Of overtime and Work Ethics 

Sleep, shower, cook, eat, work, cook, eat, sleep – rinse and repeat.  This pay period is going to go a long way in easing some of my financial stress at least.  We’re incredibly busy and they opened the gates for overtime for pretty much as many hours as I decide I want to work!

And so if there’s a shift I have taken it, it’s been 10-14 hour days since Tuesday and I’m scheduled through the weekend and Monday I will most likely grab shifts for the rest of the week this weekend.  Sure I’m a bit tired and I need to get some time for homework but I’m grabbing the hours while I can.

I’m taking Tuesday off to do laundry and general homework not to mention catch up on sleep and some self care.  All told however I really don’t mind these long hours, keeps me out of trouble. Yesterday was supposed to be a short day (8 hours) with me scheduled to start at 3 the morning felt like I had a day off!!

Well, until they called me at 9:30 to see if I could go in “as soon as possible”.  Today?? 11-7 but of course all day yesterday they kept asking and hoping I would go in closer to 8 this morning, I might but I’m not sure yet.  It’s 5:30 and I’m not able to get back to sleep so perhaps after I’ve read my beloved paper I’ll meander in.

With my life being so bumpy the last few years its been a while since I’ve “been great” at something and honestly I’m enjoying that feeling again.  Granted it is a crap job, minimum wage in a call center a temporary solution for immediate need but I still have pride in my work again.  I’ve been top closer every day this week and by a good margin at that getting me pretty much a golden ticket to work whenever and however I want.  

They simply leave me alone to rock my phone and I enjoy that, I feel sorry for the other poor saps who line the isles with coaches constantly walking up and down looking over shoulders giving corrections and cutting those that are having a bad day.  I think that it would drive me mad!  The conversations in the break room are all the same “they won’t give me hours, I’m not making any money!! Waaaah”.

Simple bit of advice guyzos, maybe if you worked the dialer on a consistent basis instead of reading and coloring waiting for the dialed to work you, you might just get more accomplished.  I don’t like to sit and wait for my next call, I drop the dialer into manual mode and slam calls 100% of the time I’m at that desk.  It’s a numbers game, if I can fire off 1500 calls in a shift I’m going to close some surveys, even with bad data full of disconnected numbers.

I digress, it seems work ethic is lost on the generations after mine (I’ve been feeling a tad old lately realizing generation X hasn’t been a thing for a long while now).  The good majority of my coworkers are young kids and those that are older are there because much like me hard on luck.  News flash, your going to continue to be hard on your luck as long as you prioritize getting stoned above getting ahead!  Just because pots legal here doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to smoke up before your shift at during break!  It slows you down and kills productivity, don’t space out and then bitch when you get cut!! Thicken your skin, suck it up, and do your job!

I suppose this has turned complete rant this morning, hah!  I honestly am feeling much better about myself today though.  Being able to take pride in my work again regardless of how menial that work may be.  And knowing it won’t always be this call center.

In the coming days I meet with an old friend to talk about going back to the tech industry.  This decision I did not take lightly as there is a risk I burn out and go off the rails again, I debated with myself for weeks over the possibilities and deliberately chose this particular friend to work for to protect myself and have no interest in a high level position, I’ve simply outgrown the complex rat race life.

And so, for today I will have the breakfast I am currently cooking, read my paper, call my friend, and I think I will go in at 11.

No matter what you do, take pride in it as it makes the work easier!

~J

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Unless You’re Jim Henson Don’t Expect to Change Shit

If everything around you fails expectations perhaps it’s your expectations?

Yesterday was a very rough day for me in fact it’s been a rough couple of days but today especially. Today I saw my grandparents off to move to Arizona, the home I consider to be my family home will soon be listed and no longer be the place I’ve always felt the safest. Today my aunt and I had much to do so we did what we do best… we did (if that makes sense). We had a three day plan to get things done and at the time of this writing we’re pretty much done granted there are a few cleanup things tomorrow.

Naturally as family is people get “volunteered” and others that volunteer themselves end up having an expectation set. Well, needless to say we had most everything done before the help was even awake. Aside from the emotional frustration, the tiredness from working so hard, the sadness, the everything…. Well so my work shift gets cancelled, traffic was a pain in the rear, I haven’t had a full night sleep in days in fact I’m lucky if I get more than half hour spurts peppered with nightmares, my patio is flooded from the rain due to my piss poor property manager, yadda, yadda, yadda.

After all was said and done while sitting down with my wonderful auntie and relaxing for a bit before coming home and chatting (well bitching about things really) I realized that everyone has emotions affected by others, I honestly knew this but a lot of times at least for me knowledge often gets buried in current emotions. For some random reason I blurted out “Yeah, unless your Jim Henson, don’t expect to control shit!” hence the title of this post, we both laughed but realized it’s entirely true!!

So taking this into account I suppose I can focus on the things within my bounds of control, most notably my perception of things! I can also control my external reaction regardless of my perception and emotional state should I choose. If Bob decides to scream at me for wearing brown shoes with my black pants I can simply nod and smile rather than argue the fact that my most comfortable shoes are brown, chances are with a reaction like this I will walk away feeling better than I would if I were to engage in a senseless argument that serves no purpose other than to raise tension.

Interesting way to think in my opinion when I begin to dissect it as I would most likely not be entirely aware that I am in a better emotional state by not engaging in the argument with Bob who I cannot control this brings a new angle to the already complex conundrum of focusing on what I can control. In this manner even though I can control my perception and external reaction to a degree I truly cannot control it completely as I would be unaware of what I would experience should I have behaved or taken things in a different light. The best way I can break this down to myself is to compare true skydiving to one of those indoor skydiving activities, unless I experience both I cannot truly make any comparisons as to which is better for me.

Does this mean I should try reacting or perceiving multiple ways? Perhaps the perception part in multiple angles would benefit me as a whole but I think if I were to attempt negative reactions in many situations I would be worse off and the experiment while interesting would most likely destroy me over time. So maintaining an attitude towards perception from multiple angles but tempering my reactions to keep them positive might just be a better way to go for a healthier lifestyle overall.

Perhaps the fact that I cannot play the puppeteer as the great Jim Henson was and let the external entities that I cannot control provide me with ideas and inputs to other perceptive angles could act as a strong “growth hormone” to my own internal perceptive traits. Perhaps over time allowing my perceptive traits to grow would provide me with more depth in which to set my own roots as to who I am overall? After all, just as I cannot control those around me; those around me cannot control me and this is the beauty of individuality! Should I have more depth of perception I might posses a stronger sense of tolerance and understanding and by providing a more positive display of reaction might illicit change in something that I cannot control for the better.

Today I will try to maintain a positive external display of myself while still remaining open to others perceptions.

~J

 

A Real Bummer

Down but not out

Last week I wrote about my goal of a career change and in particular a position that I interviewed for which had gotten me incredibly excited and wanting. Today I received word that they offered the position to someone else with a little more experience in the actual position. The president did mention in the email that he wanted to keep my name on file as he expects to be hiring again within a month or two and I would be his first choice. He also praised me on my eagerness to work for them. I absolutely wanted this job and must say that right now I’m feeling slightly crushed.

Fact is, finding a job is hard work even for qualified individuals and I cannot let this keep me from forward progress. I have established a massive amount of forward momentum over the past few weeks and letting a small setback drive me to quit is just not an option. Matter of fact I should be looking at this from the positive standpoint, all of the communication I received was directly from the president (and owner) of the company and each time he praised my eagerness and follow through. The fact that he stated “first choice” for the next opening is a very good sign as well.

 I can never go back to my old ways and survive

So dear readers, I must continue on forward. I may be feeling down today but I am not out of the game by any means. Changing careers is a difficult thing to do, applying for jobs that I have no direct qualifications or experience in while having a strong work history in a field that most consider a better paying / higher level career track. I understand the fears of potential employers that I may jump ship for better pay, and what the future holds for me is still uncertain but I do know one thing; I can never go back to my old ways and survive.

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As for today, I’ve spent a while firing off some applications and resumes and went straight to my most recent comfort activity of cooking!!

That which is well seasoned is bound to be good,

~Joe

An Honest Discussion About ADHD and Self-Medication

A Little Story With a Big Boogeyman

Authors Note: This is the longest and probably most difficult article I have written thus far, it was originally intended to be posted as my second article with an entirely different title and subject.  As I wrote to illustrate my point the article changed drastically into what is essentially a part of my life story.  As raw as I have tried to be in writing this, I will not be adding any pictures or fancy quotes, just the article as I completed it.  As always, and in particular with this one please let me know your feedback, ideas, rants, anything.  And look forward to at least 3 off shoot articles from things that came to mind during the writing of this one. A PDF version of this article for sharing can be downloaded here.  ~Joe

I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD more times in my life than I’ve stubbed my toe or hit my funny bone combined. Quite often people will comment that I also have a bit of OCD (more on that later). I wanted to take some time to explore how I have turned my so called “disorder” into positive adaptations that have brought me success and an interesting life. I also wanted to examine how my failed attempts at self-medication has caused destruction of those successes and held me back. All told, when I am thinking clearly I can honestly say I would never trade this so called “disorder” for anything.

I’m going to start by framing the view of ADHD I have come to adopt, it was once explained to me that ADD, ADHD, and many other similar so called disorders are in fact nothing more than different evolutionary types of “brain wiring”. The tag “disorder” is merely a societal method of coping with a version of personality that may not fit the present view of “normal”. To be more detailed as it relates to ADHD vs. “The Norm” it was described as a hunter / farmer relationship. It is not so much that we have developed disorders as it is that society itself has changed.

The hunter (being ADHD) has to maintain a high level of alertness and be ready to snap into quick hyper focused action during a hunt, or dangerous situation. The farmer (current norm) has to maintain a great deal of routine planting, watering, sowing crops on a clockwork schedule. This made perfect sense to me and I have built on this theory since it was first presented to me as a young man. Centuries ago the hunter could have been considered the norm or, in the very least the respected ones in society as survival required the natural skills to respond and react to danger for protection as well as prey for sustenance. Whereas presently in most modern cultures systems are in place to provide our protection, food, materials, and services for us without the need to hunt them down. Society itself has changed to a more routine mindset and over a great number of decades this mindset has become the norm pushing other thought patterns out into the fringes that we label “disorders”.

So now that I have described my viewpoint on ADH (omit the D) let me go back to the OC (again omitting the D) has come to play in my life. I have always been incredibly disorganized (a common trait for ADD / ADHD of course) often late, forgetting commitments, masterful at procrastination, quick to panic (and often get flash angry) when things spiraled out of control. Over time I began to force myself to organize, keeping things “just so” and religiously using alarms, lists, and stacks of notebooks to “normalize” my life. I *Made* myself OCD! Did I need to go to such lengths? Probably not, but the structure put me in a position to be incredibly superior in what I did, efficient and effective.

Well, hooray? One of the dynamics of ADHD is that of extremes, extremely distracted, extremely focused, extreme emotions, and so on. As I began to achieve my personality changed immeasurably, often cocky and egotistical, opinionated, boisterous, argumentative, and overly driven, I became an ass. I developed a fear of failure and a need for achievement that was so intense that success itself became an end game that meant I would no longer have something to do. This end game had to be avoided at all costs, add to this a deep seated emotional view that I didn’t deserve success, and a self-destructive cycle that would inevitably devastate my life as I knew it began.

Something happened to me, I became human. I had injected myself into a lifestyle that was hyper paced with little to zero room for a recharge. I had stormed castles that were beyond my ability to protect after capture, pillaged items that I had no means of transporting, I had overextended myself without consideration for anything, completely reckless. I began to self-medicate, drinking at first to relax and calm down, or in many cases to wine and dine a potential client, to be social, nothing too heavy.

Moderation and judgement were short lived, as soon in the same ways that I had trained myself to be obsessive / compulsive about my organization I had trained myself to be a highly functioning alcoholic. I could perform the most complex and intricate tasks perfectly while under the influence. This combination of achievement mixed with self-medication worked for me, until it didn’t.

I very quickly began making mistakes, forgetting to do things, losing my edge. The emotional distress caused by failure, or sometimes just perceived failure brought me to my knees. I began drinking to black out and numb myself no longer did I care about the buzz or enjoyment. Socially having a few drinks gave way to hiding in my workshop drinking vodka straight by the gallon with passing out being the only thing that would stop consumption; coming to and restarting the process at the wee hours of the morning.

I had crossed a very thin line from a treacherous path directly into absolute obliteration of my life as I knew it. I spent the next several years in a repetitive cycle of clawing my way to recovery only to fall right back into the pit of relapse, soon I had torched all but my own mere existence. At the time of this writing I am sober, slowly and carefully working to reconstruct my life. I say reconstruct rather than rebuild as I have come to the realization that in order for me to continue I must work towards something that does not resemble what I was.

I originally started this article thinking that I might do a list of “tips” on ADHD self-management; I had a pretty good start until I began to truly examine my experiences over the long run. Lucky for me there is this wonderful invention called the backspace key! I decided instead to illustrate my view of ADHD and the plight I experience that is self-medication and perhaps finish off with some positive lessons that I have learned. I am a firm believer that mistakes are nothing more than learning opportunities that begin with a negative consequence. This does not make mistakes bad, in fact it is probably more beneficial to start with the negative and end with the positive rather than the other way around (this thought may be a topic for another discussion).

So, in many self-improvement and recovery programs there are aspects of creating “lists” if you will of ideas, goals, accomplishments, dreams, mistakes, etc. 12 step groups often refer to this as an “inventory”, many of the RBT (rational behavioral therapy) or CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) types use “lifestyle balance” tools. In any case I thought it important to look over some of my own past “lists” to continue this article. Below is a small cropping of notes I took while going over several journals and lists that I have created (the types of tools I used will be in the footnotes):

Positives Negatives
Serial Entrepreneur Flighty and aloof
Self-taught high level IT High strung
Flexible in task shifting Low frustration tolerance
Successfully built business Poor time management
High level of economic understanding Poor personal finance management
Ability to learn new things very quickly Bored with new things very quickly
High level of analytics Overly critical at times
Incredibly fast at accomplishing tasks Often cannot say no
Able to talk to anyone Sometimes present false masks to protect myself
Driven Low self esteem

This is in no way an exhaustive list, in fact creating this list was exhausting!! The good news here as I see it is that I’m examining my strengths and weaknesses. Again I must state that I am program agnostic however, the 12 step program has a very immaculate way of describing this in the terms of “taking inventory” and “defects of character”. My personal experience is that it is all too easy to get lost in the negatives when taking such an intensive look at myself and with my new goal of reconstruction I decided to focus on the positive aspects and try and narrow what has become a 2 page list of sometimes incoherent ramblings down to a simple sentence.

I am a flexible individual who is highly energetic, driven, curious, and capable of attacking new challenges while maintaining a high degree of integrity, honesty, and open communication.

That simple statement took me hours to come up with, and I am seriously considering writing it on my bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker much like I used to write my to do list when I first started my career in IT. My point for this whole long explanation of my history with ADHD and self-medication is that self-medication in itself is not always bad; it is the way in which we choose to self-medicate that defines the results.

To further explain my theory on this I would like to describe my new methods of working with my so called “disorder”. With my reconstruction I have really put a lot more effort on living a healthier lifestyle, my sleeping habits, my morning routines, the food I eat, beverages I consume, my activity as a whole. In the past I kept myself so busy with my drive that I often forgot to take care of myself, I have found that changing this dynamic has helped me to become a lot more rational and has opened a window of opportunity for me to learn a better way to control my shifting of focus.

While this method of self-management is new to me, I can attest that even in these early stages I feel much more centered, focused, at peace with my history, and overall I am happy with the direction I am going. It has been a long time since I could say that! And yes I am still driven, excitable, inquisitive, energetic, and scatterbrained at times but I am back to learning how to harness those traits rather than shutting them out with alcohol. Since beginning this journey of attempting to write a positive article for each day I have noticed an overall general calm about myself, I’ve experienced no cravings, no urges, not even a thought of my affliction as it relates to today or tomorrow.

My hope is that I can maintain this forward progress and become a better human being I owe it to myself as well as my family and friends; and I would like to think that maybe, just maybe my smattering of words into the internet might help someone else.

Take it out of park,

~Joe