Everything hurts

Well, not everything, but lots of things do. My foot is twinging again, my wrist/hand is twinging as well (carpal tunnel?), my hamstrings are a pain in the bum (literally) and my hip is still not really feeling OK. Last night when I was lying in bed my lower back felt soooo tight.

I haven’t run since last Saturday and I seem to be in worse state now than I was then. I guess that’s not incredibly surprising. Muscle imbalances often don’t sort themselves out and muscles and tendons like to be worked. And the fact I sit down all day isn’t good. My hip flexors get tight and that’s why my hamstrings hate me right now. I’m going to start running again tomorrow (but only gently) and hope for the best.

Earlier today I got caught in the trap today of looking at the “people you may know” thing on LinkedIn. It was really bad for my mood. I knew LinkedIn was a bad idea. Anyway… I added a rule in my ad blocker to hide those suggestions. I was quite pleased with myself for that.

LinkedIn

After two working days on LinkedIn, I’ve had 7 profile views, one connection request from a recruiter, one phone call from another recruiter and one other recruiter contact me with a job spec (not really interested, the company is in London though the job is supposedly remote). So overall I’m feeling content about this. There seems to be enough around that something should pop up at some point without me needing to concentrate much effort into it.

LinkedIn is a weird place. It’s trying to get me to connect with people it thinks I know. The strangest one is someone who I very briefly met about 8 years ago. He was also hired when I started my previous job, but he only lasted about 6 weeks. He was a student in London at the time and working part time and remotely, so, unsurprisingly, he hasn’t listed it on his profile. But how did LinkedIn match us? Very odd. All I can think is that he used to have it on his profile and LinkedIn has maintained the link to our ex employer even after he removed it? I don’t know. LinkedIn is a bit sinister really.

I don’t really like that it’s trying to match me with people from my previous employer. I don’t want to feel ‘connected’ to that place in any way. I think LinkedIn is a mental health black hole if you’re not careful. I’ve set up some job alerts by email and I’ll try to limit my interaction with the website until it emails me with something relevant.

The recruiter I spoke to asked me what I was earning now and then said “did you take a pay cut at your current job?”. Which made me think. I didn’t, it was actually a decent jump, but when they offered it to me they had already asked how much I was earning, and I do think they took advantage of the fact I was massively underpaid to start with. I knew that at the time and overlooked it because it got me away from my previous job and it was still an upgrade, so I’m not resentful of it, but that doesn’t mean it’s a situation I should continue indefinitely.

Hello again, LinkedIn

I ended up recreating my LinkedIn profile today, because I got a bit fed up of my boss earlier. We don’t have very good processes at this company for deploying our releases. Deploying releases is always hairy but there are ways to make it less hairy, such as taking backups and rolling back if things don’t go as they should. My boss doesn’t do that, and then when it doesn’t work he sends a cryptic one line email which explains a small percentage of what you need to know. I find the email thing really odd. On a call he’s fine, he explains things properly, but on email he just doesn’t. Literacy problem? I don’t know.

So today I got just frustrated enough to make myself visible in the job market again.

But interestingly work was not what was really stressing me. I thought it was, but it’s not. I didn’t notice until this evening, but my watch says my stress levels have been super high all day, even before I woke up.

Even so, I think it’s about the right time to be getting back on LinkedIn. As it’s a fresh profile I don’t have any connections so it’ll take a little while to build visibility to recruiters. I haven’t really done much. I added my current job title and employer and university but haven’t put my old jobs and descriptions on there yet. I can get all that from my CV from last year.

Next problem will be thinking of how to write my achievements in this job. What have I actually done here? Lots of things but it’s all specific to the project, whereas my for my previous job it was easier to explain things in a more abstract way. I will need to think about how to present that. Although I think that after being here almost a year, I’m not sure my CV has really got any stronger. That’s interesting.

And I guess I should also take a professional looking photo, urgh… maybe I’ll leave that a few weeks. I don’t know. The point of LinkedIn for me is to get agency recruiters talking to me. I don’t really expect to be dealing with actual employers. So maybe the photo doesn’t matter.

Sunday

I haven’t written for a while about how I’ve been finding not being on antidepressants any more. My sleep has improved a lot again and I’m glad about that. I think my mood has as well, but not entirely. Today I felt depressed and anxious and I don’t really know why. I just didn’t used to get days like this when I was on Citalopram. On days like today I really miss the calming effect it had on me, even if I didn’t really realise it at the time. I feel better than when I last wrote about it though.

In other news…

My sister got a new job! Well, an offer. She has been looking for a few months. She got a £500 pay rise after being at her current employer for 18 months, which seemed a bit offensive, but her new job is an £8k pay rise. Overall her employer seems pretty terrible. It didn’t get off to a good start when she went to a second interview there and the interviewer/HR woman didn’t turn up (my previous HR manager also scheduled a meeting with me then didn’t turn up! Seems to be a common theme. Uh oh I’m getting stressed about my previous job now).

The new job is at a prestigious firm and will look good on her CV.

It makes me think about my career goals. I am starting to get recruitment spam again now, and I’m getting emails every so often for jobs I’m qualified for, advertising salaries of £55k, £60k. That’s quite a big jump from what I’m on now. I don’t really care about money per se, at least not in the sense that I have an expensive lifestyle (I really don’t), but it’s a safety net for the future. It gives me options. So I do care about it, it’s just more of an abstract concept. I still have the crazy idea that one day I might start my own business (well, I’ll probably need to be back on Citalopram for that) and having as much money as possible before doing that sounds like a good idea.

My employer has still not said anything about my six month pay review (now 4 months overdue), so I think my plans are that I’ll wait until November, when I’ll have been here a year, and then I’ll recreate my (deleted) LinkedIn profile, set the option to signal I’m open, and see what turns up.

Saturday

My hip improved then got worse again. After Sunday, I did a lot of foam rolling and by Wednesday I was running again, mostly pain free. Then a longer run Thursday, which was OK. But by Friday it was hurting again and this morning I had to stop at 10k. I think hills are a problem. I stopped at the bottom of a hill this morning and had to walk home and it was painful just walking up it. It’s weird because it feels OK again now, but now I have a lot of aches in my upper hamstrings and into my bottom. I think that’s probably where the dysfunction is, especially as hills seem to set it off. It’s always hard to know what to do with these kinds of injuries. Obviously it needs rest, but I’m not sure that’s going to be enough.

I’m a bit worried about the COVID second wave that we seem to be experiencing. Or rather, I’m worried by our government’s approach to it. Similarly to March, we have the luxury of being a few weeks behind other European countries, so we can look at them to see a glimpse into our future, and yet we don’t seem to be learning any lessons from that. We know where this goes. I can understand reluctance to lock things down again but I’m very surprised we don’t have some strong messaging on working from home again.

Virtual Great North Run

The Virtual Great North Run was really two runs in one. The first run was a fast 10k and I would have been very pleased with it were it not for the fact that my hip was getting tighter and heavier and starting to cramp painfully. The next 12.5k (yes, that’s too far) were painful, slow, and interspersed with stretching breaks that didn’t seem to do much. I’d have cut it short if it hadn’t been an event.

The ‘virtual’ side of the race was massively overhyped by the Great Run company and didn’t work properly. I ended up running an extra 1.4km because the viRace app didn’t manage to connect at the start of my run but apparently it sprang into life part way in, so to make sure I actually ‘officially’ finished I decided to keep going after the end. Every so often it tried to play me some official audio, but only worked roughly a third of the time, so what really happened was the music my phone was playing just paused for no obvious reason. I assume I was supposed to hear something as I finished, but I didn’t, so that was a bit anticlimactic. I have found before that the Great Run Company are very strong on marketing and not so good on delivering, so I wasn’t really surprised.

Overall it was a pretty bad run. Actually it was the worst run I’ve ever done, easily, and it’s going to take some recovery now before I can run on my hip again.

I’m not sure what’s wrong with my hip. I had felt it was a bit tight a few days before, but it didn’t seem like anything and I’ve never had any issues with my right hip so I didn’t think much of it. It’s over the outside of my hip so I think it might be the infamous IT band. I was hobbling around the house this morning and couldn’t walk in a straight line, but I’ve been on the foam roller pretty much every hour and it has eased off quite a lot now.

Virtual Great North Run

On Sunday I’ll be doing the Virtual Great North Run. Which is the great north run from the convenience of my house. So it’s not the great north run at all. It’s just a 13 mile run. I’d like to say I’m excited about it, but I’m not. I am really missing the slightly more competitive side of running and somehow I don’t think this virtual race will scratch that itch at all.

I downloaded the app for it yesterday, which enthused me even less. To be blunt, it reminds me of the kind of thing my last employer used to develop. You’d look at it and think “we’re not actually giving it to the customer looking like this, are we? Oh we are, okay then”. All I can say is I hope it works better than it looks, but in my experience, software often works exactly as well as it looks. So I’m not optimistic. I will be completely unsurprised if it crashes after 11 miles and doesn’t register me.

But then I’m not optimistic about the run in general. I don’t expect to get a good time because it’s just really, really hard to push yourself over 13 miles when you’re on your own. There’s no adrenaline or competition. There’s a reason that Kipchoge was surrounded by other runners during his sub two hour marathon, even though he had lasers projecting his desired pace onto the ground.

But apparently Parkrun is supposed to be returning at the end of October. I really hope so! The last time I ran a Parkrun was way back in March. The run director greeted us all with “GOOD MORNING PARKRUN” and when we weren’t loud enough for her she asked if we had some kind of respiratory illness. Well, ironically, I did, as I discovered the next morning when I woke up feeling like death and pretty much stayed in bed for the next week.

That was a long time ago now.

I miss Parkrun.

Disney

The past two weekends I’ve been watching the Star Wars prequels. This weekend was Attack of the Clones. I never really liked the prequels much when they came out, but after seeing the most recent trilogy I appreciate them better. OK the acting’s a bit rubbish, but if you overlook that they’re not so bad. But also you see things through a different perspective as you get older. When you are younger you just see Anakin not behaving as a jedi should. When you are older you notice that the Jedi aren’t exactly setting him up for success. Maybe Kreia was right.

I thought I should watch them again because I’ve also been watching Clone Wars on Disney+. It was recommended to me a few years ago by someone I worked with. And actually it’s pretty good! The first few episodes are aimed at children but at some point they seem to change it to more young-adult and then slightly less young adult and it picks up quite a bit.

In related news, Disney is trying to get me to watch the new Mulan film for only £20! Well actually it’s £20 on top of the Disney+ subscription, which is £5.99/month. Who’s going to pay £20 to watch Mulan on TV? I hope I’m not out of touch on this. This seems like a ridiculous price to me and I hope this isn’t the future of film.

Life

So apparently, as I found out today through checking out a referral on my WordPress statistics dashboard, I share the username I have for my blog here on WordPress with a cam girl on an adult site. I just thought I’d mention that. It looks like someone was looking for her but found me instead. I imagine they were disappointed. Unfortunately, dear readers, my clothes generally stay on while I am in front of my computer.

I haven’t written much here for a while because I’ve been kind of depressed. Well, up and down. Actually I felt fairly good over the weekend. I had a really bad day last Thursday, for reasons, but then the weekend was fine and it’s just today I feel down again. I think work got to me today. I feel… frustrated? But it’s not really any different than it has been.

I think I am now seeing the effects of Citalopram, in as much as things bother me a lot more than they did when I was on it. I definitely don’t feel as calm as I used to, and I miss that. There have been a few times that I have thought to myself that maybe I should go back onto it. But I’ve only been off it for a month, so I’ll give it a few months at least and see how things are.

Paranoia?

I’ve felt quite stressed just lately and I think I’ve finally worked out why. In November I’ll have been at my current job for a year. A year is the milestone I’ve always had in my mind when I think I should be starting to look around and see if there’s anything better. At some point, someone will offer me £10k more to do the same job as I do now, assuming I actually put myself out there.

That’s all fine. I’m content with that.

What stresses me though is the thought of references from my previous job. When I left my previous job, my ex boss promised me a glowing reference. That’s already sounding alarm bells, because I came to form the opinion that anything he promised had a very low chance of happening. He also said he’d provide me with a copy that I could “keep on file”. Guess what: that didn’t happen. So, hmm. The thought that he could sabotage me with a bad reference is a bit disconcerting. I don’t really think he would, but I hardly left on good terms. I mean, I was polite about it, but I left because I thought he was useless and I’m pretty sure he picked up on that!

I looked up the law on references. References must be fair and accurate, which means that he couldn’t really give me a bad reference without opening up a legal avenue (which I absolutely would pursue). He couldn’t even safely write something truthful because I could argue it was unfairly selective and misleading. They actually use my work as the leading example of their abilities and achievements on their website, even now, almost a year since I left. He could hardly justify a bad reference.

So maybe I’m just being paranoid here, but I made sure the current website snapshot is saved in the Wayback Machine and I’ve downloaded a copy and put it on my Google Drive so it’s timestamped.

👍

This is how my mind is working at the moment. On the one hand I’m pragmatic and prepared and I’ll be grateful for it if I end up suing him, but on the other, I’m not sure a calmer mind would be exploring this eventuality.

I am trying harder to stop the spiralling thoughts. I’ve prepared, it’s fine, I can leave it at that. And breathe… I didn’t have to do this when I was on citalopram.

Oh yes, and the other thing is that if I am going to start doing a passive-ish job search again then I need to get back on LinkedIn. I deleted my profile a few months ago because I received a few unwanted messages from SOMEBODY from my previous job. I left my previous job because of bullying. My boss was useless in resolving it. That’s the summary. When I got this person contacting me on LinkedIn, it didn’t bother me much but I just deleted my profile because it wasn’t doing anything useful for me and it didn’t make sense to let it serve as a way for her to deliver messages to me. But I need to get back on there. I don’t really want to do that because… I don’t want to make myself able to be contacted by her, I suppose. I don’t want her knowing where I work. I know I can block her but she used two different accounts to send the messages. I can’t block accounts she hasn’t created yet.

It connects me virtually to somewhere I want to leave behind.