I put together a playlist of songs recently under the banner “Superhero, Geeky & Musicals”. It combines things like most of John Williams‘ superhero themes, Danny Elfman’s theme to Batman, and a song or two from Disney musicals (no, not Frozen… before you ask…).
One of the songs is Journey of the Sorcerer by The Eagles. For those who don’t know (or can’t be bothered to click on the link to listen to it and work it out), the song was used as part of the theme to the TV and Radio adaptations of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
One of the drivers for me leaving my last job was the gradual realization that it was making me quite unwell. Re-occurring bouts of insomnia and anxiety attacks, along with a fairly deep (for me at any rate) despair. Seeking some professional help to deal with it, I got to learning a bit more about how I was handling some of these issues, and how they were making the situation worse. I had an “Office Space” style realization that I really wasn’t enjoying my job and I should be doing something else instead. I got paid for 40hrs of work, and was expected to work 65+, meaning I couldn’t then enjoy the fruits of those efforts, since I was too tired or unwell.
The most dramatic of the solutions was to move on to a different job, which has been a massive help. I’m no longer in that position where I’m getting e-mails at stupid times during the night and the weekends, and a much more balanced expectation to working beyond the “core” hours. It’s freed time up to actually do some other activities (as I’ve alluded to in previous posts), which has a knock-on effect of adding new experiences (meaning you actually take a break from working).
Having started to look at it in this way, I started to look at how utterly odd it was to approach the world of work like that. That it had become quite normal for me to look at a working week and think “If I put in some time now after I get home, I can then be free at the weekend to do something else”. It baffled me how I’d fallen into that mindset, and spiraled down to build coping mechanisms that didn’t really do much of anything to help… Which brought me around to Arthur’s line in Hitchhikers…
“Did I do anything wrong today,” he said, “or has the world always been like this and I’ve been too wrapped up in myself to notice?”
I’d become so wrapped up in myself and the work I’d been doing to realize what it was doing to me. So, whenever I find myself getting back into the earlier way of thinking, it reminds me where that sort of thing ends up, and that I can take steps to address that. It’s a way to deal with it that wouldn’t have come to me unless I’d sought out help.
The help is there, you just need to ask for it.
P.S. I don’t quite know what I’d intended to write when I started this one, but I’m quite pleased I actually got it out.