Thursday, February 16, 2012

Eeek! (Not my normal posting topic)

I've been in my current job for 4 years now.  It's what I refer to as a "specialist administrator job".  Filing and typing and stuff is minimal and much of my time is spent either setting up and auditing parts of our database or else providing helpdesk-type support for our users.  It doesn't stretch me any more (and hasn't done for some time now) but it pays much more than anywhere else locally would pay me for a similar level of ability.  I also happen to work in a fairly unique field and working anywhere else which actually needs my expertise would require a 50 mile round-trip commute every day just to get to the office.  I do quite like my job though; it also pays the bills and the people I work with are amazing so it's really much better than it sounds.  Coming up for two years ago, I went on secondment to another team but ended up returning earlier than expected to my normal role.  With hindsight, it was a very silly idea to start a new job while Gav was still in ICU and only two weeks after my nan had passed away.  I could have done with staying put in my normal job that summer!  Anyway, stuff happened that I couldn't cope with, I was making mistakes left, right and centre and became convinced that I was a complete failure.  After Gav got discharged from hospital and then promptly readmitted with an infection only a week or two later, I ended up going on sick leave with "low mood" for 3 1/2 weeks and HR recommended that I go back to my old job.  People were surprised that I was willing to go back at the busiest time of year but I'd started in the office as a temp at that time 3 years earlier and the chaos was what I was used to!  I knew that I could do all those dull and repetitive admin jobs (like alphabetising 12,000 labelled envelopes) without a problem.  I've tried my hardest to work on my confidence since then but it hasn't always been easy.  One of the biggest helps has been to completely ignore things like Failblog and all the other places on the internet where the word "fail" is horribly misused.  I've decided that failure should only be used of measurable outcomes.  I could fail an exam; I could fail to pot the red in pool and instead pot the black; I could fail to cook the meat enough.  Putting cheese in the omelette that I'm cooking for myself instead of the ham that I wanted isn't a failure.  It might not be a ham omelette but is it still a tasty dinner?  If the answer's yes then I've succeeded, not failed.

So, we've established what happened the last time I tried to apply for a new job.  I've also been told by our section leader that I "could go far".  I think the rough idea was that my secondment would go amazingly well and it'd allow me to start zigzagging up our job ladder and the one where I did my secondment and I'd eventually end up pretty much at her level.  A fantastic idea, had everything worked out as we expected!  But I came back sorely lacking in confidence and with far too much going on at home to cope with more than the normal routine of audits and set-up.  Recently though, I've been starting to get bored with my usual work, particularly when I found out that the requested promotion to a senior administrator wasn't going to happen.  I fully admit to having kept an eye out for other jobs locally but those that I could do didn't pay me enough and those that I could afford to do required a completely different skill set.

There's been a draft job advert sat in our printing tray for most of the week so far but I hadn't really read it.  It looked halfway interesting but the pay grade was "TBC" as was the duration of the contract.  I happened to check our intranet this afternoon and saw that the jobs page had just been updated.  Oddly enough, I scrolled through the whole list today.  Normally, I just scroll through the ones at the top until I find one I remember being posted earlier on in the week as I've always assumed that they're sorted by date posted.  It turns out that they've changed the system and now sort them by closing date and one of the jobs in the middle of the list was for this post where I'd seen the draft advert.  Unlike the others posted today which all have a month until the closing date, this one only has 1 1/2 weeks so appears in the middle of the list.  Essentially, it's for a data analyst post.  It's got a complicated job title to it but that's perfectly standard with public sector posts.  It's two grades up from where I am now but everything listed in the job description and person specification is all stuff that I've done before.  Perhaps I haven't worked on some of the stuff listed for nearly 10 years but, even so, it's something that I've always been pretty good at and it shouldn't take me to long to get back in the swing of things.  It's not going to be easy to work out which examples I'm going to be using to prove that I meet the person specification as they're all going to be scattered between just about every single job or voluntary position I've ever held in my entire adult life.  The other good thing about the job is that it's internal applicants only.  Certainly from our office, there's only likely to be one other applicant and, should I lose out to him, I'd consider that perfectly fair.  I suspect that I'd win in comparison to him on the intrapersonal stuff although he'd easily win on database queries.  The only trouble is that I have absolutely no idea who else across our entire organisation would also be interested in applying for it.  I think that everyone I know who'd be a likely suspect is already grade 5 or above but I have no idea whether there's anyone else out there.  I can't be the only person who's working in a completely different area at the moment who wants to change so I haven't got a chance of guessing who else I might be up against.  That is, if anyone else noticed that it was on the jobs page!

Monday, February 13, 2012

My head's clearer today

Despite saying that the mood had lifted just by talking about it, it pretty much settled for the rest of the weekend.  There were some random and scattered good moments and I've discovered that one of the ladies from church is actually worse than I am at having days where dealing with People is just plain impossible.  I was supposed to sit with her at lunch yesterday but, by the time I came back to sit at the table with her, another family who I don't know so well were also there and I just couldn't face putting on a any sort of mask, even though I know that they're all lovely people.  Instead, I ended up sitting with our placement student and one of his friends who's in my home group and listened to a highly improvised little ditty in praise of Mississippi mud pie and then joined in a highly geeky conversation about measuring the speed of light by taking the turntable out of a microwave and putting a large block of chocolate in there instead.  Much more fun to talk about nothing in particular than to have polite conversation and people asking how I'm doing.  According to some random scale of conversation topics, technically, speed-of-light and chocolate would be a Level 0 conversation and "How are you coping with stuff?" would be something like a Level 3.  Lower level conversations aren't supposed to be any good for useful human interaction (I may be wildly over-simplifying things here though).  However, I honestly feel that, in terms of "team" bonding and stuff, random conversations like that are just as important in their own way as anything supposedly more meaningful.

So yeah, spent much of the weekend feeling crap.  The birthday party on Saturday was good but I do need to explaing to my mum to stop pestering me with questions at times!  I'm both shy and an introvert at heart (although the world should probably be forgiven for thinking that I'm neither of these things!) and it can take me a little while to assemble the right mask to use at each individual social event.  Unfortunately, Mum can generally see straight through the mask-building process, pesters me with questions that I'm trying not to think about the answers to and generally, winds me up so much that it takes me forever to be able to reassemble the mask again.  I knew enough people there that I didn't need much of a mask and didn't need to wear it for that long but I still needed time to work that out.  "Normal" people would probably just use alcohol but a) I couldn't because I was driving and b) I wouldn't because of the promise to myself that I'm sure I've mentioned earlier.

And so to the evening service on Sunday.  I went because I knew that I needed prayer which I hadn't been able to receive in the morning because it was a big baptism service which was being run with people from our sister church.  Worship and communion were both okay and then it came to the talk.  The focus for the past three weeks has been on healing.  Part of me has been really quite impressed that I'd kept going through all the services so far without a problem but last night was different.  The woman who was speaking used an example of a miraculous healing that involved someone who was in ICU and was brain-dead.  I'm guessing that the story turned out well but I didn't get to hear that bit of the talk.  I got to the point where the husband and random-friend-who-happened-to-work-at-the-hospital were praying for her and stuff happened at which point, I just couldn't sit there any more and ran out of the room in complete and utter floods of tears and shouting, "It doesn't work like that!". I'm not entirely sure if I went cannoning through the double doors into the foyer or whether my friend who was on the sound desk opened them for me.  I'm not sure that I could see properly at that point.  I know I sank to the floor sobbing for ages (by my standards) and there were three people sat with me, praying, when I "surfaced".  It had just all hit far too close to home.  I've stood in ICU with my hand on a leg because it was the only part without any tubes or wires attached.  I've both stood and sat in ICU praying that mad, desperate prayer, "Just heal him, Lord".  I know that feeling of nothing whatsoever happening.  I really didn't need to hear a story where the prayer was answered.  Our minister had said something about giving all our burdens to the Lord at the start of the service and I realised that my heart was too heavy to lift everything to the Lord so I told Him that He'd have to pick them up from where they were.  In doing so, it looks like He made me deal with some of them at the same time.

Anyway, the main outcome of the biggest sobbing fit that I've had in ages is that I feel quite a bit better for it.  I'm still going to keep an eye on how I'm feeling generally, just in case, but I think I really will be all right.

(ps. For those who may be mildly curious as to why I only seem to cry at church.  It feels safe.  There's always someone around to help me and throw boxes of tissues my way.  There's always someone to dispense hugs as required.  The flat frequently lacks all of those (although it does contain a bearded dragon who's clearly been put on this Earth for comedy purposes only).  I've spent too long in previous lives crying by myself in my bedroom and outright avoiding walking into my room if at all possible because all that will greet me is tears and insomnia.  I'm not at uni now though so I can't sleep late and struggle to get up in the same way that I did back then.  I still do both of those but I generally still make it into work before 9am whereas in my uni days, I'd have been skipping lectures left, right and centre at various points by now!)

(pps. Ow!  Tension headache approaching!  Right, I'm definitely calling it a night now.  Redbush tea, paracetamol, ibuprofen and a Bagpuss heatpack on my shoulder and I'll hopefully feel fine in the morning.)

(ppps.  There was something else I was going to say, now what was it????  Ah yes!  I can't remember what the last update was on friend-who-I-have-an-unsuitable-crush-on but everything seems to be a lot more ... suitable at the moment.  Hugs are in pure friendship, there's no warning signs flashing wildly any more.  I think we might be okay there now.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Good days and bad days

And that's all that there really is to the matter.

Last weekend was a good weekend, this one isn't shaping up to be so yet.  The answer is to go out and be sociable but when I feel like this, it's the last thing that I want to do.

Don't even want to write a blog post at the moment even though I'm sure that it'll help me sort my brain out.

I'm fed up of always ending up on my own again.  Our icebreaker at home group was to think of one memory that we would like to preserve forever.  Most of mine have turned bittersweet over the years as life has moved on and relationships have ended and stuff.  I had to go back to when I broke my leg to find one that time could never turn bittersweet.  (God, please don't ever put me in a situation where even that one could turn bittersweet!).  I'm fed up of having to grab moments of happiness where I find them.  I'm fed up of always having to look for the silver lining in every storm cloud because it's the only way I can stay sane.  Is it really too much to ask for my life to stay stable and sane for more than three years at a time?

I feel better now I've said all of that! :o)

Wednesday evening was when I started feeling rough like this and I put it down to having done far too much work during my week "off".  Given that it seems to be lingering for much longer than I expected, I'm going to give myself a deadline of Wednesday 22nd February.  If I'm still feeling particularly bleugh by then with no major let-up in between, then first thing on Thursday morning, I'll be ringing up either my doctor's surgery or the local self-referral mental health team.  I strongly suspect that I'll be okay in the end and won't need any extra help of any shape or form but I also remember from that first summer & autumn that it's very easy to not realise just how bad you've been feeling and for just how long you've been feeling that way.  Setting myself a deadline in public like this is probably going to be the only way that works for me at the moment.  If you're wondering why I've given myself a fortnight before doing anything, it's because this sort of feeling rough only starts counting as a problem when it's lasted for more than 2 weeks.  As it hasn't yet, but I can see that I wouldn't be aware of how long it'd dragged on for, I'm trying to be proactive about making sure I sort myself out properly if I need to.

With all that said and a plan in place, I already feel distinctly less bleugh about things and can already cope with the idea of going out to my friends' mum's birthday tonight.  (That was a difficult sentence to write, it had too many apostrophes to keep track of! :o) )  Earlier on this morning, I was all ready to wuss out and hide at home.  I really am my own worst enemy at times.