Saturday, 26 January 2013

Little bit of courage

So, I've decided to start my own online business.  It would give me some independent income and possibly be the start of taking back control of my income - exciting, daunting and scary at the same time.  It's scary and daunting because if you don't work, you don't get paid - there is no sick leave, maternity leave, holiday day or carer's leave.  And I'd have to go out there and advertise and market myself.  I know I'm good at what I do, but I feel really uncomfortable telling others about it.  I'd feel like I was being "up myself".  It's very Australian to talk yourself and your talents down.  Shame.  But I'm excited by the thought - and I haven't been excited about my career prospects since I first saw myself in a power suit, then found out I got into the course I wanted at university!  So that's a good sign, right?

Up to this point, I've always been happy being a "worker monkey", and having other people deal with the yuck side of business - hiring, firing, budgets and meetings.  I just show up, do my job, and go home at the end of the day, and miraculously money appears in our bank account every month.  Ta da!  But being a worker monkey also means your future and job security is in someone else's hands.  And at the moment, I'm not coping very well with that!  Stomach ulcer waiting to happen!

It might sound very boring of me, but most of what I crave these days is security and stability.  It could have something to do with the year's worth of uncertainty my family has gone through because of my current job!  And while I'd have control over my own work environment if I started my own business, I'm not sure I'd cope with the uncertainty of the work flow - will I get enough work this month to pay the bills?

But it can't hurt to try, right?  And if you never try, you'll never know!  In five year's time, I could have so much work to do that I'd need to take on a staff member!  Might need to start getting over my fear of paperwork and forms, I think!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Let's be honest

How many times, when you're talking to a friend and they ask "How are you?", you follow up with "Fine."  Or "Not bad."  Or even "Getting there."  When really you want to say something like, "I feel shitty, fat, like I'm struggling to keep my head above water, I'm going through a real rough patch with my husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/partner and I don't know what to do, I'm stuck in a rut and can't see the way out..."  Why, when asked how we're doing, do we give everyone a sanitised reply?

I'm not suggesting you spill your guts to the poor supermarket check-out chick or dude when they follow their script of "How are you today?", but even with our friends we tend to keep our cards close to our chest.  Some dear friends, God bless them, keep pushing until they get the truth because they know us enough to see through the fakery - and how much better do you feel after you've opened up to one of those friends?  So why don't we do that more often?  Be honest?  Are we afraid that others will judge us as weak because we struggle from time to time?  Do we really think our friends and those around us don't have shitty days and struggle too?

The deadline is drawing closer to finding out whether I lose my job or not.  You might struggle to believe me when I tell you that I don't tell many people about it - outside close friends and family... and however many of you are reading.  But casual friends and acquaintances do get the sanitised answer of "Oh, I'm not too sure about my job's future but we're doing okay."  When really I should say, "You know what, there's a high chance I'm losing my job in less than two weeks and I'm kinda worried about making ends meet if that happens.  And somehow I'd like to study nursing but we don't have the money and there don't seem to be many nursing jobs going at the moment anyway, thanks to the State Government.  But I love God and trust Him to see us through this, even though the control freak inside me just wants to go crazy and 'fix' everything.  So, I don't suppose you need someone with my skills or know of someone?"  Ha!

On the weekend my beautiful, patient and ever-supportive husband told a friend of his the truth about where we're at at the moment, and the first thing he said was, "Well, if it comes to February and nothing's happening, give me a call.  I might be able to help or let you know of someone who is looking for an XYZ."  Cool, huh?  Our support network just grew by one more!

Honesty among trusted friends can open doors and lead to comfort, reassurance and support.  And who doesn't need more of that in their lives, even in the good seasons?  Whether it's relational, job related, parenting issues, emotional struggles or something else - we all need honesty to know we're not alone.

Ask a friend an honest question and wait for their honest answer.  Then be honest with them in return.  It might lead to something great - even if that's just a "warm and fuzzy" and a closer, stronger friendship.

(As an aside, have you ever seen the look of stranded horror on the face of the supermarket check-out chick/dude when you do give them an honest answer about how your day's going?  It's hilarious!  Poor kids don't cover that in training!  Best to follow their script!)

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Let's talk

How often do you feel absolute relief when you learn that someone is going through, or has gone through, the same thing as you?  Whether it's illness, stress, depression, baby blues, struggling to keep on top of jobs, or you just plain feel like you're losing your mind, don't you feel great when you finally confide in someone and they say "Yeah, me too!"  I can almost laugh for joy sometimes!

I think people are programmed to keep a lot of things to themselves, thinking we're the only one in the world struggling with or experiencing XYZ.  But in a world of 7 billion people, do we really think we're that unique in our battles?  Chances are there's about 3 billion people who know what you're talking about!  So why don't we talk more?  Talk.  Share.  Get it out there.  The enemy /  darkness thrives in silence - shine a light in there by talking!

So here's my share.  There's a 50-50 chance I'll be losing my job in early February.  I was told just before Christmas that my department will be dissolved, with half of the staff going, and half being redistributed (as such) around another department.  Merry Christmas, eh?
Then about two weeks later, I had an early-stage miscarriage.  If it wasn't for the positive pregnancy test, I probably wouldn't have even realised I was pregnant, given how stressed and distracted I was about work.
And in amongst those two things, I was on deadline editing my first book (written by a wonderful woman) and was up until 1am and 2am most mornings trying to get it done, only to be up again at 6am with my beautiful daughter.  But you know what?  That editing work really helped me through that month - the message in the book was great, and it took my mind off work and loss.  And those hours of the night are so magical, powerful, peaceful and beautiful.  If it hadn't been for that book, I wouldn't have had that 'peace' in my day.

So here I go into 2013, again not sure of whether my job is safe or not, and what exactly will happen if it's not, after we went through the same stress just a few months ago (though I made that cut, but I have a gut feeling I won't this time).  With a toddler and a new mortgage on a house I love and plan to be in for the next 50-odd years, it is so bloody scary to think about losing my job and starting again - having to make new friends, learn new systems and programs, new shifts and routines...  My faith in God is being tested yet again (I think God really wants me to learn this lesson because it just keeps coming back around on me!).  I know He will look after us and provide for us.  I just need to let Him.  Ahh, hard for a control freak like me!  (Perhaps that's why I keep getting the 'lesson plan')

I also need to learn to trust in God's timing.  I would be in the throes of morning sickness now, and excited for our baby to be born in August if I'd had any say or control over it.  But it wasn't meant to be.  It will happen when the time is right.  God knows when that will be.  I don't.  That sucks, but I'm learning to let go.  And it wasn't until I started sharing with my closest friends and family about my miscarriage that the pain started to ease - love, hugs and shared stories back.  Goes to show - shine a light into the darkness by talking!  There is comfort in sharing.  And as they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.

My beautiful adopted mum summed up the point perfectly:  People and mostly women need to learn to share their experiences. That's one of the ways we become stronger. Ignorance of other's struggles makes us less compassionate as well as leaving us feeling alone. Let's tell the world how much we are alike and finding God in the hearts of those who love Him.

I'm also going to try and get out running again after falling off the bandwagon after the Bridge to Brisband 5km event last September.  I want to get back up to 5km, then download the Couch to 10km app!  Who knows, I might be ready to run a half marathon next year!  HA!  Having that time to myself and goals to strive for will help no end with this year's curveballs.

But above all this, in 2013 I need to learn to let go and have some fun - just roll with the punches, stop trying to fight the rollercoaster (because who knows I'm going to lose that battle?!?!), be still as often as I can, smile, laugh and enjoy all the wonderful things in my life, of which there are millions!

So buckle up 2013!  Here we go!