Under Pressure

March 29, 2012 at 7:09 am | Posted in Life and Living | Leave a comment
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It is the impetus behind so many of our decisions and actions, even an underlying cause for the creation of this blog.  Pressure.  We all feel it.  The phrase “no pressure” is typically thrown around as a joke for a reason.  Pressure is all around us, whether we admit it or not.

Growing up, all you really hear about is peer pressure and the impacts it has on the decisions of young people.  “If Johnny jumps off a bridge, would you too?” is a favorite line of parents for generations for a reason.  Social media has taken peer pressure to a whole new level — if someone you know is doing it, maybe you should check it out, too.

But beyond peer pressure are other forms of pressure.  Whether or not your parents or other adults that you look up to know it, by showing you the way, by instilling their values in you, they are creating an atmosphere of pressure.  You want to make your parents proud, so you work hard. You want your parents’ attention, so you act out.  Pressure can work in both ways.  Maybe if you act like them, they will be proud of you.  Maybe if you get a good job or give them grandchildren, they will be proud. You don’t want to disappoint them.

And then there’s the pressure of reality. Of time. Deadlines.  You’re not getting any younger.  Why is time moving so fast?  Have I accomplished what I wanted to?  Will I ever get to do the things I didn’t get to yet?  Am I making the right decisions, or am I making rash decisions because I feel like time is running out?

Is time running out?  Just saying that makes me feel like I’m in a game, like life runs on a really big hourglass.  But the reality is that society has defined stages of one’s life, leaving very little room for error.  What if I change my mind?  Is it going to throw off the timer?

I commend those who stare pressure in the face and say “screw you”.  Those who say, “just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean it it right for me.” It is not easy to go against the tide.  But the truth is that we are all unique.  We are living longer, having children later, starting over again and again.  Society is shifting.  Marriage is not the norm anymore.  Life is becoming more individualized, more personal.  And yet, it is the human condition that we still compete, still want to be part of something with others.

So the pressure will always remain, but if we stay true to ourselves, listen to our real wants and not what is expected of us, take risks, know what matters to each of us individually, the pressure can be used as a tool to help us achieve what we really want.

Doing Nothing

June 16, 2011 at 7:33 am | Posted in Life and Living | Leave a comment
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As the hustle and bustle of the work weekend winds down, I find myself looking forward to the weekend for one reason — the opportunity to find time to do nothing.

It’s true that most of the time my weekend is spent running errands and seeing friends and family (and getting to other projects I can’t get to during the week).  Sometimes it can be hectic and sometimes I just want to go out and let loose, but more often than not, I try to find some time to myself to do nothing but hang out at home.

I remember a time when I was never at home, and when I was, I would be locked up in my bedroom on the phone or on the computer instant messaging on AOL (remember that?)  I would never be caught staying home on a Friday or Saturday night in high school (and add Thursday night to that when I got to college).  Before I could drive, I would walk a mile into town to hang out with my friends.  Anything I could do to be socializing!  Being alone wasn’t an option.

But now, when Friday comes, all I really want to do is go home, relax, and be alone.  Work can really drain me and I just need time to clear my mind.  I just need silence.

But the sound of silence isn’t really silent.  And peace isn’t really quiet.  It’s the sound of your favorite TV show, or the dog barking, or the fan blowing, the wind breezing through the trees.  It’s the sound of life, of distraction from the stresses of the day.  It’s almost a fantasy, or maybe just a time out from reality.  It’s how we recharge our batteries to get through another week.

We all need to recharge, and so many people don’t take the time to do so.  In my company, almost everyone has trouble spending their vacation days.  There is a struggle between dedication and personal well-being, a struggle I attempt to fight by sticking to my assigned working hours.  But I can’t lie.  The buzz of the Blackberry at 9PM draws me back in.  What if it’s important?

Still, I fight the urge to answer emails after hours, and I try not to talk about the nitty gritty work stuff outside of work. It’s safer to stick to the basics, and talk about the other aspects of my life.

We are not working machines!  We have families and lives outside of work. And sometimes, we all need a breather.

Moral of the story — take your vacation time, and enjoy your weekends.

Escaping the Chaos

October 14, 2010 at 7:42 am | Posted in Career Moves | 1 Comment
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When I originally launched this blog, I thought I’d write a lot about my career.  Having started a new job just a month before starting this blog, it seemed a likely topic at the time.  After all, I was lucky enough to find a better job in this economy when I know so many people who are unemployed or unhappy with their current employment.  But as the weeks go by and I look at my list of ideas for blog posts in order to think about and plan out what I want to blog about for the following week, I find myself consistently skipping over the “career” section.

I think there are three reasons why I skip over this section.

  • Number 1: I have some good ideas, but the pieces of the puzzle are not yet in place for me to blog about.
  • Number 2: I am passionate about my job, but I want to be careful not to bore people with the details if they don’t know anything about my field of work.  I can spend a long time explaining what I do, and since part of my job is to translate jargon into every day language, I try to make it so that anyone can understand.  Somehow, I still don’t know if people do. Actually, I know for a fact they don’t and who can blame them? I know nothing about the financial industry or real estate, or the stock market, or cars. Why should my job be any harder to comprehend?
  • And now for the third reason, which I think is the real kicker.  I am currently doing so much at my job that when it comes to blogging, or time spent outside of work, I just need a break from it all.  In order for me to function at my highest level at work, I have to have something that is completely non-work-related to free my mind.

I think I have pretty good time management skills. I work well on deadline and on schedule and deliver high quality results.  I try to avoid working overtime other than sending a few emails, but there are nights I can’t sleep because I am thinking about work.  As you do well in a job, you get asked to do more and more, so I am balancing more and more, (and I still am delivering my blog posts consistently on the schedule I set up for myself.  To tell you how dedicated I am, I’m actually traveling on business while you are reading this).

A lot of my friends turn to me for career advice because I seem to have it together, and I want to share my trials, errors and successes with my readers, so sorry for the lack of career stories lately.  As soon as I am grounded, able to clear my mind, and have something really interesting to tell you, to hopefully inspire you, I will bring it.  Thanks for letting me escape the chaos with you all!

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