Changes, changes

I’m not good with changes to be honest. Not fast ones anyway. My personality requires me to take an idea and play with it. Give me time, some internet, coffee, and good music and I’ll probably be willing to hop on board with whatever comes my way. But when changes start shooting at me with records speeds, my brain goes into overdrive, then shutdown mode.

INTJ
My personality dislikes chaos and untimely changes

I was just informed I have to be gone for a month for training starting way too soon. I thought I wasn’t going to go to this school so it was quite the surprise when I got the message. My brain starts to immediately make lists upon lists to try to drain all the traffic going on inside . One list for what I need to do at home before I leave, one list to prep for the course, one list for packing, etc. Then I start to think about how this is going to work with my job, and the fact that I’d just put out some job feelers. I guess those prospects are probably gone if they try to communicate with me in the next few weeks.

I’m trying to reprogram my brain to stay calm with these quick changes. It’s part of being in the military family, whether part-time or full, you have to expect short notice. I wrote down a couple of my lists with plenty of room to add more, and stepped away from my work desk for a while. I made a couple of phone calls to let people know what was going on, then went back to working like nothing had changed. I needed some normalcy mixed in with the crazy. So far it seems to be working. Stay calm, work it out, it’ll be fine. *Breathe*. Embrace the change, embrace the suck. You help steer the outcome and your attitude.

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it- Chuck Swindoll (2)

Like Chucky boy says, some things I can’t change, but I can change how I react. I took some aspirin, downed some iced green tea, I’m writing in WordPress, then I’m on to the next box to check off. One at a time.

Encouragement & a Hedgehog

This last week or so has been trying. It seems like everyone has been on edge and people have had a problem with just about everything I did at work. Well last week, I said Enough! And I still believe that now. The week ended badly but the weekend was good and I intend for this week to go well too. Besides getting outside in the beautiful Texas weather, we got the house cleaned up, I sold a couple of items hanging around the house, we worked out, tried a new restaurant, and I applied for a job, and am 90% done with another application (I forgot how time consuming they were). It’s going to be a short week in the office (which is always a good thing), and then we fly out to see some friends in Phoenix!

But until then, I have to go to work, be productive, deal with some nasty attitudes, and work on the final stages of my guard training. Fortunately, no more tests, I’ve passed them all, but now I have writing to do. Not fun writing, like, If You Could Be Any Animal in the World, What Would You Be? (An Eagle or a Hawk), but more like, Write your Biography and Talk about Yourself. Ugh.

But I can make it through this week. I won’t let negative people affect me with their cancerous attitudes and I’ll press on with this writing so I have the free time while I’m on vacation. For some encouragement, I found this great picture.

Enjoy!

This-Hedgehog-Is-Cheering-For-You-Because-You-Can-Do-Anything-Thank-Bear-Graphic

Life break please?

Life seems to hurry up in waves. For a while, things are just going. And that’s fine. Nothing spectacular going on, no changes, just the day in and day out. Those days can be rather pleasant because I have nothing to worry about. I just do my job and go home and relax, or even start planning a vacation or small trip. I like it. What I don’t like are these giant waves of busyness and change. I had an interview for a job yesterday. Yes, it went well, thank you for asking. Interviews exhaust me. Whenever I have an interview or test, I mentally exhaust myself into a nap.collapse into couch

Still haven’t decided if I’d take the job if offered. That in itself is enough stress on my plate. I also have to take a test on Sunday for the guard, for continuing studies. More stress to add. Then once this test is done I have to get back to studying hard for the CISSP exam as well. More stress. I don’t like it. I start to feel like I’m back in college, except without the part time job and you know…free time.

arrdev

Some people thrive on being busy and having deadlines and overloading themselves on stuff to do. I think I used to be like that but realized it was doing nothing for me except causing break outs and small break downs. It wasn’t worth it. I can handle a busy workload at work – that’s fine. But compile it with a bunch of other things outside of work and this gal starts to stress and wear down. All I want to do is sleep.  bunny

Here’s hoping that this phase of busyness ends soon. I just need to knock out these tests and then sleep can come. We’re planning a road trip in November, which I am very excited for and am using as motivation to get this work done. We bought a new camera and I’m looking forward to using it on more than my dogs and my backyard.

Enjoy your Thursday everyone. The weekend is upon us!

Deer & Ditches

Yesterday was about as normal as any other day, but it took an unexpected turn when my co-worker told me he’d found a fawn stuck in a drainage ditch across the street from our building. He didn’t think the little baby could get out, and it’s mother had just crossed the street over near our building. She was turning her head back and forth, wandering, like she wasn’t sure what to do.

I went outside with my co-worker to see what was going on and what we could possibly do to help. Sure enough, the little fawn had dropped down to the ditch and couldn’t get out. The ditch was a giant cement square, about 25’x25′, ascending from two to four feet deep, like a pool, and covered with dirt and leaves. The poor baby had probably dropped down into the ditch out of curiosity, then couldn’t get out. When it saw us, it came over towards us, but then started running in circles in the ditch, bleating loudly, most likely calling for its mother for help. I had the idea that if I could corral the fawn to one area, my co-worker could corner it and we could get it out of the ditch. I didn’t want to stay too long and scare mom away from ever showing up again.

When we first dropped down into the ditch, the fawn became visibly nervous, running toward the back of the ditch, slipping as she was obviously very new to walking. It continued to run quickly back and forth along the wall, but soon enough wore out. We slowly approached the fawn, and it dropped down to its haunches, worn out. My co-worker carefully picked it up and we brought it over to the other side of the ditch, where it was fenced for safety, and there were some shade trees and grass. The fawn laid down exactly as my co-worker put it down, its heart beating rapidly from the scare, and we backed away, in hopes that mama would come back to look for her baby.

About two hours, later, when my work day came to an end, I checked over at the space where we’d left the baby. It was no longer there, so I’m guessing/hoping mama came for baby. I’m no deer expert, but guessing from the time of year and size of the fawn, the baby is at the stage of its life where it stays put while mama forages for food and comes back to feed baby. My guess was that mom and baby were looking for a quiet place for baby to lay while mom went to get food, and they just happened to land in the ditch.

This all happened pretty quickly so I didn’t have my camera with me so I wasn’t able to take a snapshot of the fawn. Last year though, we had a fawn in front of our building, laying down, waiting for mom to come back from eating, so I do have a snapshot of that one, and they seem similar in size, so I’m guessing this fawn was in that stage of life, waiting for mom to return with fresh milk after foraging. One can only hope.

Fawn1

It was  great way to mix up the day. You never know when your assistance will be needed. Hopefully mama and baby are safe and sound, enjoying some breakfast about now.

Toxic

I have a regular office job, like so many of you out there. And I’m guessing what I write here may resonate with you.  If it does, all I can say is I’m sorry and I hope it gets better for you.

I wanted to talk a little about….toxic co-workers. Yep. We’ve all dealt with them. That cancerous attitude of one or two individuals who can bring down the morale of an entire office. But have you really dealt with them, or have you just had to occupy the same space with them?

I read some articles recently on toxic co-workers here and here, and based off of them, and my own experiences, I came up with a quick list of the worst energy-sucking toxic co-workers I’ve had to deal with so far in my working career, and what I’ve tried to help mitigate some of the toxicity.

Bad News Bears – the co-worker that loves bad news. I don’t know how these people come into existence. I have at least one of these in my office. He’s an engineer and loves when something goes wrong. I see a smirk creep onto his face the minute he has something bad to share. Recently, the A/C in his office didn’t come on (the horrors!). He’s had this “issue” before and usually comes to me to complain. Now, I have no problem putting in an official ticket to have the issue looked at. But he doesn’t start off with, “hey my A/C didn’t come on, can you put a ticket in to have it inspected?”. He came in with “[insert a/c co. here] sucks! I’m on their 24-hour line and no one picks up!” I say to him, “Well, I put the tickets in to have the A/C inspected since Joe here at the office is the one who handles the issues. Want me to put a ticket in for you? It’ll be worked on today.” His answer was, “No. My A/C came on.” He’d spent the first two hours of the day huffing about the company who takes care of this building because his A/C ultimately delayed in turning on….That seems to be like a subject not worth complaining about. He also loves to “secretly” post angry, negative, and political news stories around the office. Spreading the cynicism, one story at a time.

sw

Chicken Littles – Similar to the bear is the chicken. Chicken littles love to rain on any parade that happens to be passing by. We win a new contract? Great, more paperwork. Free lunch from the high ups? Are they going to start laying people off? New employee in today. They’re probably a jerk, or they plan on taking my job, or both. These people are cynical beyond healthy limits and can’t be happy about anything…ever. They immediately find anything negative they can possibly glean from the news. Even if it’s all speculation. To them, nothing in life can ever be good.

all-falling-apart

Hot Mess – Oh yes. I directly have to deal with this one. The hot mess is someone who is always disorganized and is constantly looking for help because he/she can’t get their time management skills or personal life under control long enough to get work done. Recently, I was pulled aside by my boss and asked to help this co-worker out. I said, sure, why not. I was caught up with my stuff so I said I’d gladly help her. Turns out, she had gotten slightly behind on some invoices, so her solution, being the Hot Mess that she is, decided to sweep the issue under the rug….for a year. So I came in with no knowledge but was able to find the solution and iron out some problems in a decent amount of time and turn it over to the boss. Problem with the Hot Messes, is that once they find out you’re willing to help, they cling onto you like a June Bug on a hot summer night. All of a sudden I was tasked, by her and my boss, to refile her invoicing system because she’d neglected to keep things in her file folders, and instead, slapped them in boxes and on her desk, in amongst her personal papers and bills. I got her files put away, and told her to take her personal papers home with her, then tried to help her organize her office (it looks like a paper mill exploded in there), but it’s still a mess. These people are dangerous because the minute you lend them a hand, they try to take you down with them. Innocently enough anyway, which can make it even harder to push away from.

The Drama Queen/King – we’ve all dealt with these, as friends, relatives and coworkers. I have a few in my office. Everything is a disaster. Recently a company in our complex renewed their lease. In their lease they purchased parking spaces. Some of those parking spaces were where some of our employees would park. Mind you, they were open spots before, but now they have been purchased. The spots they did not purchase were marked as “Open”. Simple enough. The building’s facilities people were slow in getting us this news, which was a little…irritating I guess, since I came to work and wasn’t sure what was going on. But I asked the building rep, she told us what was going on, and that was that….for most of us anyway. Four months later, and I’m still hearing complaints about this company reserving parking spots. “Well where’s our reserved spots??” “Why didn’t they tell us this was going to happen?” “This is stupid”. We don’t have reserved spots because we didn’t pay for them. They told us late, yes, but they did explain it. No it’s not, you’re just a child because someone is parking where you did. And for some reason, I’m the central drop-off for complains. Guess what folks????

i don't care

Again, this kind of stuff seems so trivial and worthless to me. Who cares if you now have to park in another space. Do you really have nothing else going in your lives that this is what you choose to focus on? Are you eight years old????

The Sociopath – Engineers (at my job anyway) are a different species. Or really, people who highly specialize in a field of study are of a different variety of people. Some, forget about all other aspects of life, specifically the social aspects, and fail to hone this skill. I have one like this at work. She has a very hard time making eye contact (she usually just shuts them as she speaks), and announces that she doesn’t understand that “feely stuff. I’m an engineer.” Those are her words. Not kidding. Now I’m not much for touchy, feely, romcom, gushy stuff, but I definitely don’t use my career choice as the reason for my lack of empathy. She has also told others that she (and I’m paraphrasing only slightly) doesn’t associate with people who don’t have degrees. Wow. She also has had episodes where she will burst into your meeting and tells everyone you’re doing it wrong (true story unfortunately). This type of person is particularly hard to deal with because there really is no easy way of dealing or reasoning with her. I seriously think she has no capacity to know how she is acting. There are people out there with no common sense filter.

awkward

So how do you deal with these cancerous attitudes? Sometimes it’s really hard. Here’s a few things I’ve done to try to mitigate some of the attitude floating in our tiny office. It’s not a full list, but they’re things that have worked for me over the years:

1. Commiserate with the commiserator – but only for a while. Sometimes if you commiserate with a Chicken Little or a Bad News Bear, for some reason, they seem to perk up. I don’t know why this is but experience tells me it’s worked. Maybe sometimes these people just need to feel like someone is on their side. “Janice, ugh, I hate to ask you this, but these jerks at corporate need another copy of the M&P report. Would you be able to send them another? They said you didn’t send one but I’m sure you did. Those guys at corporate are just a bunch of jerks.” Even if Janice actually did forget, you’re immediately putting yourself on her side. She’ll probably complain (because nothing ever is her fault) and just let her.

One word of caution though. Don’t let the pessimist in your office infiltrate your mind. These people are great at it. Before you know it, you can start taking this negative attitude on like second nature. After you commiserate with Janice, try to talk with someone in your office with a more positive attitude, or just make sure you can refocus yourself back to your more positive self.

2. Set limits with the Hot Mess. He/she will try to take advantage of you because they feel like their life is spiraling out of control. Don’t let them. These people have no concept of organization or control. They always seem to be behind, forgetting things, and on the border of freaking out. I tell the Hot Mess here when I am available to help her organize her life and for how long. No mo’ no less. I let her know what I have to work on so she can’t start sucking me in. I show her how I stay organized in my daily activities. If they continue to grasp onto your pant leg, begging for more and more help, behold the power of no!

pullyourself

3. There’s a couple ways you can handle the drama king or queen: directly or indirectly.

Indirect: When he/she starts their tirade on how everything in this world is against them, or how this horrible thing happened to them this weekend (someone took the last ketchup in the grocery store), or how they have more work to do than anyone else, just ignore them. Don’t bite when they dangle. They’re looking for attention and someone to feel sorry for them. Don’t let them. Hopefully they’ll get the hint and shut their mouths, or if nothing else, you just won’t have to listen to them rant, even if they hint at their woes every day.

Direct: Be kind, but help them see solutions, or see that the mountain they think they are climbing really isn’t as big as they think. Yelling at them to shut up, probably won’t work because they’ll probably stick it on their list of drama woes (now Nancy hates me -everyone hates me. I’m probably going to get fired). Won’t help. If they complain about their workload, tell them to talk to the manager about reducing it. If they complain about being tired all the time, tell them to take a personal day. If it’s a personal problem, give them some advice about counselors or churches, etc. that can help. The more you give them reasonable solutions, the more they’ll a) calm down and see how the issue really isn’t that bad, or b) stop talking to you because you obviously just don’t understand their dramatic life. Problem solved either way.

4. Sociopaths can be hard because many times, they just don’t understand anyone else’s reactions to them. Some people are just mean, and there’s not a lot you can do about it, or be responsible for. In the case of my coworker who is blatantly rude to others, a direct approach is the only way to deal with her. I literally have to tell her to not talk to me so rudely, or tell her to stop interfering with my meeting. It sounds harsh but it’s the only way that seems to grab her attention. She immediately stops, like a dog being told no, and backs off. If you aren’t comfortable with directly speaking to a coworker about their mean attitude, talk to your manager. That’s what they’re there for. They are there to mitigate issues like this.

I’m no psychologist or expert in the line of toxic employees, but I have dealt with quite a few different, and sometimes harsh personalities. Mostly I think you have to find out what kind of personality your coworker is and try different solutions. I used to try to combat the pessimists in the office, which usually led to arguments and no production. I learned what worked for them and found ways to be productive with them, even in their sour moods. It just takes time and observation. Not everyone is going to have the same personality as you and you just have to deal with the cards you’re dealt. Hopefully this little list helps your eight hours at the office pass by a little smoother. Happy officing.