The new job is going OK.
I mean, it’s kind of overwhelming and it’s a new environment and I don’t know anyone, but I went in on day one and on day two I didn’t have the urge to stay in bed, so I’m going to see that as a win. They gave me a pretty meaty task to get stuck into which seemed very ambitious this morning (hello imposter syndrome), but I spent the day researching and… now I think I know what questions I need to ask tomorrow, so that’s progress.
So far it seems like quite a relaxed environment. The previous employer was supposedly a relaxed environment, but in reality the MD was very, very intense and stress inducing and it took me a long time to get used to him. The new MD here does not remind me of him at all, though I haven’t had much interaction with him.
My colleagues seem friendly enough. My immediate manager seems quite easy going and humorous. I don’t know if I’ll form any meaningful relationships with anyone here, because everyone is older than me… but I’m OK with that at the moment.
I’ve done a little bit of small talk with colleagues… I’ve found it quite easy… I’m supposed to be shy and socially anxious… maybe not anymore?
I’m starting my new job tomorrow and I’m feeling… OK? A bit nervous, but nothing much. I think this is the Citalopram – sometimes I feel like there’s a big ball of anxiety inside me, but it’s very deep down and it’s being suppressed. It’s distant. It’s very manageable, it’s not taking over, and I feel OK about tomorrow. Actually I’m surprised by how unfazed I feel about it. On a scale of not fazed to very fazed, I’m probably slightly fazed.
The new job itself involves some changes of routine. I’m still commuting by train, just one more stop along the line (which amounts to two-three minutes, maybe). But I’m going from working 8:00-4:20ish to 9:00-5:30. I’m not crazily impressed by the thought of still being at work at 5:30, but, realistically, the hours are not much worse than before, as long as I shift my sleeping patterns and don’t start turning up at 8:15 just because I’m awake. It does open up the possibility of running before work, but we’ll see about that…
Obviously, I currently feel absolutely no attachment whatsoever to my new employer. I remember feeling this way before I started my previous job, and I remember feeling fairly dismissive of the commitment to being employed by them, because “I probably won’t still be there in a couple of years”. Then I stayed there for seven years, and apparently I did get attached.
Here I am again. It’s a strange feeling, really.
Yesterday is the first time in he three-ish months that I’ve been taking it that I accidentally missed a dose of Citalopram. I usually take it first thing in a morning and somehow I just didn’t remember until late afternoon, at which point I felt fine so I just left it and didn’t think about it again.
I didn’t notice any difference until I went to bed and about an hour after I’d normally be asleep I was stressing about… work? Lately I haven’t had any trouble at all falling asleep, but last night my mind just wouldn’t stop talking. I didn’t connect the dots until this morning that I was probably starting to experience withdrawal.
Today I had an email from HR lady’s assistant, who I don’t think I’ve ever met. She wanted a password of an account I had, but she started off the email with “I hope you are well”. As she had CCed HR lady, I felt this invited a comment, so I said “I am well thank you – in fact my well-being has recently improved quite substantially. I hope you are well too”. I really wanted to put more detail in there, express surprise that HR had become concerned about my well-being only after I leave, casual reference to the large pay rise my new job has given me, etc… but the “less is more” approach seemed more effective. If I’d seemed bitter it would have been interpreted as a reflection on me, but an unemotional factual statement is hard to argue with. It also subtly undermines HR lady’s “well-being” initiative that she is supposedly launching. I think I’m getting better at this office politics business. Hopefully this is a skill I will not be needing again soon, but it’s useful to have.
Anyway… I told her I couldn’t remember the password.
I also had an email from my new employer’s HR lady (I need a better naming system), giving me a list of things to bring on the first day. Uh oh, it’s starting to feel real!
I have to say that I quite liked the new HR lady when I met her at the interview. She interviewed me but made it feel like a natural conversation. It was only afterwards I realised she had actually interviewed me and not just spent a while chatting. She was very… warm.
One week today I’ll be lying in bed feeling terrified by the prospect of starting my new job, but for the moment, life is pretty calm!
The weekend was nice. I did parkrun yesterday at probably 80% effort and my abs experienced no worse than a vague ache. I then did 12k this morning with a slightly more noticeable vague ache, but overall it’s definitely moving in the right direction. I think actually the slow runs have helped it. Total rest can be unhelpful for soft tissue injuries, I have noticed.
Yesterday was my sister’s 30th birthday. I bought her a bulbasaur. She wasn’t expecting him and she seemed happy (I also bought her something she actually wanted). I hope she looks after bulbasaur. I’m not sure what they eat.
It’s taken me longer than I expected to start feeling relaxed about leaving my old job. I suppose that’s OK. I was there for seven years and I was definitely upset on Friday about leaving without people seeming to be aware. My last memory of quite a big chapter of my life is one of disappointment. That’s sad, and it makes sense it hurts a bit and it makes sense I’m a bit angry. But that will pass.
It’s made me think more about my life though. I think in the medium-long term, I should be aiming to be self employed. There’s no reason I couldn’t do software consultancy (and do a better job than my ex-boss). Well apart from the crippling anxiety of course. But maybe I’d have less of that if I felt more in charge of my own destiny.
Other stuff: I’m not running as much because I am still having trouble with my hip/ab. I managed a very slow run today without any real discomfort though, so that’s progress. I think I just need to stick to slow runs for a few weeks and keep doing some light core work every day. It feels like an ab muscle strain but it seems linked to my hips in that if I stretch my hip adductor I can feel it pulling in my abs. It’s definitely improved though. I just need to not push it too hard, like I did before.
So I’m spending a lot of time wandering around and drinking tea (not at the same time), which are probably my two other favourite things apart from running.
I’m putting on weight again. This is good, because I am underweight. In fact, one of the things that finally convinced me to start on anti-depressants was the fact my weight was steadily declining. So I’m pleased to see it going back up again. But I have mixed feelings. If it keeps going up, then, one day, I’m going to get on the scales and think “hmm, maybe I am eating too many croissants…”. This is a day I do not look forward to. I really have to get my hip better so I can keep the calories burning and maximise my croissant intake.
My boss said goodbye to me yesterday as he wouldn’t be in the office today. He apologised for not having sorted out a leaving meal/event for me, no reason given. I had noticed the conspicuous absence of this, but since I’m hardly leaving on great terms, I would have felt weird about it anyway. He also apologised for not having made an announcement that I was leaving but promised that he would.
So I went in today expecting to see the email announcing my imminent departure, and realised I’d been duped. Again. I don’t know why I was surprised – it’s just par the course at this point for the company to let me down.
I said goodbye to a few people, including my manager (note: different person to my boss) whom I’ve had a really good relationship with, but the office was pretty empty today so a lot of people won’t realise I’ve left until they figure out in a few weeks that I’m not on holiday. So I left the company in much the same manner that I’ve existed here for the past year – feeling invisible and unvalued, and as if it’s somehow my fault.
Anyway, that’s all I’m going to write about that. I hope that it’s enough to get my thoughts out and let me move on. I felt quite deflated when I left, but now, this evening, I’m feeling a lot better already. I think the next two weeks are going to be healthy for me.
I was listening at work today to some music by Meg Bowles. It’s not really ‘music’ as you think of music, it’s more a very ambient sequence of sounds. In theory it’s soft and relaxing, but music can be a powerful trigger of memories and it put me back to where I was in January, when I first started listening to it… because I really needed something soft and relaxing.
Back in January I was anaemic, I had just come back to work after quite a few weeks off sick because I’d had a breakdown (and was anaemic) and I was trying very, very hard to block out any kind of negative stimulus at work. But that was all pretty much inconsequential next to the legal stress I had hanging over me, which I’m fairly sure would have ended my life (literally) if it had gone anywhere (it didn’t). Life wasn’t good back in January, and Meg Bowles’s soothing ambience was just part of my coping strategy to get through life one day at a time.
Listening to it again today was strange. It instantly took me back to where I was in January. In some ways it’s a good thing to realise how far I’ve come since then, and although some days I still feel like I’m struggling, it’s good to put that in context. But it’s a bit sad that I’ll probably never be able to enjoy Meg Bowles’s music.
Soo, I saw my counsellor today…
I think the main things that came out are that I feel let down by work, and it feels like I’m leaving with unfinished business.
I feel let down by my boss specifically, because I’ve always had a lot of respect for him. I’ve always had a view of my boss as being intelligent, professional, high achieving, etc. The people I’ve had trouble with, not so much, but ultimately, it’s his company and it falls upon him to sort out issues. I’ve had higher expectations of a number of people than it turned out were justified, but he’s the one that disappoints me the most.
The unfinished business factor is still an argument going around my head. I want to say what I’m really thinking about everything even though I have nothing to gain. This will subside very quickly after Friday, but, at the moment, it’s still there.
She re-assured me a bit on the HR front. The thing with HR lady is that she has no HR experience outside of this company, and, I think it would be naive to say that she was hired here for any other reason than she’s a native Russian speaker and most of our ’employees’ are off-shore Russian contractors. It’s actually only been a very recent thing that she has any involvement in UK matters at all. My counsellor assures me that her behaviour has been bizarre and I could usually expect a lot more support from HR. I have no other experience of dealing with HR, so it’s useful to hear this. It certainly fits my perception that HR lady doesn’t know what she’s doing, but it’s useful to get someone much older and more life-experienced than me tell me this.
I don’t know when or if I will see my counsellor again though. She said she didn’t think I needed any more counselling (and I pay her £35 a session, so this is a genuine opinion) and I agree with that at the moment.
I said I’d contact her again after I’ve started my new job and let her know. But whether that will be to make an appointment or to tell her I don’t think I need to see her again… I don’t know, we’ll see.
Today was a working from home day and I have ‘only’ covered 5km on foot (walking to and from the orthodontist). As bizarre as it sounds, I feel like I’ve been very inactive today. Last week, I covered an average of 20km a day on foot; 5km feels like nothing.
Today is the first day in about two weeks that I haven’t been running. Unfortunately I have been having some slight discomfort in my hip flexor or lower abs – not really sure which. It was getting better last week after some stretching, but then pushing it too much for Parkrun on Saturday seemed to upset my progress and even a slow run on Sunday was uncomfortable. So I decided to take a rest day today. I also won’t be running tomorrow as it’s a counsellor visit after work so I don’t really have time.
It’s surprising how different it feels to have just one easy day. I feel: a lot less tired and a lot less hungry. According to my watch I’m usually burning 3000-3500 calories a day, and it’s quite unusual tonight that it’s 9:40 and I’m not asleep yet!
I started doing so much exercise as a means to manage my mental health, and the distances just kept increasing as I got fitter. I wonder if I’m doing a bit too much though.
I have my leaving date finalised now for next Friday. So I actually get a two week break (and I’m paid for four days of it) before starting my next job.
I feel very strange about leaving. Essentially I am leaving because someone has been emotionally abusive to me and I feel very unwelcome and out of place. I have let her bully me out of my job, and I am frustrated with myself for that*. But leaving will be very beneficial to my mental health, and it’s the right thing to do for my career. If I stayed, the best case is that I’d still be bored, underpaid and undervalued. My employer doesn’t deserve me, and I deserve better. So I’m right to leave. But…
Maybe it’s because I’ve been here for seven years. I’m 32, and seven years is most of my working life. My previous job lasted for seven months. This company feels like my home. It’s where I learnt to be a professional adult. It’s going to be weird to leave it. It will be healthy, but it’s waaay out of my comfort zone, not that I find my current workplace comfortable(!).
I don’t think I’ve emotionally accepted that you can fire your employer. I know it intellectually and I’ve done it, but I don’t feel it. My boss still seems very important to me even though as of this time next week we’ll probably never see each other again.
*Well, maybe I should reframe that and say my employer let it happen.