Tag Archives: work

I’m checking in

Hi folks. Sorry for the silence.

I realize I haven’t been writing or posting things for a bit. And to be honest, I don’t really have anything pressing to say at the moment. Things have just gotten a little hectic and a bunch of unforeseen events happened at once. If you know me in person, then you probably know at least some of what has been going on. Otherwise, I can let you know a bit.

One of the changes is that I picked up a very needed part-time job. I’ve been the stay-at-home parent for the past year and it got to the point where, for both financial and personal needs, I needed to get myself employed. So I know work a few nights a week after my wife gets home from her job. So this is ultimately a good thing. The other things going on I’m not quite ready to discuss. Part of this is that, unlike when I talk about depression, they involve things happening to other people on a more direct level. Some stuff isn’t at a point where I feel comfortable putting it into words. Other events, I feel, require permission from others that I don’t have right now. Suffice to say, enough things are going on in my life right now that this blog has needed to take a back seat.

So why am I here now? I’m not vain enough to think that anyone is heartbroken at my lack of posts. I’m mainly writing this to acknowledge that I still plan to write. I’m also thinking of other writing projects that are a little different from blogging. Depending on where that leads I may be splitting focus. But for right now, I just wanted to let those who have taken the time to check out this page know that it hasn’t been forgotten. I’m gonna go eat a cookie now.

Successful Failure

I’m going to start with a question. Are you successful? Just a quick “yes” or “no” for the moment. You can come back to it when you’re done here.

People tend to obsess over different things. Some more than others, but we are all guilty of something. And I think more than anything, we all focus to some degree on success. Which I find weird because it seems like such a subjective thing. I mean, what definition are you using? Your dad’s version or your teacher’s version? Your cat’s definitions of success? Are you a good mouser?

Focusing on success also means that we spend a lot of time obsessing over failure. That’s the opposite of success, right? If you didn’t succeed you failed. Pretty simple concept except that it isn’t that simple. Have I given you a headache yet? Take some ibuprofen and sit back down with me. I am going to give you a break and make a confession.

I’m a failure. I am a huge fucking failure. By so many definitions!

I’m a man in my late thirties who doesn’t make a lot of money, so I’m a failure by some societal standards. I’ve had more than one artistic pursuit come crashing to the ground. I struggle as a parent and I am positive I’m screwing up my kids. My depression likes to take feelings of failure and gobble them down like Cadbury Mini Eggs, so my brain usually hates me. Yeah, I’m a failure. And I keep reminding myself that it’s fine. There is nothing wrong with failure. Nothing.

I want to be clear that I’m not saying failure is something to be enjoyed. Failing sucks. It doesn’t feel good. But it’s important and, despite claims to the contrary, nothing to be ashamed of. If you’re alive, then you are ultimately going to fail at least a few times.  As the Mythbusters so eloquently stated, failure is always an option.

It can happen for many reasons. Timing can be off. You can misjudge the popularity of something and have an ugly surprise. A stranger can not like the answer you gave to a question and decide you aren’t fit for their company. These are all things that can lead to failure. You can even do everything “right” and still fail, through no fault of your own. That’s life sometimes. You just fail. And if you think you’ve never failed or never will I ask you to send me whatever hallucinogens you’re taking. The only way to not fail is to never try to do anything. Even if you’re the luckiest leprechaun in history you know, deep down in your four-leaf clovers, you will fail at some point.

I don’t enjoy failing, making mistakes, screwing up or any of that stuff. But it means I’m trying and hopefully learning. And those times I do succeed are awesome. But as important as failing is in our lives as a tool of growth it can still trip you up. When your failure makes you put a permanent stop on everything, you’re in trouble. It’s hard, but we all have to remember that we’re still alive and can keep going. Success is our there, in whatever form you need it to be. But you’ll fail first. So feel that failure and use it to keep going. This is why I can accept it. Failure isn’t forever. It’s just another step. We have to keep walking.

Maybe time for a break

This is a short rant. It probably won’t be that amusing. Sorry, but I’m not in the mood.

My productivity on this blog has been suffering. I started with a weekly post. Then it was bi-weekly. Now I’m lucky if I can get two posts in a month. I think part of the issue is other things have been eating up my time. The kids, work, and just being plain tired. Nothing special and certainly no different from plenty of other people.

Really, I think the main reason is that I’m getting tired of assholes. I am encountering them way too much. They are non-stop at work. I go online to have fun or be creative and people just get nastier and more vicious every day. Frankly, half the time I keep thinking of just shutting down entirely. But then I figure this is just depression talking and that maybe isn’t the best idea. Still, I am tapped out and am going into survival mode.

So I think I’m taking a break from posting. Maybe just a few weeks. Possibly longer. I need to get my head together. There is no point in writing when I don’t want to say anything to anyone. This is not a place I want to be in, so I will be taking care of it. For those who are regular readers, I’m sorry. Hope to be back soon.

 

Being quiet

Let me be blunt. I’m writing this because I need to see it.

There has been a drop off in posts over the last few months. To those who have been consistent readers, I apologize. The reality is I have been finding it very difficult to gather my thoughts lately. Sure I can keep posting random thoughts while drinking coffee, which I enjoy doing, but my goal with this blog was to have a little more substance and include some more specific life observations. But frankly, my mind has been beating me over the head with a sack of symbolic doorknobs for a while. So I have been quiet.

It’s no secret that I deal with clinical depression. Recently, it has been winning. My weeks have had more crap days than good ones. And the part that pisses me off the most? The fact that there really isn’t a thing I can point to that has caused it. Is work stressful? Yes, but my job deals with the general public so that’s expected. Financial struggles? Yes, but this is also not new.  Neither is being worn out from lack of sleep or frustrated that my wife and I don’t get enough time together with the girls. These are all things I deal with in my everyday life so why should they have suddenly become harder to handle? So I have tried to be quiet. I go to therapy. I go to work. I take care of my kids. I behave like a goddamn adult.

There have been more days than I want where I’ve felt like falling apart. There have been days when I’ve felt like I’m failing my wife and kids. I’ve had way too many days where things are more or less going fine and I’ve still wanted to just hide pray for everything to just stop.

As of today, my doctor and therapist agreed to increase my medication. My first increase in three years. I guess that’s pretty good. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that medication doesn’t fix everything. It’s job is to help my brain get to a level where I can handle things like a regular human. I still have to make things happen. I still have to take a breath and remind myself that I will continue. To do that, certain parts of my brain need to stay quiet. That’s where medication helps. That’s where therapy helps. And this is why, every so often, I need to write posts like this. I need to see it. I also need to share it because I hope that maybe, by not being quiet, I’m helping someone else. Maybe someone who is having a hard time needs to be reminded that it’s not simple, that depression doesn’t always make sense and that is okay. Keep trying, keep fighting. There are going to be days when depression kicks your ass. It will continue to feel like depression is winning. But it doesn’t really win if you keep going.

And like I said, I needed to see this. I need to acknowledge when things are bad. Being quiet does nothing.

Strange talent

People develop as they grow. I’m not just talking about puberty and aging and all the weird biological stuff. People develop abilities, skills, and talents. Some stuff you learn through formal lessons and practice. Other things come naturally to some without much in the way of training. Then there are the things you suddenly become good at without even realizing it. I have become very well acquainted with the third scenario.

Perhaps this makes me some form of a Renaissance man, but one who was part of a very weak Renaissance. I will take this time to share some of these talents with you. Let me again state that these are not things I trained to do from any desire to better myself. These either came about through attempts at self-amusement or by accident. Basically, they just kind of happened over time.

Talent #1- I have found that I can detect smelly poops from another room. Be it diaper, litter box, or someone having a bad reaction to cheese I shall detect it.

Talent #2- If a popular song exists, I will turn it into a song about my cat. Possibly a song about my kids or whatever I’m currently doing. But more than likely the cat.

Talent #3- I have the ability to serve as a human sofa and jungle gym for the previously mentioned cat and children.

Talent #4- As I age, my changing appearance has informed me that I’ve developed a strange metamorphic ability. I appear to be turning into some form of hobbit wizard.

Talent #5- After years of dealing with the general public, I now have the talent to control my urge hit all stupid people with a rolled up magazine and say “Bad human” to them. This has kept me employed.

How about you folks? What strange talents have you developed? Are they a source of pride or a dark secret that you fear will make all shun you? Either way, feel free to share!

The people funk

It has been a few weeks since I’ve even attempted to write anything. Some of it has to do with poor time management on my part. The bulk of it, however, is that I haven’t been in the happiest place over the last few weeks. My stress level has been up and my overall mood has been pretty low. The littlest thing will turn into a psychotic monkey flinging poo all over my day. I think that this funk I’ve been in has to do with a personal realization I’ve had.

I’m probably not alone in this, but I have come to the conclusion that I have a very strong love/hate view of people. This is different from what I though I believed, or from what many of my friends have told me I project. But honestly, I think I’ve been fooling myself.

I want to like people. I have always told myself that I do. But I now think it would be more accurate to say I like the occasional person. In fact, it’s safe to say that there are a few people I adore and will do anything I can for. But the rest of the people out there? At best, I am neutral until given reason to feel otherwise. At worst, be thankful I don’t have the Force and can’t psychically choke you. People quite often, and I include myself here, suck. We treat each other awfully. In my professional life I am constantly reminded of that. Maybe that’s part of the problem. I deal with the general public too much. I need to find a line of work where I just don’t habitually deal with people. I wonder how a person breaks into grave digging?

I guess my real issue comes back to the fact that there are people I know who are quite wonderful. An individual person can be remarkable. And it make me have hope. Then I come to the realization that this is an exception, not the rule.

My girls are growing. I don’t want them to feel this way about the world. So how do I help them become the exceptions? Is it just about putting on a show for them until they’re adults? I want them to be amazing, loving, good people. But I’m sure that has to be a common desire for parents. So do parents just habitually fail? Are my wife and I just doomed to add to the population of assholes? That can’t be the truth. I have to hope I can do better.

There we go. Minor rant over. I will try to write about something silly the cat does next time.

Another year

2014 is done for. 2015 has arrived. So far, it doesn’t feel any different.

It has been a few weeks since I last posted, primarily due to holiday insanity. This has left my brain in a state which resembles some form of pudding. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure when it will fully recover. Perhaps I should eat more bran?

I am not one of those people who makes New Year’s Resolutions, mainly because I know I will not keep them. So I will not pretend that I’ve miraculously changed just because I have to remember it’s 2015 when I sign my time sheet at work.

What I will do is share a few things that I hope I can accomplish this year. I will call these my New Year’s “I Think I Cans”.

1 – I will actually make an effort to eat better because I’ll be damned if I’m buying bigger pants.

2 – I will make sure that my wife, as “crazypants” as she can be, never questions that I love her.

3 – I will finally convince the cat that the world is not trying to eat her.

4 – I will make sure my girls continue to grow into beautiful people and not smelly jerks.

5 – I will play as many games, both video and table top, as possible.

6 – I will not let work stress me out as much as I can help it. I am, of course, human and prone to bitching.

7 – I will come up  with more interesting blog posts than this one.

Wearing hats

I have a big head. I mean that literally.

I like hats but it is very difficult for me to find ones that fit. My skull just seems to be on the very large side of headgear. I don’t have the disposable funds for specially made hats so when I get them, it becomes trial and error at Target or Wal-Mart and hopefully I find something I like that will fit. I got lucky for a bit and had a few hats in my size. Now I’m down to a baseball cap, a currently MIA fedora, and two winter hats.

Since this is my world when it comes to actual hats, it strikes me funny that I have a few invisible ones that I wear all the time. I know I’m not alone here. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we all have a few invisible hats of identity. They don’t give us any superpowers because that would be far too awesome. They mostly just frame how people see us and how we behave in those frames.

I have the work hat, which mostly involves behaving in a way to make a lot of people happy. That way I get paid in money, an unfortunate necessity but still a necessity.

I have the friend hat, which doesn’t get worn as much as it used to. It’s fun but sometimes it takes a lot out of you. It’s usually one I like wearing, when all is said and done.

I’m always wearing the husband/daddy hat. This one must have been stapled to my skin. A lot is involved with this one. And it seems to change constantly. It currently involves bill-paying, cleaning, and poop. Lots of poop.

I have a geek hat. I have a theatre artist hat. I have a son hat, a sibling hat, and if I spent awhile chipping away at my psyche I could probably come up with a few more.

Maybe I’ve piled on so many invisible hats that it interferes with me wearing actual ones. It would be really handy to just stitch them all together, making some kind of motley hat like you would see on fools or jesters. If we could all do that it could really simplify things. I don’t think it would make people any less complex, but it might at least keep you in a limited frame of reference. That has to be helpful for ones sanity.

Then again, I wonder if we need to have all these hats. Maybe trying to put them all together just isn’t possible. The brain is a funny, scary, amazing thing. So are a lot of people. We may actually need the different hats just to make it through our given time on this Earth.

I wonder if this is how the Hatter went mad?

 

Retail

I worked in retail for three and a half years. If you add in other jobs I had when I was younger, that probably makes it five and a half all together. I feel it has given me the qualifications to make this statement:

Retail is a bitch.

I will admit, I realized long before leaving the job that it was not for me. However, when you have bills to pay you do what you have to. That being said, I am not a good salesman. Customer service I can do. Getting people to spend more money than they want or need to? Not so much. I think the only other reason I lasted as long as I did (besides needing the paycheck) was that I genuinely liked the product I was selling. Still, working in retail is a bitch because of a few reasons. Yes, I actually have thoughts rather than just a blanket statement.

1- The general population is a pain in the ass. People want things. That’s common knowledge. I want things. You want things. But we also want great quality things for as little money as possible. Now matter how low the price of something is, it’s still too much. Not everyone thinks this way, but this is a minority. So you will be working in a store in the mall and someone will be trying to haggle like they’re at Cousin Willy’s Country Flea Market. When you won’t play the make-a-deal game, since it will usually get you fired, they get pissy with you.

2- If commission is involved in your pay at all, get ready to work in a shark tank. Your co-workers will always be trying to snag a sale from you and from each other. Some people thrive on that type of environment, I guess. I’m just not one of them. For me, the only person I want to compete with is myself. I also have no interest in throwing someone under the metaphorical bus to get ahead, which also happens a lot in retail.

3- No matter how hard you work, people don’t respect you. Maybe it’s a little different if you work on the corporate end, but if you are a salesperson other people will treat you poorly. If you are in high school or college, people will just treat you as the dumb kid working at the store. To be fair, you may be just that, but it doesn’t make you feel better about it. Now if you are an adult, whether you’re a manger or not, people look at you like a somewhat lower class of person. This isn’t right. The people who work this job deserve as much respect as anyone. It’s not an easy job and it eats up a lot of time out of your life. When the average customer treats you like you’re half-man, half slug, the job becomes harder. When you have friends and family ask when you’re getting a “real job”, even though you make more money than them, the job becomes harder.

I have friends who still work in retail. I worry about them, even if they genuinely seem to like what they do. Then there are the people in retail who have made this job their whole life. I worry about them too, because I don’t think any job should consume someone’s life. As much as I’m happy I don’t work in retail anymore, a little part of me thinks that everyone in the world should be required to work that job at least once. If nothing else, maybe it would just make people think twice about being rude to a salesperson. They have enough to deal with already.