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Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Shall we play a game?"

A follow-up to a follow-up, if you will.

You know, there are times when, within the course of a single day, I go from this feeling of "I'm an evil freak'n genius" to "I'm feeling almost in despair at the moment for reasons unknown" and lots of states in between.  I go from "Life is a blank canvas" to "I feel as if there are six invisible walls closing in on me", and (again) lots of states in between.

More than anything else, I suspect is the loss of a sense of control.

It is, despite the fact that I have a perfect batting average in dealing with life's ups-n-downs, a feeling as if I am but one crisis from some unimagined and non-articulate-able end state.

These sometimes feelings are horribly illogical, horribly so, for or a hundred and one reasons I could list right now, but I will not for reasons of both verbal economy and modesty.  The logic is even more undeniably stupid when you consider just where I started:  In a housing project, raised by a single mother who was barely able to keep it together.   Heck, anything north of crack addict or sterno-bum should deem me a success in life.

I do know that part of "it"* is a by-product of work, which as been more stressful than usual over the past few months.  This is despite, or in spite of, the fact that I've actually done some really good stuff of late.  Yet the work environment is difficult for someone of my wiring, for reasons such as:

Thinkers Beware
I like to think before I talk, yet that's really not how a corporate culture works.  I'm forever in situations where I have to run a shunt past my own best instincts simply because communication in the corporate world really is a real-time endeavor.  Now I am better communicator because of this need, but it comes at a cost.  Make no bones about it:  Corporate life is one where action comes before thinking.

Show No Fear
The corporate culture rewards confidence, and I can fake it really well, but again, it's not native equipment for me.  Now I know I do many things well, but I also know that the calculus inside my head is one of weighing and reviewing just about everything I do, twice over.  I get caught up in these review loops that can be very difficult to break.

Trust (or else)
I don't trust easily, and yet in the work environment trust is something that is almost expected, out of the box and without cost.  

I don't like competition or competitions.  I know, that's hardly an eye-opener, but yet so much of the modern business world really is a competition...
...To meet and exceed deadlines,
... for your supervisor's time,
...for the salary budget, 
...for a percentage of a bonus pool, 
...for "face time" during staff meetings, 
...for providing the best possible feedback when asked, be granted some token of appreciation for a job well done, be the one who comes in the earliest and stays the latest.  

Now when it comes to competition, I have only have two places in my head:  Winner and everything else.  What to know why I don't play card games, video games (against others) and countless other, similar things?  Because I absolutely hate to lose, so I end up driven to win at almost all (fair) cost, which literally sucks the life force out of me.  Again, I simply f&^%king hate to lose at anything.

The last item, above, is why in my civilian life I have adopted the philosophy of Joshua from the movie War Games:  The only winning move is not to play.  Unfortunately that's not always an option in the professional world.  Again, see above.

So, keeping the theme of the movie War Games going (it's a really good movie, by the way), what is the end strategy to this all?  I'm not entirely sure, but I do know this:  It's not something from the outside, yet certainly whatever I do on the inside will impact things on the outside.  Circular, I know.  Part of it is in this it genuinely helps me to understand how I feel about this stuff in this very sort of public, bloggy way.  Odd, huh?  I noted above that I don't trust easily, but yet I trust the whole Internet with my feelings.  It's not that horribly illogical when you think about it though:  This process makes me feel better because it's a thinking venue (rest assured that every.single.word written on this screen is here for a reason).  Also, while I sometimes feel massively out of control in other venues, I control every single word here.  Even the wacky sounding stuff is part of a well planned strategy that keeps in mind who might be reading this at any given moment.  Ah, control!

I think I'm feeling mildly better already.

Now to work on eating better and getting more sleep.

(*) I really need to give this feeling a name.  An ominous sounding name.  Something like "Morlock".


Michelle HD said...

Just know that you are not alone in this, many people experience the same up and downs, me included. I wish I had some sort of advice for you, but I don't. Staying hydrated and getting the right amount of sleep helps.

Stephen Albert said...

Thanks Michelle. I thnk that for me the biggest lesson is that I must be better at pacing myself, along with what you noted...the staying healhty part. Easier said than done.

Here's to hoping that none of us are never too old to learn new things.

- Steve