A new phase of life started on Friday and although my new job is currently a temporary contract (even if it doesn’t last) it will definitely keep me busy.
My role is a technical support one – and it’s apparent to me that (like with many jobs of this nature) that the bespoke environment(s) I’ll be looking after have services that are simultaneously familiar and yet also completely alien to me.
They’re different enough to what I know already to make my learning curve a steep one – and I think it’s going to be a challenge to juggle the pace of the workload whilst at the same time asking lots of questions about what I’m doing and putting my hand in the air for help.
I don’t mind though – in fact I rather relish the challenge ahead because when I’d finished on my first day I felt a little bit of trepidation, but also a sense that I can definitely do well in my new role with some hard work and personal development.
Plus, time flew by.
One of the great things about being made redundant from a job I’d worked in for more than a decade and a half back in 2016 was that I had to face all of the fears associated with stepping out of a well entrenched comfort zone and learning something entirely new.
Like many of us who suffer all the time from imposter syndrome we can go to work day in, day out, do our jobs perfectly well and still come home feeling bad about our capabilities and thinking we could have done more.
Often it’s very difficult to appreciate just how useful you are, how much you know and what you’re capable of when you do it all day long next lots of others doing the same or similar things.
The only yardstick you have to gauge your effectiveness is to look at colleagues nearby and essentially decide whether you measure up to them and how much they know.
I never felt like I did.
However (after redundancy hit and I’d gotten fitter) when I started doing different jobs in different environments that required me to learn and adapt to new working practices and subject areas I realised that I was a lot more capable than I had given myself credit for – and that my experience made me a valuable employee.
Translating that into a CV or interview has proved hard at times however and there are as many downsides to redundancy as there are upsides.
Whilst it’s empowering to realise that when a job finishes it’s not the end of the world (there’s always something else to go to) it’s not so great to constantly have to ‘sell’ yourself over and over again to prospective employers if you don’t like the job you end up in.
I don’t think this is something I’ve ever enjoyed (or ever will) and have always been mystified by those that find self promotion to be a natural skill.
Going into a room and basically saying ‘I’m great!‘ over and over again is not pleasurable and after I’ve had to do so I never feel like I’ve struck an effective balance between self effacing honesty and what people want (or need) to hear from me.
Either way though I now have a new start – and I plan to try and make the most of it.
Only time will tell what comes out of it – but I had a great first day and have a positive feeling about the whole kit and kaboodle.
The people also seem really nice and that’s a very good thing.
I did find myself shaking my head as I walked home on Friday evening though – because I’m not sure how I managed to end up in this role quite so out of the blue.
I can’t go into too much detail, but the convergence of circumstances that led to me being employed again were actually very random and I was left thinking ‘how on Earth did that just come to pass?!’
For the longest time I’ve felt like I’ve been beating my forehead against a brick wall and feeling lower and lower about where I was going in relation to employment. Then – completely out of the blue things just pivot and turn right around!
Although I haven’t felt this way for a while I’m of the opinion that once again the universe has been listening to me and must have figured that by now I deserved a break.
I will try not to let it down.
I have good reason not to.
One of the side effects of my recent mood dip (related to unemployment) has undoubtedly been a willingness to eat too much both to alter my frame of mind and occasionally pass the time.
Now I’m gainfully employed again I’m hoping my weight will head in the right direction organically rather than with too much brute force and self denial. I’ve always felt that a huge part of weight loss is simply having a full calendar – because idle hands tend to open the fridge!
Sitting down for eight hours a day in an office isn’t ideal either though…
Thankfully I will be walking to work every day – so even if I can’t (or don’t) swim in the morning there’s activity that’s free for the taking built right into my new job.
On Friday when I made my way to work (a relatively leisurely 2.6 miles which took me 44 mins) I felt that the weather also confirmed the universe’s revitalised enthusiasm for my happiness.
The sky was a funny colour that I’d forgotten it was capable of becoming.
I’ve been so used to seeing it grey and drizzly lately (there’s YET ANOTHER flood warning in effect in Warwick at the moment) that when it’s blue and bright I’m not quite sure what to make of it!
The only possible reaction is to smile like an idiot and take a selfie to prove it happened.
In other news… (minor rant ahead)
I have recently found myself ruminating over a train of thought that keeps popping back into my mind every time I think it’s gone. Fundamentally (and I suspect I’m not alone) I’m not sure I like the way the world is going.
Donald Trump and his lunatic approach to world politics is troubling enough – but I don’t mean that.
I’m talking about technology.
This is unusual for me because I’m an unrepentant geek at the best of times. I absolutely love anything with chips in it (apart from happy meals).
However things in the tech world seem to be getting to the ‘ridiculously pointless’ stage and a lot of new products and services on the horizon seem excessive even by my standards.
We seem to be creating more and more labour saving items that reduce our need to actually do anything productive at an ever increasing pace. Not only is this slowly turning us into a race of blancmanges but the environmental impact is immense.
Most of it will inevitably end up being shovelled into a landfill site in less than a year or two and the pace of this is only increasing.
I’ve been watching some YouTube videos from CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2020.
The recent event in Las Vegas left me shaking my head and wondering whether the Romans felt the way I do currently when they realised that the heights of excess they had begun to engage in were the beginning of the end.
They had a colloseum full of water and we have Televisions.
Thousands of televisions in fact – and each one is brighter and sharper and thinner than the ones that proceeded them.
Massive wall sized 8K TVs are now a thing, yet I still can’t see the point of 4K (there are virtually no TV channels that use it and most of them still don’t broadcast in 1080p) which is strange because I was deliriously happy when I got my very first HDTV.
I still am.
I love my TV and I’m not replacing it at the cost of thousands just to get more pixels in my living room.
It’s not just TV’s though.
The kitchen is the next battleground for the money in our pockets because fridges need to do more than simply keep our food cold. Chilly steaks don’t come close to wasting anywhere near enough electricity…
LG’s current smart fridge (whose door can turn transparent at the touch of a button and show everyone nearby your wilting lettuce and browning carrots) is something I’ve never wanted to buy.
Not only is it ridiculously expensive (link) but it misses the whole point of a door. Rather than using a techno screen to let you look inside YOU JUST OPEN THE FRIKKIN DOOR!!!!
It works with my tiny little under the counter fridge (and my freezer) and that cost £50 from Tesco in their value range of home electronics 10 years ago.
It still keeps the milk cold even now.
LG’s new one (shown at CES) has an OLED TELEVISION panel that turns transparent (if you’re not too busy watching Love Island on it).
If this isn’t pointless enough there’s also a techno brain inside the all singing and dancing new model with a rudimentary AI. It’s continually watching all of the food in your fridge like the murderous HAL 9000 (link) from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001.
Overnight it LG-HAL can quietly spring to life and order more overpriced crap over it’s wi-fi if it thinks you’re running low on caviar or vintage champagne.
This isn’t the only ‘innovation’ from LG though.
If you choose to invest in the wider wirelessly connected and self aware LG ‘Suite of useless stuff I don’t need but want because my life sucks’ then the food in your (Terminator in waiting) fridge has ordered can be delivered to A FRIDGE IN YOUR AI ENHANCED LG FRONT DOOR.
Of course the LG front door to your house will also have a TV on the inside so that you can see what the weather is like outside.
Amazingly my wooden (TV-less) door is also capable of this feat via the magical trickery of something called A WINDOW!!!!
The ridiculousness of this techno door pales into insignificance however when you consider one of the winners of some websites ‘best in show’ category.
The wi-fi barbecue (link) that you can control with your smartphone even when you’re not at home.
Clearly in the western world (where we have more money than willingness to get off our arses) there is an untapped market for this kind of crap and everyone wants to barbecue their meat whilst sitting in the office on a conference call.
The point is that all of this is scary.
I don’t want my fridge to be in charge of my shopping and I definitely don’t want it to be connected to the internet or using my credit card to buy expensive cheese and biscuits.
Fundamentally however I’m more concerned with why we as a society are so preoccupied with making things that continually inspire us to move less and consume more. We already barely have to move a muscle to get our shopping online and can remain in our houses without needing to venture outside more and more.
If some sort of cataclysm happens how many people will just expire in their homes because they’re physically incapable of leaving them?
I’m telling you.
I can hear Nero fiddling now…
Oh well – my job is making sure that if (when) the apocalypse arrives at least my partner and I have a chance of outrunning the fireball and out-swimming the flood and tidal wave.
We’ve been working hard on our fitness since well before xmas and have really really upped our games on the number of lengths we swim, the speed in which we complete them and the number of times that we’re going to the pool each week.
Although I never mentioned it in my previous post – when I had my positive outcome on my HbA1c result (link) my partner was (at the same time) receiving her results for the same blood test.
I’ve never discussed her diabetes in this blog before because I considered it private – but this morning (for the first time) I asked her permission to do so.
‘Is this ok with you?’ I said as we sat drinking our respective teas and coffees after a five mile walk and a 1k swim.
She thought for the briefest moment, sipped her tea, and then said ‘Yes – I’m fine with that. I think it’s a good idea to let people know what my results were.’
The reason that I wanted to bring it up is that when my partner and I met for the second time (though still just friends at this point) diabetes was a big topic of conversation. She told me for the first time on this occasion that she was a type two diabetic – and that her diagnosis had been much the same as my own.
I was 94 on the chart and she was 93.
However back then mine was in remission and hers was still unmedicated.
Later – when Metformin was eventually prescribed (as her levels crept higher) her focus began to shift and she became a lot more mindful of how much exercise she was getting and what kinds of food she was eating.
Gradually this has become more and more cemented into her way of thinking and combined with her also following Slimming World she does a lot more physically than she ever used to.
We also live together and part of that dynamic is that I’m the primary cook. This is mostly because I’m a bit of a control freak about preparing food – not because she can’t or won’t – but it means that I make sure that all of our meals are on plan and cooked from scratch.
I pack her off to work with lunch and breakfast too and those are no different.
I may overeat – but when I cook I overeat great food.
Our exercise levels aren’t identical – but since she too started becoming obsessed with her fitness goals on Apple Watch she’s made great strides. Today we’ve both walked around 9 miles and swum over a kilometre.
It should be no surprise then that her results came back on Thursday at 34 – and are now in the pre-diabetic range on the HbA1c chart.
It’s difficult to say how proud of her I am – because I’ve watched her get fitter every day, competing with herself more and more with regard to her split times in the pool, and now (like me before her) she too can see the results.
I’m chuffed beyond words that the person I care the most about in the world has now begun the gradual process of reducing her Metformin.
In three months she’ll have another review and we both hope that her results will enable her to either reduce her drugs even more and one day eventually give them up altogether.
It’s particularly important for me to say all of this – because almost without exception when I’ve met people through Slimming World who are overweight and also suffering from type two diabetes (when they work hard and make the same lifestyle changes that I have) the conditions that they all suffer from are abating.
It’s hard work and you have to do it every day – but it’s worth it.
So – hopefully self aware fridges won’t take over the world after forming an alliance with their evil barbecue brethren because currently I’m rather happy with the way things are.
I’m happy, employed again, working on getting to target, opening my own fridge door, looking out of windows, walking everywhere and generally in a very good place.
If I needed a cherry on the cake my weigh in on Saturday also worked out ok.
One can only hope I can continue this downwards trend. I have eight weeks of my countdown remaining and then I’m calling target- wherever I am.