There have been quite a lot of changes happening in my life within these past few months. I left my job, spent 40 days in Thailand and started a new job…back in the corporate world. Yes, I’ve blogged about the downside of life in the fast lane but now, I’ve come to understand a lot of things better now.
If you need a break, you still gotta have that break before you break
Many people are really stressed up to the max. For those of you who are in this situation, you may have tried all sorts of methods- gym, having active social life, venting your frustration to friends, blogs, etc- but the fact is, you would know if you are reaching your breaking point.
Even though a lot of people may try to tell you to relax, they would just trigger a defensive response from you, ‘it’s easy for you to say! You are not in my shoes, you don’t understand….” And you may continue with the story of how the management, traffic jam, unhelpful colleagues, the political situation, etc is ‘out to get you’ and making you miserable.
Of course, it is ultimately how we react to demands and stressors of everyday work life. But if that view is also tied to some unresolved personal issues, it cannot be solved by just taking a few days’ off… or jumping to yet another demanding job (from the frying pan to the fire).
But before you take that break, please ensure that you have enough savings and that you do not burn bridges- because the world is small, you’ll never know anything you say or do would come back and haunt you in your next job search…
My 2 years break
After resigning from my last corporate job in 2008, I was away travelling. Then I took a job with a paycut– and I would always be grateful for this previous boss who had decided to take me in as during the interview he had already made the decision to hire me.
The best lessons that I have learned working for him and his company is humility and that it is really how we deal with the situation that makes the difference. During that year, I had time and energy (due to the nature of the work is not fast paced) to basically slow down and have more time to reflect on a lot of things (when previously most of my brain cells were tied up into solving problems, writing processes, etc). I had more time to observe and really learn to emphasize deeply with others.
Everywhere we work, we will face challenges. You can be working in a ‘relaxing’ job in a slow paced environment and still be stressed- for some people, when the mind is too bored, it may go around creating or looking for problems.
Even a low paying job like a cleaner can be terrible. When a cleaner cleans the toilet and puts up a sign outside the washroom, people just ignore the signs and walk in with their dirty shoes, causing dirty footmarks all over the wet mopped floor. So when the supervisor comes to check, the poor cleaner gets the shelling. And that happens quite often- with only RM500 pay a month working 10 to 12 hours cleaning many floors, it’s sad. Office cleaners also always get scolded or blamed when things go missing. When they are sick, the boss does not pay for their mcs.
When I was in the rural areas of Thailand, I see that jobs are hard to come by. Many families rely on planting crops and then doing labor work- most of these people I know are kind and very ‘genuine’ people. A lot involves physical labor- with pay that is times lower than even my paycut job. Indeed, we are really blessed- but instead, we spent our lives stressing ourselves focusing on the shortcomings of other people or yearning for fame and fortune of other people.
I had time to really look within myself under the guidance of a good teacher. I have learned more in the last 2 years of my life than all the years in my life combined. I learned to undo a number conditionings and limitations that I have set for myself that had brought me nothing but unhappiness and discontentment in the past. The journey had not been easy but it has been most rewarding.
When you really learn to turn within, truths that you first realize about yourself may be so unpleasant and shocking. It’s always easier to go on blaming external circumstances for all our problems in life. But when we do that, we would always be dependant on external circumstances for our happiness- we would believe that we would be happy if only……we have more money, we have a better job, better car, better house, someone special, live in another country, etc.
I am now back a job that was similar with my previous corporate job. Different company but similar demands and responsibilities. But my stress level’s very much different- because of change in attitude.
In my personal life, I am managing my finances much better- in the past, I used to waste money on shopping and lattes- buying things that I do not need and ruining my health. Now, I don’t walk into KLCC and buy a pair of ugly looking but highly branded shoes for few hundred bucks just to console myself for being in a life that I did want. Now, I’ve discovered and wearing more comfortable shoes that is 10 times less the price. I lost close to 30 pounds since May 2009 without deprivation or cutting my favourite food. I sleep better at night and no longer wake up feeling drained. My room and cupboard are not longer messy and my workdesk no longer cluttered. People I love looked happier because they don’t see me losing my temper (sometimes on them).
Therefore, the problem was not with the job, or other people. The problem was actually with me…. all along.
Yet, if I had not taken that break and left that job two years ago, I would not be the person that I am today. There is still lots of inner work to be done, but it would be a challenge that I greatly look forward to.