Tag Archives: Work

Day 1 – Yet again

I always hated the line “the first day of the rest of your life” but for today it works.

There are watersheds: days that bring so much change you use them as milestones defining everything that came before and since. It is amusing to think of today as a milestone – but it is.

Today I go back to work.

Not a full time job – not a career job – just a part time job to help pay the bills and keep me financially viable. So crazy! I knew I needed to find something and to have it fall into my lap is still delights me. Yesterday I had nothing and today I have something. Some place that wants me! That is the most surprising point. I hope they won’t be disappointed.

Oh, and for the record. I found out about the job a few days ago, didn’t even think about doing it until yesterday afternoon, and by 9 pm had the job. Did I mention insane? Crazy?

In addition to starting a job today – today was the first day of my 21-Day Yoga challenge. So I got up, made a cup of green tea, and hit the mat. And was humbled. I was once in great shape – now I’m not – the class for the morning was insanely difficult for me. Spending a week learning how to ski didn’t help much either. There are muscles that are hurting like hell still. But I was disappointed when I realized that my major muscle groups weren’t up to the challenge – so did 20 minutes rather than 45 and will keep going. The big thing is to focus on doing something every day rather than worrying that I’m not strong enough, flexible enough, or fit enough.

But I’m working through it, which is the point…. Right?

The universe is being very kind to me – needed work, got work – needed accountability for my exercise program, got accountability in a Sunday check in with my friend D – needed accountability in my writing goals, got that too!!! J – sent an email out asking for volunteers to be part of an accountability group. Working in threats of chicken dances and other humiliations so I joined on.

I’ve read so many books about changing behaviors – most for business – and one of the things that I find interesting is how sometimes you can be open for change in such a way that it just flows through you and at other times you can avoid it, bemoan it, and fight it every step of the way. It always amazes me how easy it is to stand in your own way and the courage it takes to own up to the fact that you are your own worst enemy.

So, I’m taking my evil twin out for an airing and will see if she enjoys it enough to leave me alone because the next several months are going to be interesting.

~ Tess

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Getting Back to Work

One of the most difficult things, after a vacation, is getting back to work.

When you work at home I think that it is almost harder. Harder to find the motivation. Harder to put those “good” habits back into place. After all, you just spent several days not working in the same space that you work.  

Today is a new beginning.

And like always I am starting from scratch. There are more things on my plate then there were before the holidays started and I have less time to do them. So this morning – I slept late – had a leisurely breakfast – listened to the news – and am only now sitting up in my office working.

So much for getting up early and exercising.

I know what motivates me – in a general sense – but I’ve always been an A-minus type personality. Not as driven as a true A, but not anywhere as easy going as a B. I need to have a plan. Although I’m more than willing for the plan to change, grow, modify as new information emerges. But I need a road map to start the journey with.

The next few days I will be preparing for the coming year. And I admit to being terrified. Talk about putting myself out on a limb. Placing my faith in my writing and the hope that eventually the money will come and I will be solvent again.

So I’ll start where I always start.

Get out the post-it notes and start throwing the ideas on the wall. Stare at them, add, subtract, and by New Years Day I’ll have a plan. I started doing this several years ago as a way of understanding what motivated me.

I’m motivated by the need to be autonomous, solvent, and have a close knit circle of friends. And that I wanted to write for a living – which would give me control over the shape of my days and keep me out of the corporate world. I always thought I would be happier working in my own space…and I am. It isn’t that I don’t like people – I do – but the constant social demands of an office wore me down leaving me with little energy for my own life.  

This process has taken me this far. I am home, I am writing, but I am not anywhere near solvent. Now it is time to put the lessons learned in the last year down on paper. What worked, what didn’t, reviewing the projects that succeeded and failed to find out how to make the next year better.

Here is to a year of adventure – of reaching for the impossible and making it real.

~ Tess Anderson

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Changing Universe – Part II

We live in a universe that is always changing – yet we have to make decisions, have to choose paths, and yet we can’t see the future. We have to settle on making decisions based on the available information.

But we are always getting new information.

I once worked in a job where this was often the case. We would work for months on a project – get new information – and find ourselves back at the beginning of the process. Scraping some or all of the work that we’d completed and starting over. There was no fault, no blame, just new information or a new way of looking at the data.

It was a stressful environment to work in.

I remember hiring for positions on my team and asking the question of what they would feel like if they had to start over again on a project they had just spent three months on – not because they failed but because they were presented with new information. If they twitched or jumped they were off the list. If they were too caviler they were off the list. The response I was looking for was something in between.

It is hard to change – to adapt to situations – to admit that the decision you made at the time was right but now that you have new information, it is wrong. So I always try to fail faster.

There is a point here – I just haven’t gotten to it yet.

I got drawn into yet another discussion about interrogation tactics and the US’s treatment of prisoners of war. The topic always leaves me a little queasy. Not because of the content, not because of what was done, but because we are looking for scapegoats. And because no one seems to be talking about what brought us here.

As I said in my posting last week we did this to ourselves. We wanted answers so badly that we were willing to give up our liberty and privacy – allow tapping of phone lines, the delay of notice of warrants etc (I’ve been reading the Patriot Act – full text here). This was just the beginning of the slippery slope. We slid – our government authorizing more and more powers to the agencies and military tasked with the job of finding terrorist and protecting us.

Thank goodness we didn’t slide so far that we rounded up all Muslims and American’s of Middle Eastern descent and put them into camps – at least we learned that lesson.  

The rules have changed.

New information has been brought to light. The administration has changed. Why punish those who did what we asked. The harder thing would be to look at how we got here, understand it, and place safeguards so that we don’t do it again.  

So back to my insane job.

We would work on a project thinking we knew what we were doing. As we progressed we would start to have questions. Answering those questions brought new information to light that caused us to change how we did the project. Trust me – we felt angry and foolish at times – occasionally downright stupid. But we moved forward and let the past go.

Sometimes you simply need to move on.

~ Tess Anderson

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Why I want to work at the Jeffersonian Institute

There are places that one always dreams of working maybe NASA, Google, Intel or Gallup. Palaces one dreams of belonging, the bar down the street or someone else’s family (since they seem more interesting or saner than yours). For me it is the fictional Jeffersonian Institute.

Jeffersonian InstituteIt took me some time to realize that my attachment to the TV series Bones had little to do with the plotting and less to do with the writing – the two things that usually get me. Both have been, at times, inconsistent. But the great consistency in Bones is the relationships between the characters. A working relationship that is built on respect and gives each of them room to be who they are rather than to conform to some random standard of normalcy.

How many of us actually have found this corporate version of nirvana?   

The trend in TV is the ensemble cast – the friends, family, and coworkers – that bond together supporting each other through thick and thin. Fewer and fewer shows have the lone wolf doing his/her thing without a band of associates.

The worse things get the more we want to hold tightly onto our worlds – this includes our friends. There was a period of time when a group of my friends were going through some rough things. We hung out more, had more parties, and drank more during that time than we have since. When we needed to mourn or commiserate we did it together.  

At the same time as we are watching these groups of characters behave as the perfect extended family. I wonder how much time we are, in fact, spending alone.

Those of us who landed on the unemployment rolls felt the jolt of going from a lifestyle that was filled with people to one that wasn’t. Once we spent a minimum of nine hours a day five days a week with others. Filled with conversations, interruptions, meetings, and projects. Now, if you are like me – divorced and childless – my time is spent in my home office looking for work, writing, and taking online classes. Where is the personal interaction there? Except for the cat – there are days when I don’t speak to anyone.

Now I don’t mind…much.

I’m a bit of an introvert anyway and I get more writing done this way then I ever did before. But I watched while my universe got smaller and smaller until I had to make myself go out, make myself connect with people, meet new ones, check in with old ones – and yes I finally joined Facebook again.

So how is it, in this new world of being alone, of being so disconnected from face to face human contact reflected in the media as ensembles? Heck – even Felicia Day’s web series “The Guild”, about a bunch of gamers, starts out with them meeting in person for the first time. Their movement from a online team to a group that supports each other as much in the real world as in the virtual one is the arc of the first season.

We need human contact. We crave it. When we can’t get it in our lives we watch shows that mimic what desire. To work among friends. To be appreciated for what you bring to the table. To be accepted for your flaws. To support and be supported.

That is why I watch Bones every week on Hulu – to check in with my favorite coworkers and dream of working with them in that perfect place.

Rather than dreaming of someone else’s perfect place, I should probably build one of my own. As they say, if you build it, they will come.

~ Tess

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