What’s In a Job?

Today I had a job interview.  Still within the organization that I work for, but different job, different department.  One of the perks of working for a large size employer is the opportunity to try new things.  This is something that I have done many times over the years, moved around, tried new things – some worked some didn’t.  If I didn’t try though, I wouldn’t know.  Usually I opt for temporary assignments, it gives me, and my new boss, a chance to size each other up and to see if we are a good fit.  I also believe it makes me a better employee by increasing my awareness of other areas, of ‘who’s who in the zoo’ – who the decision-makers are, and why and how things get done.

This job interview was actually a major step for me.  Since Kevin died I haven’t felt comfortable with pushing any boundaries or taxing my ability; his death literally wiped me out.  Besides the emotional ups and downs, there was an associated fatigue that seemed to seep right into my bones. There was brain fog, a cloudiness that descended on me, possibly my mind’s way of coping with Kevin’s loss and aggravated by lack of sleep.  These things made it hard to think and even to express myself coherently. Consequently, it became a challenge to do even the familiar which was frustrating and served to increase the pressure I placed on myself.  I would find myself measuring how the ‘old’ me worked versus how the ‘new’ me did.

My physical stamina was a concern, particularly on my return to work.  Even a phased return, with minimal hours, left me absolutely spent at the end of the day.  After I returned to work full time I still had to be mindful and accept that my capacity was diminished.  This meant standing down on multi-tasking and ultimately reverting to methodically doing one thing at a time.  Then I began to increase my workload; to return to where I thought I should be, able to do what needed to be done.  The end goal was to get through a day of work and still have some energy in reserve to focus on other activities outside of work.  I believe I am finally getting there.  I must be, since applying for a different job is something the old me would do routinely.

Kevin called me a ‘job hopper’.  He would show me our red vinyl book of telephone numbers for family and friends and say, “Count ’em, honey.  Count how many phone numbers there are in there under ‘Mom’s Work’.”  Truly, I have to say, there were a lot. The job hopping ended completely when Kevin was diagnosed with cancer.  After his death, and when I was able to start back to work, it was comfortable and necessary for me to go back to the familiar, to my ‘home’ position where I felt safe, to work on regaining my capacity. It’s a good indicator that my capacity is back when I start contemplating trying something new.  So, whether or not I am successful in this most recent hiring process I still feel like I accomplished something – I buffed off and shined up a part of myself that has been lost for the better part of two years.  If I get the job, for old time’s sake, I might write it in the red phone book and just imagine hearing Kevin say, “Geez, honey, at some point you have to settle down.”  Nope, no I don’t.

My Addiction

As I wrote my last post I wondered what other people do to help them sleep at night.  For so long, since Kevin died actually (11 months ago), I have been on sleeping pills.  Having a hot toddy and nodding off to sleep naturally (sort of) was kind of refreshing, not to have to take something chemical to make my mind clear when I go to bed.

I  figure there are a few obvious ways to get ready to head off into slumber. For me, it doesn’t matter what I’ve tried, I find sleep elusive at the end of the day.  Consequently I have been using sleeping pills literally since the beginning of April 2015, when I saw the doctor and she basically told me I looked awful.  I hadn’t slept more than three or four hours a night, and prefaced my sleep with a good long bout of crying.  In my defense, it does take a toll – the grief and the lack of sleep, so yes, I looked terrible.  I still have dark circles under my eyes, I honestly think they are permanent now.

Enter the sleeping pill, take one and half an hour later I was asleep. Trying to get off of them is not easy.  I have tried.  I substituted a nice hot bath, followed by some meditation, some relaxing music – didn’t work.  Tried using the Tibetan singing bowls to calm and relax me, it did while I was in that state of mind, but when my head hit the pillow the thoughts came back, the sadness.  I tried working out before I went to bed, exercising to get to the point of exhaustion.  I was exhausted, sure, but my mind still whirled.  It always comes back to the sleeping pills.  I love them, and I hate them.

Kevin would always say that sleep was overrated; the bags under his eyes were a testimony to the fact that he didn’t sleep very much.  Me, I always needed my sleep, and I still do.  I just don’t like the fact that I have to use a chemical inducement to enter into sleep.  It can’t be good for the body.  I suspect that having a shot of alcohol right before bed isn’t the answer either.

Fact is, for most things there are no answers, there’s just what works.  For me, for you, for her, for him.  Whatever works – within reason of course – and in moderation – of course. This is where I miss Kevin most, he’d toss reason out the window and believed ‘excess is best’, do it until you don’t want to do it anymore. For someone like me it was like living on the edge.  Now that he’s gone I am firmly grounded in the middle.