New job

Life got better. Writing the last post out helped a lot, and I recovered. Thanks for all the kind comments.

I’ve started work and it’s going well. Well, it’s not going particularly well, but I’m handling it well. I’ve become aware that I have pretty bad internal dialogues concerning work and my value. I think I was telling myself that working for a corporation is not worthwhile, that I’m not as good as anyone else for some mysterious reason, that I’m not liked, that my work is meaningless….Well – no wonder I have a tough time at work. I need a lot of counter acting confirmation that I’m OK, just to feel at all acceptable. Plus, it’s like child abuse, that kind of dialogue. I think I was torturing my inner children, scaring them, by saying such negative and scary things. So I’ve stopped doing that as much as possible. I say kind, supportive things to myself instead.

It’s a very uncertain situation. I’ve been stuck in a dark row of cubicles where some new people go, away from the main hub of things. But – it’s nice and quiet and fairly private. I have my own phone, which I didn’t have last time. I am my own boss, in terms of when I go for lunch or take breaks. Yesterday, I don’t think I talked to a single person, so I felt weirded out – abandoned in a cubicle. But – I have time to get familiar with things, there is not a lot of pressure so far anyway. Today I had a small chat with the young woman in the next cubicle, so hopefully we can have a daily five minute chat, which helps.

The manager scares me a bit. I know I wasn’t really his choice of hire – he put out his ad again after he interviewed me, for better candidates. Just, I guess he couldn’t find anyone else. So he seems to have settled for me. I fear he is difficult. He’s said very little to me, and expects me to come up with a plan for his major document, without much input from anyone. Hard to do when you come from outside the organization and don’t know the subject well. And he seems uninterested in usability, which is what I am interested in and can offer. In any event – he hasn’t got much time for me, expects me to figure out an ambiguous project on my own, and seems impatient with anything I say.

But. He is not bullying me. If someone doesn’t like me, it’s OK. I do have a right to information I need to do my job. If he’s reluctant to provide that, I have to work with it, but it’s not my fault.

I’m working on walking around confidently, and speaking confidently. I said something a little negative about myself this morning to the fellow cubicle dweller, and I’m reminding myself I don’t want to do that. I don’t need to tell anyone my difficulties, especially if I don’t know them. I really want to project confidence if at all possible.

I miss the previous long contract, which I had for four years. That manager was so nice. She was so interested in improving her documents, and in getting my input. And I understood what was going on there, and I knew the players. Well, not at first of course. I’ve had this real sense of homesickness for that job this week. I never knew I was so fond of it.

I’ve been doing well with getting up early, getting to work on time, meals, doing the dishes – all things that worried me. Yesterday I even went to the gym after work and did a small workout. It was still difficult to sleep after, but this morning, I felt OK really. No worse than when I have more sleep. I really think if I can survive the anxiety, I’ll get to enjoy some of the anti-depressant effects of exercise. I’m continuing on with it.

I had the thought on the weekend, that a lot of my difficulties come from ‘freaking out’. If I can stay calm, despite various feelings, I will be able to do more, be more like other people. I so much want to have a life besides work. Work is not that fascinating. And I’ve felt a bit of that calm at times this week. That feeling that I’m a grown-up, of course I can do these various things that grown-ups do – work, cook, go places. Maybe it’s a matter of not being taken over by kid feelings to such a large extent. I need to take care of inner kids, but not have them run things. Kid parts are full of fears. Which make sense for children – a child cannot go to work and act grown-up, or cook, etc.

And therapy last week. We talked a lot about exercise. How it’s bringing up body issues for me – how I feel my body is in some way horrible. We talked about high school, gym where I was awkward and inept, grade school where I was always chosen last for teams, and a high school gym teacher who was actually encouraging and kind.

Then my father was very interested in exercise, so we would do sports as a family – skiing, canoeing, hiking. He is very competitive, and bent on everyone having the right technique, so he would very earnestly coach us, criticize us and urge us to do better. I was never much good. So those feelings of resentment also come up for me with the exercising.

Ron thinks it makes sense also that trauma can be shaken loose, ‘like a bubble’, with exercise. So I think that’s happening also.

Wow, I am so tired. That’s it for today.

  1. Ashana M said:

    I’m so happy to hear of all this progress for you. 🙂

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you. 🙂

  2. Cat said:

    Nice to hear how the job’s going, but a cubicle, really? Bosses usually do expect a lot, but so long as he keeps it appropriate and respectful. I imagine you probably underestimate your own abilities. It sounds as if you’re keeping everything in balance, that’s always important.

    Have you ever thought that perhaps your Fathers challenges were not always best suited to you or your age? It almost sets us up for feeling like a failure, like we’re never good enough, everyone is better than us. I don’t mean he did it on purpose, but these things are often done without considering the consequences to the child.

    • Ellen said:

      Yep, I landed in a cubicle farm. That’s mostly par for the course in my line of work though. This boss seems OK, the more I interact with him. Such a relief after the irrational bullying of last time. I’ll find out more next week when I have a meeting set up and we’ll discuss more. He’s maybe stern and focused, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

      About my father – yes! He constantly put me down and compared me to others. When everything in life is a competition, it’s not a recipe for mental well-being. I think I have to fight those harmful messages my father gave me every single day. I understand that even abusive parents, on some level, are doing the best they can. I still resent this. Maybe some day I’ll learn to forgive.

      Thanks Cat.

  3. manyofus1980 said:

    I’m glad your settling in to your new job. Its always difficult at first. It sounds like your trying as hard as you can to manage things and you should be proud of yourself. Sending hugs. xxx

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