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?



Inner peace

Anger. Out of all the emotions, this is one that I really struggle to express. I have got to be at the utter end of my tether before this one is ever likely to emerge, so far in my life, I have done this maybe five times. But clearly I am not a ball of rage rivalling the Hulk (though I have much mad love for the man of green), but the anger that I do feel has to go somewhere, and when I consider this, I can see massive areas of myself that I need to work on.

My lack of anger really only became apparent to me as a teenager, when I was small, I remember having full blown tantrums. As a teenager, this anger turned inwards and became anxiety and depression. I think at the time I knew I wasn’t feeling down, I was just not able to express the anger I felt. And during the gloriousness of being a teenager, there were very few things that didn’t inspire rage. I just never learnt to adequately convey my needs or boundaries. Maybe.

As a teenager, many of the arguments in my house were based around

1) The back of my bedroom chair was apparently not a place for dirty laundry.

2) Collecting cups in my room and waiting ’til things grow is not acceptable. Apparently.

3) Both Nirvana (Bleach) and Kate Bush (Anything) will sufficiently wind up the parental when played early in the morning. Actually at any time, but most specifically in the morning.

4) Touching the water immersion heating button. Utterly essential for a good afternoon spent reading in a continually hot bath. Utter hell if I forgot to turn it off after and the parental found it still on.

5) Fighting, or even pretending to fight, with my brother. We still do this. We still get shouted at. It is deliciously funny.

I have noticed how arguments develop with people over time, and rarely is what I am angry about anything to do with the words coming out of my mouth. I realised recently after feeling quite cross with someone, that what I was really expressing was not anger, but frustration, and this came from a place of love. And when this person is cross with me, it comes from the same place, a desire to help someone to achieve what they seem to be saying they want. If either of us could figure this out before the getting angry part, then that would be awesome.

I guess the reality is that no one can change anyone but themselves. It is easier to project onto others, to find fault with them, than it is to address the issues that we are clearly experiencing on a personal level. The problems of others only bother us if we can see the same issue in ourselves.

Map Point. How can I resolve what I am angry about?