Tag Archives: Work

Using Charts to Express my Anxiety

I have struggled a lot with feelings of anxiety during the past few months. Lately I’m slowly getting back to the belief that anxiety is not an affliction but is very much a part of ourselves, a sign that we actually care deeply about something (partly thanks to this article). So in light of this, and highly inspired by the charts from the brilliant Elisabeth Fosslien (here and here), I decided to poke a little bit of geeky fun at my feelings of anxiety by creating some charts that express them. Sometimes a little bit of humour is the best remedy against feeling sorry for myself.

How it works is that there I always first show the ‘ideal’ situation, after which I show the actual situation in 3 important areas of my life: work, writing and love. The point is that the actual situations often deviate quite sharply from the ideal situation. The actual situations are not fixed however. Through personal development and life experience, we hope to approach the ideal curve in the end.

I hope you’ll have fun with these charts. Who knows? Perhaps you will even gain a little bit of insight 😉

P.S. Click on the charts for a larger view.

What is the Correlation Between Passion and Anxiety?

The writing and love curves consist of dotted lines instead of an unbroken line. This is because that even though the curves cover the entire x-axis, it is impossible to go below a certain threshold of ‘caring’. Thus the dotted lines are to represent that not all the points on the curve are within the realms of possibility, but are hypothetical instead. (Does that make sense?)

How do I spend my time?

The Comfort Zone

Someone shared this diagram on Facebook the other day. As much as I like this diagram, for my own purposes I’m going to look at it in a slightly different way. I like to imagine that we are able to expand and move our comfort zone as part of our personal development. Where our comfort zone overlaps with the magical stuff, that’s where magic becomes reality.

I also want to extend the concept of the comfort zone to include the state where you (pretend to) stop caring anymore in order to get rid of your feelings of anxiety.

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Hooray! My 5th anniversary in Business Intelligence

Hip hip hooray and congratulations to myself as today marks my fifth anniversary in my career in the extremely exciting and electric field of Business Intelligence! Well, not that I actually called it Business Intelligence back when I started. In all my inexperience and ignorance it was a term I hardly knew even existed in the first place, and so I used the much more modest and easy to understand moniker of Reporting Analyst instead. But whatever I called myself back then, 5 years ago I took my first baby steps on my career path, which has led me to where I am today, professionally speaking.

How much has changed in the last 5 years. You see, back then I was seriously worried that I would never be able to acquire a decent job. I never finished my thesis and thus did not possess an university diploma and I was already working in the Vodafone Back Office as a temp for 18 months. I even got fired once due to budgetary reasons. After that I had to go through many, many rejections, and for someone who is already plagued by feelings of insecurity and inadequacy it could have killed my hopes for a decent career before it even properly started. I think it was even becoming a vicious circle. Because of my insecurity I think I didn’t make the best impression of myself, and then when I got rejected I only became more insecure. I wasn’t able to get over the hump initially. Continue reading

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A quick update

I am soooo tired right now. Work is just beyond crazy; I’ve been working more than 12 hours a day for the last couple of days just to finish a lot of stuff before I go on holiday. And our team is still understaffed, although we have hired/are under negotiation with the new people, so things should start improving soon. On top of that, my hard drive crashed last week, and just like that hours and hours of work vanished forever.  I had lots of writing on that hard drive as well, but thanks to whoever invented the blog and especially the ancient art of writing with pen and paper! If I didn’t still have my precious, precious paper notebooks I would have been seriously depressed right now. *

This will probably be my last post for a couple of weeks, but I promise, promise, promise that I will start updating my blog and start writing seriously again after my long overdue holiday. I am sure the magnificent landscapes of Patagonia (or so I heard) and the experience of meeting new and very interesting people (or so I hope) will free my mind and allow me to let go of the hectic of everyday life and to provide me with fresh inspiration anew for the months ahead.

* Hmm… I can’t help but wonder if there is a place where all the lost data go. A place like heaven, but then for all the ones and zeroes that are forever erased. I like to imagine that my writings and my reports have found a place where they can thrive. A place where they can meet all the other writings and reports and share their experiences on how they came into being. I hope they don’t mingle with the evil Powerpoint slides though. But those belong in hell anyway.

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November is at an end…

…and we are once again at the start of a fresh new month. And hopefully the new month will also bring along some new much-needed energy as well. Not to sound too repetitive, but things at work has been absolutely crazy and I am completely exhausted. As a result , I have been neglecting my writing. Outside of a few exercises for the writing workshop, I have not done any writing at all. Even my blog has been devoid of any new content for weeks, the first time this happened since I started this blog. Obviously, NaNoWriMo has been a colossal failure, as I ended with only a couple of hundred words I wrote in the beginning, and which I will discard anyway.

I did feel guilty and slightly ashamed about it, but the truth is, as much as I love to write, writing is also very stressful for me. It’s not something I do to relax and it often keeps me awake at night while thinking about it. With the way things are going at work, I really had to temporarily step away from writing if I didn’t want to have a burn-out. Well, you can accuse me for giving more priority to work above writing, but that’s the choice I’ve made. I can live with that, as long as I remember to return to writing once things return to more normal. I’m starting to feel slightly better again since yesterday, so the tone of this post is actually somewhat positive. If I had written this post a week ago, it would have taken on a decidedly whiny tone instead, and I would have been spewing my displeasure about lots of different stuff.

So now what’s the plan for the following months? I will take it easy for work for the remainder of the week, which in my case means working 9 hours a day, and try not to think about it at all once I’m home. I actually decided that just an hour ago, as I wanted to work again tonight, but I felt that I need to start writing again, even if it is as nonsensical as writing about not writing. I hope to sustain that feeling for the next couple of days, just to get back into the habit again, especially now that the workshop has ended (I still need to post the last exercise, which is a revision). I thought about doing an individual NoWriMo this month, but I decided that’s probably not a good idea. I think I will take one some of the exercises I’ve done instead, and turn them into a short story. There are a few of them that I really do like, so it will be interesting to see where I can take them without worrying too much about what’s in the exercise.

After this week? It’s back to full steam ahead mode at work until the end of the year, and then a couple of weeks of normal mode before going on holidays. Hopefully when I’m back, I will be able to welcome some new colleagues who will replace the ones who have left recently, and obviously I will then spend a lot of time at work again. My aim is that by the end of March next year, I will have accomplished most of what I set out to do, after which things will calm down again, or as close to calming as possible, as my personal experience is that things never completely calm down within the telecoms industry.

This does not mean I plan to neglect my writing again until the end of March. Now that I’m slowly getting back on track, I have to make sure it doesn’t slip away again. It probably requires a better scheduling than what I’m used to, but then again, we’ll see how it goes. I find that things normally turn out better anyway if I don’t worry too much about it.

Oh, by the way, I want to congratulate everyone who did manage to write 50,000 or more words in November. You guys are my heroes!

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Let’s be realistic about NaNoWriMo

Just one more day before NaNoWriMo kicks off! Exciting!

But let’s be realistic for a minute. There is at best a microscopic chance that I will reach the 50,000 words by the end of November. As I already mentioned recently, things at work are only going to get more hectic the next couple of months, and I’m already exhausted when I get back from home as it is. And when it comes to writing, my homework for the Writer’s Studio workshop, which ends at November 29th, just has a higher priority than anything I’m going to write for NaNoWriMo.

Not achieving the 50,000 words is not necessarily a bad thing though. Continue reading

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Writing Workshop – Week 5

This week’s exercise based on Dickhead by Tony Hoagland:

http://www.viewaskew.com/newboard/messages515/523.html

Create a colloquial, witty, but vulnerable older narrator who’s remembering a painful situation from when he was young. Although the situation is painful, he presents it with in a playful way, with a lot of humour (and again the love for language!). The overall tone is light-hearted. The voice is quite intimate, and speaks more directly to the reader (as compared to the Duncker piece).

Click here to read the story.

Yikes, this was a tough one. Normally I would have some ideas swirling in my head during the week, playing around with them in my mind. By the time Saturday rolls around, I would just sit down and work on it during the weekend. This week however, I still had several ideas open on Saturday, one even involving a stray cat as the narrator, but I didn’t know how to proceed with any of them. I started writing, stopped writing, started again etc. but for some reason it just didn’t feel right. I was missing the crucial element, an object or word which signifies hope for the narrator, like the word ‘dickhead’ in Tony Hoagland’s piece.

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The choice between work and writing? Hmm…

A week ago, I mentioned that the coming weeks are going to be interesting. My main concern was how to balance my new-found enthusiasm for writing with my working life. Judging by how tired I feel constantly during the past few months, I am truly afraid I will not able to pull it off. But I found out today that things have even gotten a lot more interesting. Two of my colleagues announced today they will leave the team on December 1st. On the one hand, I am genuinely happy for them, and I hope that people who know me know that I do not make these claims lightly. On the other hand, I am sad to see them go, as I believe with all my heart that we were on our way to achieve something great together as a team.

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