Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Conflict - Part 2 - Work stuff

Yep, this is me in one of my jobs :)
I wasn't expecting to do this post quite so soon, but I thought it would be good to articulate the kind of conflicts that have been going on within me over the subject of work, for the last few years.

My work history has been limited and, in the last few years, somewhat frazzled. After a fairly steady job at Liverpool Victoria (now LV=) who were good to me after I had a couple of long term absences when having the two breakdowns. After moving to Yorkshire, it was clear before too long that I was no longer passionate about working in accounts. To cut a long story short, I did a few temporary jobs, and then became unemployed for a year after the recession really started to bite. I then took a job in Harrogate for a company that wasn't particularly ethical and is no longer trading. The job started off well and I worked in a team of two where me and my colleague were very much on the same page, which was great.

Most of the people there were working under a lot of stress, although my job didn't get too stressful until a bit later on. But it wasn't great. I had a boss who I didn't see eye to eye with, and it was a bit of a blessing in disguise to be made redundant. I then got a temporary job in another organisation, which in itself was okay, but I didn't enjoy the job itself - it was very mind numbing and quite pressurised, and I would sometimes go home in a right state. After an outburst at work one time, it was clear that I had to leave, and I did so soon afterwards.

I then went through a fairly traumatic time after one or two things didn't work out, came to live in Huddersfield and probably should have taken some time out then. I found a job a little while later which probably made the other two jobs seem tame in comparison.



I don't think the effects of work stress should be underestimated. During my time at Liverpool Victoria, I would perhaps have one really bad day once or twice every three months, and most days were okay. In my last three jobs, I had really bad days probably at least four or five times in a month, and a lot of days were just about bearable rather than okay.

Now I've been out of work for nearly a year, and am hoping to take some steps towards getting back into work. This time, I want to ensure that I get whatever help I need - I simply cannot afford to have another stressful job in view of my high sensitivity and past history.

I struggle with a lot of the work culture of today - and I certainly don't think nature intended for us to be slaves to a monetary system. Much of the corporate mentality is about winners and losers, and, particularly in the last few years, it seems to have become a badge of honour to work until you drop and to 'thrive under pressure' (don't even get me started on that one). One of the most harmful mentalities that has creeped into society in the midst of the recession is that 'you should be grateful to have a job'. I'm sure this is part of the reason why it seems more acceptable now for employers to treat their staff like shit and overwork them - when really, a lot of employees should be well within their rights to go on strike and demand that they get treated more fairly and get paid more. Sports Direct and the like, are you listening ...

Plus I don't enjoy the whole process of looking for work - fortunately, the DWP have understood my situation and so I haven't been put under the horrible pressure of having to apply for a certain amount of jobs, many of which I might not even want.

Perhaps one of the biggest conflicts I have is my lack of qualifications and uncertainty over what I really want to do. On the surface of things, it seems that most people have done better than me in terms of career. Perhaps this time of great uncertainty will catapult me into something I didn't expect. But there's the feeling of 'I could and should have done so much better' or 'I wish I'd escaped Christianity sooner and become more confident earlier'. I know that I'm worth more than a basic and/or stressful accounts job that I don't want to do.

And then, there's the guilt. Western society has drummed into us that we should be working and that work is a virtue, even though many people know deep down that they don't really want to be doing what they do - which is why there is a lot of resentment towards the unemployed, from people who should know better, and most of whom would not be able to cope with being on benefits anyway. Sometimes, I struggle for motivation to do anything much, and part of me says 'you should be working'.
There's also the feeling of being undeserving of having a job because of my chequered work history, and because there are others out of work. Part of me wishes I could be really motivated to apply for lots of jobs that I'd like to do .. but the reality is different and I can't force myself to change. I am in total agreement that there should be a Universal Basic Income. I think this could potentially cut out some of the jobs that are totally meaningless and unnecessary - and encourage more people to volunteer to do things that are more useful for the environment. One of the biggest diseases in our society is that there are people working in soul destroying, mind numbing jobs, just to pay the bills.

It is not wrong to work hard, but having structured hours is not good. Working so many hours that you hardly have time or energy to spend with your family is definitely not good - and I sometimes wonder how parents manage to bring up children in this day and age.
Unemployment is also not good. It seems like we have one extreme to the other - working too hard, or not working. Whilst it is possible to keep yourself occupied through volunteering and other things, unemployment isn't particularly good for the soul. So yes I do want to find or create some work for me which will bring in some money and get me more integrated into society again .. but my mental health has to come first now. I allowed my brain to take a pounding from work that was mentally draining and stressful. This cannot happen again.

I have had to trust the universe a lot this year. I am blessed that I live in a country which has a degree of compassion towards people going through hard times - but that doesn't mean the journey has been easy. I struggle with a lack of motivation, feeling deflated, and sometimes I just need to take time out to heal. I do not know where things are heading .. hopefully getting these things out in writing will help and also might be able to help others. Whilst a writer talking about subjects like I do will always be writing partly for themselves, it would feel wrong if I was unable to help anyone else.

Until later ..






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