Saturday, June 29, 2013

My nook is complete

Longtime (1) viewers will know that once upon a time Mikey's then study had an illuminated world globe. That globe would sit on the old fat tellie we had that I'd have on as I wrote, beaming its cheery globular luminescence into the room. Alas the globe eventually died, smashed as I recall, and I'd been globeless since then to right up until about a week ago. 

For I have now a new illuminated globe!, courtesy of theWife. The globe is perched on the white bookshelf I bought for theWife when she moved into my group house back in our uni-town and that bookshelf in turn is located within my man lair. A lair ... in which I now sit. 

The laptop, the one with wireless access but no sound, now lives out here and I am blogging from within the lair's confines. I have random classical music instilling serenity along with the heady glow of the halogen heater to my left. My table is an old wooden effort with a drawer and the table's surface is covered in lino cunningly disguised in a marbled-style pattern.

So with the kewl globe in place lighting up my lair and with the laptop ensconced in the lair I have started Phase Two. My workplace owes me a job, and that's when I am healthy enough to work, so I can pitch my services elsewhere with the luxury of not having to worry about unemployment whilst looking. Phase Two being designing strategic plans to prove my worth to the places I wish to try and work at.

It has now been a week since the fitness assessment declared me to be a protected species and for relocation in some sort of wildlife habitat (slash) sanctuary elsewhere in the bowels of my organisation. But the central message of 'you don't ever go back' is still a reality I struggle to lock down on. I know it intellectually, but my poor fibro-wracked body is yet to get the message. Even filling out—again, for the second time—a incident account fired up the pain spasms in the shoulders and now feet, as well as roiling tummy pain. Fortunately I am well supplied with medication and thus oldwork's ability to still physically hurt me is reduced in effect. 

But this unreality of the reality I have left is occasionally punctured with extended periods of serene bliss; acceptance that not only have I left but as I look back I realise that I've won. I've won the game of the public service. I got to do an incredibly important job despite management interference that was not only highly visible but designed to influence behaviour. A job I lucked into, in the manner of a Bradbury, by my predecessor transferring away and the role thus defaulting to me. 

So I have these moments of extended bliss where I sit and marvel at how lucky I was to do what I got to do—and the side adventures I had in my organisation on account of my moxie and chutzpah—and for the length of time that I did it for. A job that involved writing, editing, design, liaison, print management, financial admin; the fucking works. A job that I now realise was my 10 000 hours in Hamburg.
 
Phase Two has now officially begun with one of my 'I can try this' strategic plan attempts locked and loaded in Microsoft Word, the program I used for two to eight hours at a stretch whilst in oldwork. It will take many attempts, like bunny hopping at a set of lights I suppose, before I can change into a gear such as back then. The important thing is that I have started and that I am trying. That I will not let oldwork win. That I will continue to be the same outlier I've always been and improve my community wherever and whenever I can. 

Wellness for the win.

(1) No, I do NOT love you "long time". Fuck.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The spill has arced up my fibro

I didn't even know the ALP leadership spill was on until it started. Now I'm sad about it all. Sigh...

I will miss Julia. She was an awesome Prime Minister and I will miss her presence in parliament.

UPDATE: It's now Saturday, a few days post spill. We have Rudd as PM again. Wow, this country's politics can be exciting, huh? Oh the joys of our odd little constitutional system. The Rudd switch has given the ALP a reset, a chance to alter the Murdoch-driven media narrative of Boo-ALP-boo! they've sustained the entire length of the ALP's turn in federal government. And it will never change. After-all News Australia—or whatever they are called now—has a jowly leader treading water until immortality is available for the super rich. Murdoch's here until civilisation ends, even if he ends up like Burns at the end of the BoBo episode

Interesting times...  

Friday, June 21, 2013

Well I'm out

We got to see the fitness assessment report. theWife said the report recommends I need to be placed elsewhere (1). This means that effectively I have now left oldwork for good; I will not be going back. The report also noted my passionate defence of what I did, my role, and my worries for my colleagues. So maybe, just perhaps, my fall will assist those left on the wall (2).

So this is one of those a dash–glowpoint moments. That life event moment you have along the en-rule of your lifespan that pulses your dash for a moment as the timer ticks along.

Which is kind of freaking me out. And fortunately for me old noggin' I'm already viewing the life behind me with a rosy glow. I got to write with influence almost my entire professional life and my contribution to my organisation—and at my level, no less—is significant. More importantly not only did I serve well and with honour but I sucked marrow from work as I did so. I had a ball for almost the entire time I did my job and the positives from it more than outweigh the bad.  And, after-all, I was always going to fall given what my environment was like; it was just a matter of when. But I'm getting up off the mat and I am soon going to be ready for a second course of marrow.

So, once more, I think I have to say it; take that, universe, I win. 

UPDATE: Tonight I plugged in the spare keyboard and mouse into the old laptop in the shed and fired up the computer. I created two files; one for each of my next painting step ins. I decided to start writing one of those files. I spent about 30 minutes and wrote about 500 words. That's the biggest step I've taken to actively managing my "what next?" phase of my life as I wander along the gallery and look in paintings that show what I might try as my professional career re-starts. And I did that after a big stab of anxiety that got so bad that when theBoy arced up after being told off for being grabby which forced me outside into the cold with my hands over my ears so I didn't trip into a panic attack. Now, much later, I've come in after 30 minutes writing as Craig Ferguson drifted on in the background, the puffs of Winter air on my breath as I tapped away on the plugged-in keyboard. 

More rising for the win. 

(1) While I am no longer scared of oldwork I am still practising safe-re-adjustment in not reading oldwork's "Response to the incident" or, indeed, the fitness assessment so as to not cause an anxiety spike. I had a bad one this evening when theWife read it, even though she said it was nothing to worry about and in fact said they considered me a worthy person and worthy of excellence in support to return to work when he (me) is ready to do so. I check again in a few weeks and see how I go.
(2) Yes, it's true; I'm Mikey and I've had a big fall (because ... er ... I sat on the wall). But it turns out all of the Queen's horses and all of their men can in fact put Mikey back together again. So combining that with all the awesome fun I had in my career up until the Ten days in March then I'm basically Roy Batty in Bladerunner only I make it at the end.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Where the last two weeks have days that seep into each other

I'm still off work, and will be for some more time yet. However I've been given leave back—I was using my personal leave to cover it—which is an acknowledgement from my greater workplace of the merit of my case for time away due to workplace injury. So that's pretty cool. And there is also now, as I understand it, an official acceptance that I will not go back to my oldwork. My case officers have been pretty cool as well; and they keep in touch to make sure I am still on track. It makes a nice change to have officials, both public service and contractors, from your organisation actually look out for your personal interests and maintain communication.

The last two weeks though the days have fused together. I sleep many hours, I get up, I cycle, I read, my family comes home and we have much fun. Then I read then go to sleep. Each day running into the next. Which is exactly what I need; actual rest so I can recuperate. 

It's not been a linear path, of course. Some days are worse than the previous day but the overall trend is my getting better. I still struggle to write, and I used to write between two and eight thousand words a day when I was working, and there's a time complication afoot that's now starting to press for the kind of writing I want to next try. 

If this was a movie then this would be a montage of reading, resting, riding my bike, then madly Phantom of the Opera-ing at my keyboard as I get ready to try the next phase of my working life. But that's the thing about a montage; it only shows the successes. It doesn't show the agony of days when you feel like shit and even though your mind is strong your anxiety-crippled body remains a flare with stomach and muscle pain and spasms. It doesn't show those moments where you just want to not try. And it doesn't show the moments where I can see my computer and I know I have to start now but I just still lack the final push. 

But I am getting there. I am getting well. And soon I will rise from the mat. 

Mikey for the win.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Have to be less angry now...

I met with P--- recently. I used to work near P--- and he was one of those rare people you instantly click with. Ten years my senior he joined the public service in the days where he actually got envelopes with his pay in cash. He is also a man who stands up for his colleagues and has a passionate interest in workplace wellness.

I emailed him so I could talk about what happened to me and my ideas for the future. In the end it was a two hour plus dump from me where I got angry a few times.

His feedback? Be less angry. 'Mate you are way too intense when you talk about this. You're going to need to dial that back if you're going to talk to people about the future.'

Which, of course, is exactly what theWife has been saying as well. 

I have to be less angry about what happened. Oh, I'm still angry but I can let it bleed into when I talk to people about my next steps because those next steps are positive ones; ones where I am attempting to have things fixed. 

About ten years ago theWife was the target of an ill-conceived performance management attempt. Her stats had dropped for her core role but that was because she'd been taken off-line to coach others and to do other business. Her then supervisor, a human moleman, looked at the raw stats of performance and selected her to be an object lesson to others. theWife gritted her teeth but used the process to rectify things; she not only proved he was an idiot but then she gave feedback on the administration process her org used to manage others. Feedback that not only proved moleman's incompetence but also what elements of that process worked and what did not. She was even gratified to hear a senior member of her org actually question why she'd ever been selected for that process at all. In other words she used the knock to fix things.

So that's what I have to do. I have to be more cheerful about it all. And by all means give a precis of what happened, but don't dwell in a morass of rage where specific incidents bubble out of me in a long winded tale of sclerotic management ineptitude. A couple of key examples will suffice and then it will be onto policy fixes so other low echelon super competents that follow are not only protected but nurtured by my organisation instead of stomped into the dirt for threatening the prevailing hierarchy. 

I know ... it all sounds like the angry cries of a student in the '68 riots or something. But If I want to be the change I see in the world then it has to be from a cheerful Mikey, not the one where I snarl and snap with embittered spittle-flecked rage at the stupidity I had to endure most of my career in order to get my important job done.

In other words, wellness in demeanour for the win.