Love what you do

I had the most wonderful privilege of going on a supremely relaxing holiday with my Mum and daughter. There was glorious food, incredible surroundings and impeccable service. But this is not my focus, it was the contrast of coming home and visiting the supermarket that struck a chord.

I had completed my post holiday essentials shop in my local supermarket, cereal, milk, chocolate spread and some apples (these are key items in my existence) and went to the self-scan machine. I always inwardly berate myself whenever I use these machines, as more often than not there is a problem. My items don’t scan, discounts don’t come off, the weight of the items is deeply problematic, and sweet Moses you need to get your produce into the bag fast before the machine questions your commitment to bagging said item. However today I had a new problem, I had remembered to bring my reusable shopping bags and they were too heavy. The machine advised that my heavy bags necessitated the assistance of a member of staff. I called over said man of green, to which he barked at me that I could ‘Just click the ‘add bag’ button’ before he stalked off to contend with a product weight issue (I assume, based on the most likely contender). My lasting feelings about this encounter was this man really did not like his job.

Having just experienced the glorious highs epic customer service compared to this equally epic low several thoughts occurred to me.

  1. If you don’t enjoy something, find something else.
  2. The people in my local farm shop are always chirpy.
  3. The self-scanning machines are taking jobs. And customer sanity.
  4. Maybe supermarkets breed unhappy people.
  5. Maintaining happiness and motivation must be really hard for big organisations.
  6. People who represent a company are in the precarious position of being human.
  7. If people’s only motivation to work is money, can that ever be enough?

When I have been in jobs that I haven’t enjoyed, I have rarely stayed long. A job that doesn’t sustain you in some way is not something that should be a long term commitment. My most favourite jobs (other than what I do now) were highly physical jobs. They came with the perk of diabolical pay, but I came home covered in mud and physically tired and that felt good. And working in an office, looking after a filing system. This was good money for a job where my primary focus was to track down missing files. I have never particularly linked how much I am paid for a job to my happiness. If I enjoy something, then to a large degree, the money feels immaterial. This is likely because for a long time I wasn’t happy, so if something provides happy, it is precisely where I want to be!

And then there’s the subject of worth. Maybe my lack of connection to finances is down to ascribing a monetary value to my time, to me. It feels uncomfortable at some level having to decide my worth. That I have worth. But it is curiously empowering when I do. Recently for a job that I have been doing for around three years, the company suddenly decided that they only wanted to pay half of what I had been charging. I said no. I didn’t get excited or cry (shock or anger generally provokes tears.. then people think I am sad, and feel sorry for me. I am not sad, I am a ball of magmas rage, in liquid format!), I simply explained my worth. If someone wants my time, wants the skills and experience that I have, then that comes at a price. Knowing what I will and won’t accept in employment feels like a huge thing for my self-esteem. I have inherent worth and getting paid well to do something I love is a muchly beautiful thing.

Map Point. What is my inherent worth?

 

Post no. 95

My self-imposed mission was to write every day for a hundred days, which, until day ninety-four, was going really well! I am now shy by around a week’s worth of posts, which would have put me over my goal, but now my days of chaos are over, I can resume. This is really important to me, for so many reasons.

I have many reasons for wanting to write this blog. The first is this is what I love doing. I love to write. I get to be my authentic self in my blogs, no pretence, it is like having a truly non-judgemental friend who I can talk to. Sometimes writing is a catharsis, a quiet place to explore, analyse and ponder. Feeling connected to others, even if through the medium of the screen, tells me that my world is bigger.

The advent of master’s degree is approaching and writing every day was something of a test for me. I needed to know writing many words consistently was something that I could achieve. This has given me a strength, a determination that I wasn’t sure I had. It feels like a milestone in my life to realise that I am much more than I think.

So to the things that have kept me away. My volunteer work with my daughter’s school became crazy busy, and at the same time, everything else did too. My daytimes were spent in activity, and my night times were spent longing for my bed. I had no energy to create, no energy to simply be. I think this is important for me to reflect on. My energy reserves were being directed to an area that subtracted from every other. I was spent.

So now, I am back writing. I am relaxing back into the familiar. I feel energised by putting pen to paper. I am home.

Map Point. Why do I allow certain things to drain my energy?

 

Fourth letter

Dear Spidey,

I can’t remember how old you were when I first met you, but think you were possibly fourteen. You are eighteen now, and the transformation that I have seen in you has been nothing short of miraculous. In some ways, your journey felt comparable to my own.

When I started tutoring you as you were unable to get to school because of anxiety, you were nervous, hesitant, but had a massive passion for learning which radiated through you. It was remarkable to be able to see the such massive leaps forward that despite everything else, you tackled astonishingly.

I left school a few months before my A Level exams as my anxiety became crushing, I was simply happier not to be there, and for me too, it was never about the work that I had to complete. I love learning too. I remember saying to you once that if you turned up or not to tutoring did not affect me, it would only affect you. You countered this by saying that I would miss out on what I loved doing, and you were utterly right.

Reading ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ and ‘The Merchant of Venice’ with you was an experience that will stay with me for a long time. Seeing you grasp new ideas, evolve within the language and develop your own style utterly inspired me. From someone who was coping with a great deal, and learning so much about yourself at the time, the leaps that you made educationally is something that can never be taken away from you. And you shone.

So this is a thank you for the privilege of being able to watch you grow as a student (and also in height.. I sense that the day will come pretty soon when you will overtake me.. bleak times!) and for how much you prompted me to take my own learning further than I could have imagined. You taught me too.

Love always

Sally

P.S. ‘The Vegetarian’ is still waiting!