Right now I am in the thick of it, literally: working 7 days a week, often working 12 hours a day.
It is tough. It is tiring. It is necessary.
The good news is that I am about half way through this whole thing and that the end is in sight. I know that current circumstances will end, that they won’t last forever. I know that I can cope with all that is thrown at me today and that tomorrow will take care of itself.
To be fair I always knew it would be like this. When I took the job early in 2008 I knew that the closedown period would be tough. I took the job anyway, fully prepared to accept all that went with it.
Working all the hours that God sends (at the office) is not however high up on my list of things I love to do. In fact it would be way down at the bottom, on the list of things I positively don’t want to do.
Recent weeks (and weekends) have been hard.
Some people seem to thrive in this environment, on working excessive hours: I am not one of them.
I have however learned that there are some benefits to this kind of working, as well as some pitfalls.
Working long hours, every day, leaves little or no time to do outside work activities. I have therefore found that I have become very focused, when I do have time, on key activities. I have prioritised, if you will.
Personally, during a time of potential stress like this, it is important that I maintain a healthy body and mind. I have therefore maintained my yoga practice, as a priority. I have cut it down from 5 classes to 4 per week but I am still enjoying early morning yoga 3 days a week and a longer class on Sunday morning.
My yoga practice is keeping me sane.
One of the benefits therefore of my current heavy work schedule is that it has shown me the importance of my yoga practice to me, and I am grateful for that.
I have also found that working long hours requires discipline outside of the office (as well as during work). Making sure that I get enough sleep, that the laundry gets done etc., are all important things if I am going to maintain this working pattern for a period of months. And that’s where a well worn schedule and routine come in.
I am grateful for the well established schedules and routines in my life like early rising and meditation.
Of course it is not all good. Working these excessive hours has made me tired and irritable. I find it difficult to concentrate and be present. I feel very uncreative. In fact I feel a little like an automaton: get up, go to work, work, come home from work, eat, go to sleep, get up, go to work etc.
However I know that the closedown period will end and that this working pattern will not last forever. I am therefore able to take responsibility and get on with the task in hand.
I also have the prospect of my new job to look forward to when this closedown period ends (together with a holiday in between; somewhere hot and with a beach (see picture)), which is very exciting.
Funnily enough I actually got offered another new job a few days ago. One of the major industry players in the area that I work in called and basically offered me a job on the spot. More money than I am earning now, more responsibility etc.
My first reaction was one of being flattered and wanting to say “yes, please” (I think we are trained from a young age that we should always say yes to jobs that pay more money and that hold more responsibility), but I didn’t.
Instead I called Amy and we talked. I realised very quickly that whilst this was a wonderful opportunity for someone, it was not for me. I really value my time away from the office and this job would have encroached on that (no more yoga in the mornings for example). It simply wasn’t right for me, right now.
My long terms plan is eventually to look at whether I could get a part-time job to focus more on some of the activities I enjoy doing outside of work. Taking this job would have been a step in the wrong direction. The job offer helped me to crystallise and confirm my direction further.
I am excited about the new job I have accepted. It represents a fresh start for me, and is flexible enough that I can continue with the activities outside of work that I value.
I am content.
[I just need to get through the next 4-8 weeks......]