I recently said to someone that I hate to be defined by work. But yet I still feel that work plays such a big role in my life, that it can make me happy or sad. It makes me feel chilled our or stressed. And unfortunately recently it has been the latter.
For the last year, I have been contracting at the Equality & Human Rights Commission. And to be honest, I have loved it. They people I have worked with and for have been fantastic. They have a brilliant work ethic, they care about the Commission and take pride in doing everything they do to the best of their ability. The entire project I have worked on, has been great and they have supported me right throughout. The location is brilliant (central Manchester), the commute is an easy and friendly one, the offices are comfortable and modern and the organisation has a conscience. Now I know permanent staff might see it differently as there has been some turmoil for them, but as far as places go to work, it scores pretty highly in my opinion. I am still working there 2 days per week until the end of July, but I miss working there more.
On the contrary, I recently accepted an assignment at an NHS trust in Lancashire. And I am afraid this job is everything my other one isn’t. The project was miss-sold to me, although I think unintentionally. I am really not prepared, technically nor mentally for the size of the project. Using an analogy, it is equivalent to me thinking I was building a cottage in the countryside, but instead I am building a skyscraper in the middle of a city! The project is scary and daunting, and more so because they expect me to do it in 3 days per week! But not only that, every day is a struggle. They have given me a laptop (8 weeks later), but they switch off much of the functionality. For example the wireless adapter has been turned off. That means that when I am working at home, I have to connect to the internet via a cable. But the cable is about a metre long and my ‘broadband hub’ is my hallway, so I have to work in the hallway if I want to access my work files!
Commuting is long and tedious: 41 miles (66 kms) each way. Confusion rules – I am struggling to access or gain access to information I need. Key personnel are being obstructive and cagey about data and information. All in all, not a fun place to be right now. Unfortunately, due to budgetary constraints, the light at the end of the tunnel has been switched off.
Had it not been for the fact that Tim has been a casualty of the recession and that work is scarce, I think I might have been a little stronger in my attempted resignation. Unfortunately they think I am doing such a great job, they don’t want me to leave. The knock on effect for Tim and I are that both of us are stressed to the tilt at the same time. That means it becomes very difficult for both of us to be fully supportive of the other. Instead we pick up a portion of each other’s stress!
Possible solutions: one of the things we have been thinking about is taking a few months off. There are a few options: either going somewhere warm in Europe for the summer, although I am still working until the end of July, so the timing doesn’t really work out perfectly, because Tim will be free from the end of April. Another option is to bring forward our 3 months in South Africa stint, and perhaps go Oct, Nov, Dec. But what do we do until then?
And of course, then we worry about what we’ll do when we get back! The job market seems so awful, we’re afraid we won’t get a job when we get back. Worry, worry, worry. Worry if you go, worry if you stay.