Photo credit: I-5 Design & Manufacture)

The first thing I thought years ago when I encountered the very first ‘self check-outs’ at our local grocery store was, “Great. Now not only do I have to pack my own groceries, I have to check them out too.”

You see, as a youth, I worked for five years at the local grocery store. I was a shelf-stocker, check-out girl, grocery packer, carry-out girl, and even worked on occasion wrapping and weighing produce and meat (we didn’t have scales at the checkout, or a conveyor on the counter).

I wouldn’t even think of someone pack their own groceries or carry more than one bag to the car alone. But that was long, long ago darling, and far, far away.

Now, as the mother of a teenager, I seem to be the floor-show on a regular basis, and there’s nothing he likes to see more than his wise, sophisticated mother lose her cool. Tonight when I asked if he wanted to go get some groceries with me, he tagged along, secretly plotting our trip to the self check-out.

There’s nothing that can consistently make me lose my cool more than when I use the self check-out.

Basically, I’m faster than the machine that weighs measures, and makes sure I’m not shop lifting a bazillion extra pounds of food.  This inadvertently causes alarms and multiple calls to the self check-out police. Usually these folks are women putting in part-time retirement hours, or  teenaged boys who don’t need to shave more than twice a month and could give a crap less about who you are, what you came for, or where you’re going next.

The check-out is a measure of our quality of civilization, a short stop in your day to say hello to another human being, perhaps exchange opinions about the quality of whatever you’re purchasing and discussing what might be the topic of the day.

Not any more.

Our interactions are increasingly becoming automated and mind-numbing. Remember going to a bank to transfer funds, cash a cheque, or withdraw cash? Yah, I hardly remember it either.

We no longer discuss or question our purchases, we load the cart and scan ourselves out of the store.

Although the self check out has cost me the human interaction with the cashier and the ‘bag-boy’, it has helped create a bond between my kiddo and I. I’m always goaded into checking out my own groceries, and we usually giggle through the entire process.

It took me two trips over to the-kid-who-could-care-less in order to scan my baguette. One visit from the kid-who-could-care-less because I took the eggs out of my bag to make room for the peaches, and six attempts before the darn thing accepted my new, plastic twenty-dollar bill.

Ah yes. Self check-out, another illusion of freedom.

Self check-out, another opportunity to practice patience, have a giggle and bond with my teenager.

It’s all about perspective.

Salaries & Men & What Makes Us Bump in the Night

 

Love money?

Love money? (Photo credit: robjewitt) “Someone asked me why women don’t gamble as much as men do, and I gave the commonsensical reply that we don’t have as much money. That was a true and incomplete answer. In fact, women’s total instinct for gambling is satisfied by marriage.” ~Gloria Steinem~

Ah yes, another Saturday, another edition of my favourite newsrag; The Globe and Mail.

There were two articles in the Globe that caught my attention, the first, in the main section of the Globe, written by columnist Elizabeth Renzetti.   It was about the interview questions put to British female volleyball players as to whether they would wear their bikinis even if it rained.

The second article by Leah Eichler was about the workplace majority of primary breadwinners being women. Trust me and keep reading, I’ll walk you through my thoughts.

Renzetti waxed philosophical about all that is wrong with the question aimed at figuring out just exactly how much taught volleyball playing flesh would be seen during the Olympics. She commented on the hell that society puts us through as women, dictating that we feel guilty and worthless should we not be the photoshopped stick figures that plaster the cover magazines.

Perhaps this dickwad disguised as a reporter needed to know how much tissue to have on hand for his Olympic wank fest. The end of the conversation with the titty-infatuated reporters should have come from the athletes being interviewed, or whomever was vetting those  interviews. I imagine it going something like this; “Who let this wanker in? Next question.” There is nothing more that needs to be said really.

The second article, The Emergence of the Richer Sex, caught my attention because it outlines the increasing percentage of women who are the primary breadwinner in their household. But we knew that already didn’t we gals? After all,for over 15 years, our post-secondary educational institutions have been filled with a majority of female students.

I direct you back to a quote from one of my recent blog entries;

Our modern, western culture has done one hell of a good job of dividing the sisterhood. Once we recognize that, we’ll be a lot better off. I love this quote from Eva Burrows, “We have to be careful in this era of radical feminism, not to emphasize an equality of the sexes that leads women to imitate men to prove their equality. To be equal does not mean you have to be the same. “

As soon as women redefine, “ALL”, we will have it.

I think it was Madonna who said that women don’t get what they want because they don’t ask for it. It’s time to ask for what we want and what we need. Do I want to make more money? Hell yes.Do I want to have hours that allow me to do my work and be a good parent? Of course I do. Do I want special recognition in the way of golf vacations and large bottles of whiskey? Are you kidding me? No way! I want spa trips, champagne, and soft, pedicured feet.

You know what else I want? I want all of us – yes you my fabulous, luscious, juicy, female readers – to find our voice and ask for what we need.

Do I demand fair pay. Absolutely. Do I  carry myself in a way that represents my professional abilities and god-given strengths as a woman as I carry out my job? I try my hardest. Do I need a man who makes more money than me? or a man with more letters than I have behind my name. Hmm? Ummm? Now that’s a good question…

To be honest, that’s stumped me for some time. But in my heart, I know I don’t need those either.  I provide for myself, even though I was raised with some fairytale myth about being taken care of  by my man.

What we don’t need ladies are the men that are competing with the women who are trying to imitate men in their roles and measures of success. That’s just too messed up, and frankly, it’s what created a culture of couples who need therapy to figure out what the hell is going on in their relationships.

In a Shambala Sun article discussing mental illness, Shoken Michael Stone, leader of Centre of Gravity in Toronto says, “Through language, we cast judgment on people, lock them up, treat them, hide them, group them, exclude them…” Through our language we have created feminism, the upper class, the lower-middle-class, working-moms, single-moms, and stay-at-home dads, just to name a few.

What we really are, are people, men and women, trying to re-negotiate our relationships with one another in a post-industrial, gender-annhilated, capitalist workforce.

Ok, enough big words ladies. After all, our big, strapping, love-making gents might not understand. Ah-hem

What I think that all of us women need is someone to nurture our feminine side. Someone who allows us to be cuddly and girly and weird and funny, and all of the wonderful things that we are without feeling weak, without apologizing for being educated, well-employed and just all ’round blazing fabulous. That’s the kind of man who makes us want to bump in the night.

I pondered the two Globe and Mail articles this morning as I lay in my sweet lover’s arms after being woken by kisses. He’s younger, lacks a couple of the letters that follow my name, but boy oh boy, does he ever let me be cuddly, girly, weird and funny. Don’t let anyone tell you who you should be with. Just listen to your heart…AND keep your addresses separate…

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Then Again, Maybe I Do – Dilemma of A Working Woman

Hard Working Women

Hard Working Women (Photo credit: Bo47)

In my last post, I wrote about women ‘having it all’, and what “ALL” meant to me. I challenged my readers of the fair sex to redefine all, and rethink success.  One of my readers wrote me a short note and asked for some advice. Advice? Sure, I can give advice. 

The question she had concerned whether or not to maintain a professional designation. You see, this ‘reader’ and I met as she was writing her board exams, and I was a year behind completing my internship. We worked damn hard in an ‘old boys’ business to get our license. We were shift partners for a while, and I grew to respect and like her.

The school work was demanding. The practical work was even more demanding. The internship required many,many long days of physically and emotionally draining work. The pinnacle of working toward the license was having to complete three separate board exams which also cost a significant fee to write.

If we choose to let our licenses lapse, it would mean reapplying and having to write the board exams again.  In order for the license not to lapse, we must actually find jobs in that field and work a minimum number of hours equivalent to a full, part-time job. We both work outside of that particular profession, but in related areas of expertise. 

I miss the work, it’s just not conducive to the kind of lifestyle I want at home. I’ve never worked in an atmosphere of stronger camaraderie, or with people who could make me laugh so easily.  I do miss the work, but don’t miss the strain it put on my life at home. Ideally I could find a part-time gig that works around my ‘real’ job, and my family schedule. Am I dreaming? I won’t know unless I put it out there and see what’s available.

Reflecting on our little dilemma today I came to this conclusion. I am convinced that in life, without making room for what truly makes us happy, we will be stuck with substitutes that are barely, “good enough”. 

Having it “All” might simply mean having ‘ENOUGH’. But ‘good enough’ is not good enough. Good enough means there could be something more, something better, something yummy and satisfying you want to snuggle with.

As much as I want the security of that professional designation, I’m not willing to give up what I have professionally right now. What I have right now is better. But in a pinch, having a professional license means I have a meal ticket much more easily redeemed than if I had a resume without it.

Now, if this were a situation about men, what would a girl do? What if you were dating a decent man; he had a decent job, was ok looking, was better than your B.O.B in the sack after a glass of wine or two(Battery Operated Boyfriend), and was good enough company to not get too lonely? You’d keep him until you just got bored to death, and then turn him in for another Mr. GoodEnough.   Easily replaced.

What gets our attention though is a man who is good at his job and enjoys it, is attractive, way, way better than B.O.B. in bed, and not only keeps our feet warm at night, he also can engage in intelligent conversation about a wide range of current events. That’s worth kicking Mr. GoodEnough out with the trash and making room for something with a little more va-va-va-voom.

So, my answer to my friend with the question about her license is two-fold. First it’s always good to have back up when it comes to men and employment when you’re not completely convinced they’re ‘the one’. Second, if we really want to get what our hearts yearn for, we have to take a leap of faith and just do it.  If you haven’t accomplished what you really, really want professionally, maintain your professional designation  as a back-up and cash provider while you work at making whatever puts a song in  your heart sing full-time.

When it comes to back up concerning men. Give up your back-up when you find someone you’re deliciously head over heels for. I did it for my last sweety, and although he turned out to be a joke, I don’t regret trying. Besides, back-up is pretty easy, and fun to find.