work social dynamics: not so easy

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Checking in with Saumya at Randomness Inked for the weekly Gratitude prompt:

What was good about the first month of the decade?

I’m going to cheat a little and take her lead topic: work socializing.

My first month of the year progressed as I anticipated with very small hiccups (but that’s expected as well): I blogged (almost) daily but, of more significance, I posted several posts on many most days. In the attempt to put more effort into my blog, I’m also trying to find my sweet spot: I’m not as personal as I think I could be (but not entirely comfortable with yet so I’m feeling that out) and I think I lack some levity that I appreciate in others’ writings. It most often just depends on the day, the prompt and the time I have to write.

Regarding work, which I have written about (old job and new job), I’m also attempting to find my comfortable spot there as well. Initially I needed to get the ‘job’ down: learn computer programs (still doing that), finding equipment (ditto), getting into a daily rhythm – if that’s even possible with a pager randomly beeping off  – and trying to not get frustrated with myself when things get hectic. The last thing I have put any effort into is getting to know my peers – not that I haven’t thought about it every day.

Autonomy is one of the job’s attractions for me; I am very comfortable being by myself, working by myself for long periods of time. Most weekdays my boss is around as a resource but he isn’t a micromanager, a refreshing change, so when I’m not ‘busy’ I have time to use as I want. I can spend more time with patients, which was one of my objectives when I started this position, but most of the time I stay in the office and peruse charts, try to move around within the computer to find and learn new features, do quarterly or annual ‘online education’ or busy myself with getting to know the facility a little better. Other times I glance over ‘news’ highlights, write on WP, or read from a book (I always bring a book) to take a break & get out of my head. Almost every day goes by pretty quickly and by 4pm I’m getting brain-drain and don’t tax myself doing anything that I don’t have to.

The only thing lacking is my socializing, getting to know other staff members besides passing in the halls and exchanging weak and self-conscious smiles. My ‘problem’ here is that I am socially awkward and what I mean by that is that I don’t share many of the average daily interests and inquiries. I don’t listen to music, don’t watch TV, don’t follow news or social media, don’t have a wide and interesting circle of friends with whom I enjoy entertainment in the forms of restaurants, movies, clubs, travel, concerts, & other activities that people do and share, my children are grown and most of my peers are younger than I. But mostly…I really prefer my own company. The problem that I have with this is; in all of my previous positions I’ve never made friends (wait…I had made 3; three “friends” who are no longer friends because we’ve moved on and the job is no longer the common thread) and this time I want to have more of a connection with my place of employment and the people there.

This facility is located in my ‘home town’ (kinda); I went there as a child patient, I had two of my children there, my mother used to work there (bookkeeper) and, sometimes, I think I might want to relocate a little closer  to ‘home’ – so I want my last 10 or so years of employment to be in this organization and I want to enjoy more ‘ties’ with it. I try to ‘join in’ on the rare occasions that there is ‘cooler-talk’ and I can relate but it’s awkward and it’s frequently – if not always – interrupted by a ringing bell, pager beeping or someone comes along and the trajectory of the conversation is change. It is very difficult for me to ‘hang around’ in a busy environment that isn’t my home location – which, by the way, is located on the very farthest, opposite end of the facility – (for those not familiar with hospital work dynamics: nursing staff/stations are – obviously – the nursing staff’s home base. All other ancillary staff are more like visitors and just loitering about socializing, although it’s not discouraged, it is conspicuous and overstaying is not usually welcomed) so after a brief stopover, I move along.

To wrap up this monologue; my first month of the year went without complaints from me. It was a month with intention: grounding myself at work, increasing my visibility on WP, and generally trying to adhere to a daily conscientiousness.

 

a prompt about books

What book, if any, changed your life? A question posted by Saumya at Randomness Inked and my kind of question because I love books. I am going to answer in the order in which book immediately came to mind.

  1. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert, and a 2015 Pulitzer Prize Winner in General Non-Fiction. I read listened to this years ago and I don’t remember what prompted me to borrow it from the library as it’s a tome that I would probably never have even picked up but once I started listening, I found it fascinating. Fortunately, I was on along road trip (eight hours total), so I was able to complete it by the time I got home, otherwise, it may have been one of those books in which I have to take a break and then I forget all about it. What I most appreciate about this book, what ‘changed my life’, is that it reframed climate change, the history of the extinctions of species, and human existence into a wide-angle lens, so to speak, and I suddenly and inexplicably (to me) no longer suffered anxiety about “what’s going to happen” questions and concerns. Ms. Kolbert does address the negative impact of pollution upon the ozone layer and subsequent climate change but she doesn’t do it with a 2×4 or guilt trip; she simply states the facts as science and then leaves the responsibility of doing something or nothing up to the individual and collective human species (or that’s how I remember it). I found it liberating.
  2. A New Earth: Awakening Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. Some believe Mr. Tolle to be a spiritual teacher and others think he’s a quack. Some people loved the book and others that it was esoteric mumbo-jumbo. This book, like the above mentioned, I read years ago and I can barely describe what it contains without resorting to, “you just need to read it for yourself.” Did it ‘awaken my life’s purpose?’ – No, however, it did, as did the Extinction book, shifted my perception/thinking. Shortly after reading it, I distinctly remember an annual appointment with my PCP, who had been treating & inquiring about my dysthymia, and telling her that this book completely changed me and that I no longer felt depressed or blue or disillusioned (and I no longer felt the need for meds – which I’ve never taken since). It isn’t any easy book and it does require work (retrain your brain) and perseverance, nor would I say it has ‘the answers’ for everyone but, for me, it definitely helped. I have, since first reading it, bought the audio and have re-‘read’.

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OGOG: advice

What advice do you need to give yourself right now?

My immediate advice would be:

Get back to work.

My general advice is:

Use each day to the full. You have a lot you want to accomplish and you don’t know what the future brings (remember, some rogue little cancer cell may be lounging out somewhere trying to start a family). You will regret each day that you squander precious hours when the time comes that you realize you don’t have as much as you thought. So simple and yet so hard.