Am I Stressed?

With regards to my new job…am I stressed?

As I mentioned yesterday, there are certain challenges I have had to adjust to. I have been tacking, adjusting the sails as it were. The traumatic ordeal that is public transport. Well…leaving earlier definitely makes the daily commute less stressful. I arrive at work much more chilled out by adjusting my travel times.

Learning new processes…well, it is just one of those things. What I have realized is that I cannot fully rely on everything I am told. I have been writing everything down, and typing up my notes. When there is a contradiction of instructions, I probably do need to flag it and ask for some clarification. I love the work I do on Wednesdays. There is a very high volume of monotonous work – and I am good with monotonous work. But on Thursdays and Fridays, it feels as if I have to open detective cases for half of my work – and finding the answers is sometimes more a task for the likes of Sherlock Holmes than myself. I was never really good with mysteries.

Adjusting to new personalities…well, it’s not a huge challenge. I know how to be on friendly terms with people I might not be on the same page as. For the most part, I am just going to keep my head down and knuckle down with work. When I do have a chat with someone, I am going to be careful not to share too much about my personal life, as that is where the differences in our outlooks seem to crop up. It can be a balancing act, because I love people, and I like to show personal interest in others, but after the past two months it seems pretty clear that my outlook is perhaps a little alien to many of my new colleagues.

Am I stressed about these new challenges?

There is fractional stress in commuting, learning and trying to avoid differences of thinking becoming any cause for conflict. But is it really stressing me out? I am experiencing mixed feelings. Some days, I am enjoying my work. Other days, are leaving me feeling demoralised. I am not entirely sure why. Is it people that I seem to have little in common with? Is it pressure to work at a pace that increases the likelihood of making mistakes? I don’t know.

When I think about the roles I have learnt in the past…and the challenges I have overcome…I cannot claim that this new job is really stressful. I mean…come on the adventure I have led in the past few decades has been phenomenal. Would I ever have imagined the challenges in all shapes and sizes that I have faced?

  • Endure eighteen months of serious illness and several surgical procedures before my body was clear of illness
  • Work in finance for ten years
  • Work as a First-Aider for 18 years
  • Train and work in various NHS roles
  • Work in cancer care and train others to render palliative nursing care
  • Learn British Sign Language and become an interpreter and teach other people British Sign Language
  • Teach people how to read
  • Teach English language to university students from other lands
  • Learn to ski
  • Learn to drive a car
  • Learn to drive a lawn mower (you know like Forrest Gump!)
  • Learn how to drive sledges with husky dogs, drive snow-mobile
  • Leave my well-paid job in finance
  • Leave home to go and live on the opposite side of the country
  • Move to London
  • Sing in front of a live audience of strangers
  • Dance in front of a live audience of strangers
  • Work in catering, event-organizing, waitressing, house-keeping and as a tour-guide
  • Become a professional cook
  • Train and work as a legal secretary, a medical receptionist, a health and safety trainer, an editor and proof-reader
  • Leave two jobs because of male bosses who sexually harassed me (that is a polite way of putting it)
  • Learn to mix cement to make mortar for brick-laying
  • Learn construction skills like demolition, laying groundworks, plaster-boarding, roof tiling, upholstery and all aspects of decorating
  • Train others in a variety of construction skills
  • Train a team who had never wall-papered before so we could complete the decorating of a venue in one day
  • Travel to construction projects all over the country on my own
  • Qualify to be an International Volunteer
  • Decline two marriage proposals from good men (who I knew I would not be able to live with)
  • Walk twenty-two miles in one day
  • Run for ten miles
  • Swim five metres across the swimming pool (it took me almost two years after I started my swimming lessons at the age of four to swim a width of the pool on my own, and I still remember how victorious it felt when I finally managed it!)
  • Swim two miles along a river (outdoor swimming)
  • Teach other people how to swim
  • Train to be a life-guard (Pammy Anderson had nothing on moi!)
  • Learn to scuba-dive
  • Help to cut the toe-nails of sheep
  • Earn my living as a gardener
  • Learn to care for ponies, chickens, cows, dogs, and stick insects!
  • Be interviewed on live television
  • Regularly deliver presentations on stages in front of audiences of between 100 to around 1000 people
  • Speak on stage in front of an audience of 15,000
  • Help to evacuate almost 15,000 people from an arena during a bomb-scare
  • Drive a Mercedes Benz (still not sure why they don’t like handbrakes!)
  • Chauffeur two famous VIPs in an emergency to a secret location (and make the return trip)
  • Single-handedly dig an oil-tanker out of the snow
  • Thrive while living off a part-time wage for almost twenty years, live without any wages at all for five years while serving as an International Volunteer
  • Fall in love again (after my teenage sweetheart and I broke up after nine years of courting)
  • Not retaliate despite two years of enduring slanderous gossip
  • Overcome physical injuries and emotional trauma after being the victim of a heinous crime
  • Fall in love with a gorgeous Australian man who was working in England for a couple of years and then say goodbye when he returned home
  • Endure the pain of experiencing a miscarriage
  • Publish daily posts on a website
  • Write poems and publish a poetry book
  • Write and publish novels
  • Save up while working on a part-time wage to go out to Australia for a vacation with my gorgeous Australian, and then return to England heartbroken because I was head over heels in love with him but sensed it was a case of unrequited love
  • Make peace with the man I was estranged with for four years and who seemed to be the reason I became the target of slanderous gossip
  • Fall in love with that same man and agree to marry him

But there is more…because as many of you know, sometimes the worry about what those you love are going through, or the tragedies that have befallen them cause you more anxiety than any of your own challenges:

  • Close friends of our family were crushed to death by a HGV lorry that skidded on an icy road
  • A school friend of mine was murdered
  • The city centre I was shopping in was destroyed by an IRA bomb
  • A male school friend of mine was the victim of a heinous sexual assault by three men
  • A friend of ours lost his sight as a teenager
  • Friends endured court cases connected with abuse they suffered as a child, having to relive the memories that traumatised them, and eventually their abusers were imprisoned
  • Friends have been victims of domestic violence – in some cases, I have driven to their homes to help them “escape” and taken them somewhere safe
  • Relatives were working in Burundi when violence engulfed the region, they had to remain in hiding for days
  • Relatives of mine were seriously injured in traffic accidents in Tanzania
  • Friends have been through failed relationships and divorces
  • Friends have died in acts of suicide
  • Close friends and family have been treated for cancer and other serious illnesses and have recovered
  • Close friends and family have died due to cancer and other serious illnesses – and in several cases, I was there when they took their last breaths and even helped to prepare their body before the undertakers took them
  • Friends have been victims of violent crimes, had their property vandalised and have experienced racism or other forms of discrimination
  • Dear friends of mine have been bereaved of marriage mates, parents, and children, including tiny babies
  • Family members involved in criminal acts were the focus of national news reports and on the front page of newspapers
  • Friends have lost sources of income, had to move out of their homes, sell possessions and considerably simplify their lives

I have to admit, the challenges of getting used to a new commute, a new job with new processes and the new personalities I am interacting with – is it really all that stressful compared with this voyage of a lifetime I have already been travelling on?

There is a fractional amount of stress – yes – but putting things in perspective – I can endure these new challenges that have come along. I may need to utilise some of the previous sailing skills I picked up on this epic voyage of a life time I have been navigating for the past few decades.