A Ripple from Before

One of the greatest opportunities I have ever been afforded, was the very first step in my career. I was yet to graduate from Uni, with no experience in my field, voluntary or otherwise, and I had applied for a head office job as a customer service attendant.

What I thought I had was zero to none in chances of breaking through, not in the job I had applied for anyway. What I was given was a chance. A chance to be out of my depth and to learn quickly or sink. It was a job that should have been 2 or 3 years too senior for me. I felt like I had skipped the queue.

Recently, I found myself thinking about this. I mean, I regularly look back on my career, but I had never truly took the time to appreciate that it someone stuck their neck out, and rolled the dice. Somebody said I was worth the risk.

Which led me to this week, when I did something I should have done a long time ago. I thanked that person. You see, for a matter of circumstances, I only ever worked for that risk taker for a period of weeks. And then they weren’t there, not for the rest of my time with that company.

During my reflection, it occurred to me that often in life, we don’t get the chance to look back on someone else’s actions which have affected us so much, and get the chance to approach them so much later. So I felt obliged to say my piece and recognise the ripple they have had in my life.

It was somewhat cathartic. Almost laying to rest that part of my life, once and for all. Who knows whether I’ll have that chance ever again. But I hope that my message has just as strong an effect on them, as they did on me.

Guise.

Connected

For someone who can often openly describe himself as happily anti-social, it makes for the perfect foil when I find myself the loudest in the room, or leading a training session, or even craving social interaction.

At the same time, I tire of social settings as quickly as I adjust to them, when I thrust myself (or am thrust) into them.

For a long time, I felt bad wanting to be the first to leave, or wanting to leave “just when the parties getting started”, or wanting to eat my lunch alone, in a solitary crevice of the office. But it’s a recent area of change for me, the comfort in doing me. The comfort in knowing myself better than I ever have, and the strength to do what makes me happy and comfortable. Not in any sort of selfish way, by all means, if the occasion calls for it, I’ll suck it up, throw myself back into the midst of it all, and do what’s best in the situation.

So I guess the point of this musing is small and simple, and that is that it’s okay to not be what everybody wants you to be all of the time, but there is definitely value in allowing yourself to be in unfamiliar, uncomfortable, or just irregular situations. Sometimes it’s where we have the most fun. But we can do it with balance, knowing our limits, and being flexible.

Guise.

Small Talk

Something that I’m definitely not good at is small talk. It makes me uncomfortable, feel stupid, and offers a hollow feeling in pretending to connect with someone. It’s safe to say, I do not like small talk.

There is, however, a form of conversation that I enjoy even less than that, and that is gossip. As soon as my brain registers that we the conversation has transitioned to gossip, I’m checked out. My consciousness goes to a subconscious place, hiding itself from the incoming discord of rumour, innuendo, unsubstantiated assumptions, and biased conceptions of past experiences.

Quite simply, I’m aware of the benefits of this primal form of human collaboration. A primordial connection to others through the discussion of a third party and their habits and idiosyncrasies. I understand that everyone of us use it to build relationships, and that it is a safe ground away from the taboo topics of small talk, but I am curious where my instinctual aversion of the topic has developed.

And I wonder, knowing that this form of communication and social bonding is important to us, why do we spend so much more time on this, than we do on the discussion of ideas, thoughts, opinions and innovations. Why are we happy to accept that the dealings of the Kardashians can make the nightly news, reaching a mass audience in an instant, but in order to hear the discussion of real world people’s ideologies and challenges, we have to resort to the niche corners of Reddit and the rest of the internet.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that we have this ability to connect and share with other individuals in the same mindset as myself, but for how long. With the looming threat towards net neutrality in the United States, do not be fooled to think that won’t affect the rest of the globe.

So the question I leave you with today is, what have you done this week to discuss something bigger? What information have you absorbed from sources other than your mainstream news organisations, Facebook feeds, and radio advertisements.

If we hope for a population of individuals, thinking for themselves, challenging the decisions of our leaders constructively, and pressuring the major news articles to raise the quality of reporting and removal of bias, then that starts with each of us.

Guise.

A Line of Production

Every now and then, I find myself being productive.

It happens not out of preparation, nor is it borne of any guilt, intrigue, or opportunity. And there is plenty of guilt within to motivate me if that actually worked. No, rather it’s an urge, a sudden realisation that I am already within the productive mode and a feeling that, well I’m here now, so let’s just do as much as possible and ride the wave.

This is a magical time where rooms are cleaned, doors and drawers are fixed, overdue appointments are booked, and so on. These periods of being productive take a lot of weight off the to do list, which is great for everyone involved.

I guess this seems like an odd thing to be writing about this week, right? I’m not the kind of person that gets off on getting shit done, which is one of the characteristics which frustrates me about myself. I doubt myself, distract myself, confuse myself, and convince myself that everything will be sorted on another day, at another time, or in another place. So when I’m in the midst of manic productivity, I try and use it to the best of my ability.

One of the few things that I have noticed over the years which sends me into this mode is responsibility. An overwhelming sense of obligation. If my inaction (or action) is going to affect other adversely, I am triggered into it. and God help you if you get in my way once I’m there.

I feel like the reason I’m sharing this thought with you today, is that as much as I hate that I am programmed like this, and despite my efforts to change otherwise, I’ve learned to work with it. When I’m not feeling productive, I do my best to enjoy the downtime. Use it, harness it to recharge, to build myself up for the challenges ahead.

This isn’t a happy story, but maybe a helpful one.

Guise.

A Broker named Existence

We’ve heard the term “borrowed time” in films, songs, books, tv and probably even used it ourselves at least once in our lives. It’s one of those paradoxical idioms we glaze through, unfiltering what we actually mean by using it other than colloquially whipping off some response to make it sound like we’re listening.

But it’s quite a morbid term to use as liberally as we do. Tugging at the existential heart-strings of our psyche. Whether we’ve done deals with the devil, or simply been graced the chance to live a life we didn’t ask for (that I know of), we exist within a bracket, a set of two dates. A set of time which is not ours, but with which we use.

It makes you wonder, maybe even ponder, the purpose of this debt. The reason we were granted a chance to achieve a goal we were never set.

I guess that is the beauty of this existence. We are given a chance to do whatever it is our minds and hearts desire. A chance to choose our outcomes, or at the very least influence the path we are walking on. Making as many poor decisions as we do wise ones. Learning new skills, having unique or common experiences, creating memories for ourselves or others.

Want to make a lot of money and obtain a socially valued status.. go for it. Want to travel the world and share your stories with anyone willing to reach with an ear.. knock yourself out. Want to have a family and pass on your genetics to survive another generation.. heck, life doesn’t even care if you should, so why not? Maybe you want all of the above and more, well, nothing is impossible.

It’s a beautiful life, or maybe just a beautiful concept. Either way, you’re in debt, so go and enjoy it whilst you can.

Guise.

 

A Moment Defined (Vol.1)

This time last year, I had just rejected an extension to my employment contract after two long years at the same company. It was a decision I didn’t make lightly. Although the work was frustrating and change seemed impossible there, it was a comfortable job with great benefits (not so much the remuneration).

When I came into the job, it was off the back of feeling like a failure leaving the job before. Caveat to this, I must mention that when I look back now, three years on, I no longer believe myself to have failed, rather I achieved as much as I could despite the barriers outside of my control.

So feeling like a failure, for the second time in two jobs, I started in a role I was barely qualified for. Responsible for more than I’d ever been responsible for before, unsure of my knowledge and capability, I was at a point doubting that I was ever capable of succeeding in my field. But over the space of 2 years, I had the leader that I needed. One who was willing to be strong at the right times, and trusted me to make mistakes and learn from them. 24 months of being empowered proved to be everything I needed. And so I reached a point where I could learn no more from that leader. We had reached the max of what could be achieved in that dynamic.

With that in tow, I turned down the extension. I left that employer with nowhere to go, but not empty-handed. I entered a difficult labour market with 2 years more experience and all the confidence that I could hold. I was employable, at the very least. But I wasn’t just looking for employment. i wanted somewhere that I could make a difference, somewhere that I could feel the culture just through the recruitment process, which had the right pieces of the puzzle in the right places.

But two months without a job and multiple interviews each week without finding that place hits that confidence like a sack of sh…eets.

Thankfully I found the place I was looking for shortly after that two month mark, and almost a year on, I’m still very happy and optimistic. But this is a short story of defining moments, and whilst there have been a number of defining moments in my life, today is appreciates this one.

Back yourself. Sometimes in life we need to jump into the dark and trust our instincts (based on fact). At times, hindsight will help us to regret these decisions, but even with that, we know we made the decision for the right reason.

Guise.

Sibling Separation

Separation appears to be the flavour of the month. 

It’s a strange human experience, to willingly watch normal become odd, routine become disruption. The ever changing reality of life means that we are often separated from friends, colleagues, family members, pets, familiar places and spaces. 

I say it is a strange experience, but if anything, with modern medicine at the level it is now, conflict being confined to far fewer countries, and rising property prices, we are actually separated from what is familiar far less than ever before in human history. 

But I think strange is still fair word for this experience, because for some, separation is good, for some it’s bad, and for most it’s often a balance between the two. 

It is strange to make decisions which removes us from familiarity, but we do so anyway. 

And so I think the emotion involved in separation is an example of the advanced nature of human consciousness. Our pets don’t feel any positive being separated from us, nor would they willingly separate themselves from this familiarity (assuming you’re not an abusive owner). 

But I digress.  

Happy House-warming. 

Guise.