Workaholic? The 3-5-7 approach

*Just left the office on time for the first time* today Oct.25, 2016.

*Deciding to shut down the part of the brain labeled ‘work’ exceptionally today and hopefully this week, jumps into car to drive to the gym*

workaholic

*Yet, voices in the brain whisper:

  • Oh no, u forgot to email that client and the other and oh,
  • first thing tomorrow morning i need to  send this, email that, print this, meet that…
  • Joy!! You should have sent that document so the other teams can check it and get back to you urgently
  • the chairman’s approval request, oh snap let’s send this one from my iPhone now whilst stuck in traffic
  • i should better call for an urgent team meeting tomorrow to … *

NO.

No, no no and no. just STOP.

9 hours a day are the official working hours, and these are considered almost universal (with the recent exception of few countries these days, like Sweden for instance which has recently been experimenting with a new, reduced working hours of its people, according to research that proves individual productivity is maximized by doing so.)

I currently still have my job, been there one year precisely now, but now, i am not so sure this is what i want ..

I am 27, and my sister, Sadness, does look up to me big time.. she did indeed especially this time last year, when i opened up this blog, believing this is genuinely what i want and what i was meant to do.

Alas, every workplace has its unprofessional-ism, and/or its incompatible team members..

every one place or person we find ourselves in or with, eventually loses that shiny outer layer that first lured us into it, and then we find ourselves self-wondering, telling ourselves:

Don’t lose sight of why you do/did it! Remind yourself why you decided to start.. 

I reached out for help, from people within my circles, mentors and just close people and friends..

I learned one interesting theory I had never read about or heard of before:

The 3-5-7 approach!

I am confused as to should i stay, face the challenges and hard times, absorb all negativity in myself and within the workplace, or should i leave, do what i see best or better for me right now..

The 3-5-7 approach is apparently quite dissipated among some people;

3 years in begin to re-evaluate your job where you are, your development;

5 years get out;

7 years consider how you are going to stay in the game longer if you are staying, or seriously get out before you become a company person and build up too much firm specific human capital.

I have spoken to five friends this past week, and believe it or not, all topics coincided at one theme:

the uncertainty residing within the current job that each of them does, wondering if they should stay where they are or seek change before they “get hooked or stuck” ..

Hoping this may help you and them, now or at some point, really 🙂

Do you know of any other theories or advice to my friends and myself? I’d love to read you out.

Sincerely yours,

Joy

Oct..31, 2016; 1.35am

Mental Health & Intimacy: Can we talk?

In Lebanon, the most ‘westernized’ country of the Middle East, the once-called Pearl of the Middle East, Mental Health and Intimacy are almost entirely unspoken of.

In 2016, yes, still nothing, or at least barely in my circle. I cannot stand it anymore; my friends as i  recently discover, are hurting because of that. Men and Women indeed. What about yours? and yourself?

I am not comfortable:

Can you imagine being with friends, going out, clubbing, drinking, and end up losing a friend at the end of the evening who chose to spend the night with someone, only you  or your company end up harshly “judging” her for doing so, OR, “blaming” her why has she not done so given she has the freedom of choice in this era, where standards of interaction vary so much but almost everything is acceptable (as it seems the case is with both genders now)?

This is probably the first time i feel my blog needs to voice a particular national topic, rather than a personal one that each of you usually relates to, to raise awareness on the issue, and be the voice of all those unspoken opinions, especially ladies’ and gents’ involved today.

I would love to hear/read on this platform, if this issue below is the same in your country, society, family, or life?

I had noticed this when i first came back from the UK in July 2015, but ever since, to-date, i realized i have not been able to initiate any one conversation with family or friends (even close ones) about either topics: intimacy or mental health.

I was sat with a friend Friday evening, we had went out for drinks, but then from one topic to the next and throughout a heart-to-heart chat, it hit me:

Ladies, in Lebanon, including myself, are living some form of repression. Men, on their end, well God help them too! :

these last, if they approach a lady who’s having a blast and looking super inviting, she may end up slapping them in the face or making a scene that leads to a bunch of men-“bodyguards” kicking his ass for flirting with her, knowing she was indeed flirting, with probably a super provocative outfit too.

In contrast, when i was in the UK, (in my eyes at least, humbly) with Europeans particularly i.e. then Brits and EU-citizens, it was more transparent for men to pick up ladies (and vice versa) looking to have fun, or others looking for something serious, and even others who are looking for nothing at all, except some fun, dancing, and a good laugh before returning to their own cocoon of a different kind of goals and life.

Also, if men mistaken one type of woman for another, both were as transparent about it, saying “no”, or “yes” to whatever unfolds and they’d knowingly make the decision because they are more equipped with the thorough input on what they get themselves into.

There was this mutual, implicit understanding and synchronized behaviour between men and women;

they both knew what they wanted the minute they left the flat to party, and stuck by it throughout the pub crawling and the alcohol, peer pressure or not, and the all of it ..

The way the ladies dress up, flirt, or don’t, their overall behaviour and confidence in what they want did attract the right type of men. In the eyes of a Lebanese lady, it was perfect because here, back home:

Either the ladies are hypocrites; they play dress up, act so unlike themselves (knowingly most of the times) and end up making a scene if a guy dares to go as far as kiss them, when in reality, they wanted more out of that evening or out of that guy they had met and perhaps even truly liked.

Or, the ladies are forced to be hypocrites, by the repression within their family and their Lebanese culture (which i admit are engraved in your blood usually), lead on men, get what they wan out of the encounter, evening, or relationship, but then in front of friends and family they act like they were assaulted or had their rights violated, or had not agreed to however far it all went and play victim.

Alternately too, the women may be pretty confident in what they want, how they want it, and have the courage to put themselves out there and they remain feeling happy and/or confident, in charge of their own lives and bodies,

BUT then BOOM: to what expense did their behaviour and their desires add up in a country like Lebanon? The dad disowns them, the mother stops being the loving, supporting mother, family whispers behind their backs or slowly withdraw their warmth and loosen family ties, as they render the relationship colder and colder; last but not least, society, from the hotel clerk to the concierge of the building, to the neighbours, colleagues, “once-close” friends spread rumors, harsh comments, that make living here unbearable since..all of it.

Or, some women so repressed by the “do not talk about intimacy or mention it, or you-must-remain-ignorant about it” mentalities just go for it, they choose the relationship and boundary they feel most comfortable with,

but then, they end up so deeply broken, alone, lost, with psychological issues they cannot in turn even voice or talk about. So, they fall in the category of NO-NOs in the Lebanese Society, dangerously still closed and resistant to publicly admit therapy, guided socialization, or that an expert’s help in relationships may help restore mental health, for saner , healthier relationships in the future.

Ladies, including myself, find difficulty talking about their intimate lives. Why? Is it fair? What about to our partners, who know not what to expect of the entire relationship or if we dare speak about certain issues?Does not ignorance and induced ignorance engender mistakes, bigger ones, and ones a little too late to cure?

And what about those of us who do find this 1/30 friend who may understand we need to or have the courage to vent about our intimate lives and little adventures, or need to exchange experiences or learn more about how far things go and from each others’ experiences; well, we end up not really trusting even our 1/30 choice, fear they might not be as honest or as frank as they seem and they might hold the key to destroying our lives and relationships with family, friends, and chosen partners.

And so, our dilemma goes on. Our ignorance or fake acts enhanced, and men’s ways would turn more brutal, understandably, knowing they may as well take advantage of whatever comes their way and deal with the repercussions, when/if they come.. if stories like that ever make it to the kitchen tables of every home in Lebanon, rather than remain ‘masked’ inside the family room.

This needs to change, and i choose my platform beginning tonight to host your opinions, please, on the issues raised.

Mental health in a country as challenging to live in as Lebanon in all respects (minimum or no government support basically) needs to be detected in citizens, talked about in families, even gay people in Lebanon are still being bullied and suppressed by parents  and this, as linked to mental health of both: parents and children, affects the relationships built among people.

Why does my friend feel the need to attend mental health tests, seminars, or diagnoses halfway across the globe, when Lebanon is so westernized in all social, technological, and world trends??

Why can’t he or she do it here, close to family, close to their culture, environment, and the people who just get them in their own context?

Why do women need to say, like i heard last night from two acquaintances, “i need to go for abroad for a year, learn and come back” , when they could talk openly about any relationships and boundaries and being psychologically alright in choosing partners here, in Lebanon, their home country.

I have been abroad and seen; my friend K.B. too, from the UK did also tell me about mental health and about how many women per year lose their virginity because they were too drunk one night, or end up raped or pregnant or, or , or…

I have also observed some of the nontraditional relationships and the different kind of affection exerted in Europe between partners especially.. but not everyone has got the chance to understand or learn more about a dangerously-camouflaged aspect of their life in Lebanon.

Also, not everyone has got the chance to experience “abroad” and not hurt themselves in the process or stand their grounds and values. Do these have to commit a mistake? Do they have to be ill-equipped and ignorant about the directions of their personal lives?

Thank you so much for listening, and understanding how dangerous and critical these two issues are becoming in Lebanon, as well as abroad, in your home countries too.

Everyone is indeed free to choose their partner and the depth of their relationships knowingly; are we not?

Sincerely,

Joy

Oct. 31, 2016; 1.02am

 

PicK your Battles like roses

Roses …

they are sometimes very thorny on the outside it hurts anyone who touches it, but sometimes they are not, they have few thorns and allow us to gently carry it,enjoying the fragrance of the soft rose standing at the end of the stem.

Battles of Life ..

The battles we pick to fight in this life, whether a family one, a work one, a personal illness one, and a psychological or physical one are all thorns surrounding, protecting, or perhaps covering some things we want to attain, eye, or just really want.

Battles are not easy; they have a starting point, but no endpoint usually. We initiate them, hoping to get to the end of the line when things are right again, where i can celebrate my success.

 

We tend to forget though that .. we do not have to pick every rose (and struggle with the thorns around it) we meet on our way.

 

The very thorny rose is not necessarily the most beautiful rose, nor does it necessarily carry the most lively, colorful buds, or most amazing velour petals. It could, but it depends on how the rose was created.

that is, is it meant for someone to take on the “battle of picking it”:

i.e.get spiked and stung by it, and only then be given the chance to enjoy the emotions its beauty creates to them and the person they offer it to?

Or could it be

that someone comes across it, sits there, appreciating its beauty, but then continues walking towards their destination, choosing not to bleed or take out the thorns, because they’re just not their kind of rose?

 

How many of you have chosen to remain in an unhealthy relationship, perhaps even over n over n over..or still are?

Why are you there?

Have you “chosen” to pick your fight and that was/is one of them?

Or has it taken its toll on you and now you’re not so sure anymore why do you allow it to drain you like that? 

How many women and men in the world nowadays suffer of domestic violence or chronic physical abuse, yet they refuse to admit it or turn in the aggressor? 

They insist on fighting the battle .. on picking those thorny roses, but why so?

How many times have you taken on an overtime task or job on, knowing it would prevent you from:

  •  really breathing? i.e. taking deep breaths, and yes, more than one.
  • spending the time you need/want with your family and kids?
  • practicing your hobby? knitting! running, drawing, yoga, playing an music instrument, collecting stamps, car prototypes, currencies..?!
  • How many times did it drain you emotionally and mentally, yet you keep repeating the same mistake and taking on similar duties?  

Was it or is it all worth it?

i.e.could you have found another rose to pick, with less thorns, perhaps even more beauty, but just standing a little further from the crowd/garden of thorny roses..?

standing a bit further away, along that little secret door of the garden that is only found by the selective few people in life who decide not to conform to society cuffs, to the black dot in the middle of the page, but they rather believe in how special they are as a person, and believe they were created, just like this less thorny rose, as beautiful, capable,unconventional,and as unique and driven to follow this secret door and get to places, be things to more people in different ways than the world “herds” most of us people in masses, to one path to success, which is based on literally stepping over colleagues in your life to attain success, or stepping over family life to be rich/successful, and so forth..

Stepping over people, you learning how to lie, cheat, manipulate others, or go against your work ethic every day for the rest of your life , – no matter how ambitious- may yes get you to places, but:

Can you still find the person YOU really are deep down, the genuine, authentic you, with all your perks but also your vice?

Do you still see the passion, the drive YOU had in you when:

You first started building furniture for a living, or drawing your art and displaying it in someone else’s showrooms, or helping underprivileged kids, or educating others, or consulting your clients on the success of their company’s expansion or new products..? Whatever it is that you chose to start doing at the beginning of this year or the one before at this one place .. Do you still find YOU in it? 

If you do:

then whole-heartedly, it makes my heart lighter to know that someone in this world has managed to maintain their authenticity, their true self, and their own character within a larger workplace that does not and did not succeed in sucking their own soul out of them .. no not like a vampire, but rather, so slowly, as it kills their real ambitions, the real development sought, as bosses or colleagues give you morphine shots to last a little longer on your lower salary, a little longer on that requested vacation you had asked for a week or ten ago yet “work” is in the way and you were not granted to take it .. and just a little longer  on that departmental restructuring you pitched a “year” ago today.

If you don’t:

While you fight to do these things for a living ( yes, a living is something we all look for and need in life) but while you fight these, did you ever feel you were losing yourself?

Do you feel you’re a better Mum, brother, father, or sister than what your job allows you to be?

Do you feel like you’re going against your own work ethic big time while you’re at it? A first time passed, then it dragged on a second, third, and twentieth?

Did you ever feel like you’re not you any more while you’re at it?

Did you feel like you’re doing it not because it’s your calling anymore and you enjoyed doing it like when you first started, but rather because you’re now caught in the middle, unable to share your preferences or proposed changes because you know the structure won’t allow it or the boss(es) won’t change their mind about that?

We choose not to turn our aggressors in, we choose not to show our misery or pain, we choose, we choose, we choose … the thorny roses, almost always thinking that’s how it works in life, in the world Joy for God’s sake, how did you even think “the world can change its heart” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWASeaYuHZo)

I love you, my people. You actually are a minority who actually, genuinely listens to what I or others have to say; I guess this is my whole blogging experience lesson so far.

Last night, my people, i sent out my resignation letter to my supervisor.

Lesson of the Day:

Pick your battles and Bow Out Gracefully.

Do not face them by default because they came by to your life; they weren’t.

You pick to live them, and when the time came, to fight them – or not to.

It has been an uphill battle at work – which I obviously allowed to impact me big time, being so away from my blogging.

But also, life ties our hands, clips our wings and brains to certain extents that it makes it so complex and unjust at different turns. Virtual friends like fear, insecurity, social/family  benefits take over our authenticity, our true self..and above all, society ties, stereotype, and cultures’ expectations just drives us further away from God and his plan for the way he created us to be, for that good heart, for that honesty, for that closeness to others, that overflowing giving we have, the special relationships we can build with others wherever we are thrown by life we just have this gift(s)..

Whatever you gift is, just *insert* it on there.

I realised this is the first time in life, when i actually SEE this thorny rose here and say to myself , Nah that’s not mine to pick.

This battle is not mine this time, so i’m bowing out gracefully.

I’ve never bowed OUT from anything in my life .. from the struggle to land my first job after graduating with my bachelor, all the way up to my 2014 accident in the UK, i struggled through that, navigating the heck out of there so fiercely, cutting down all thorns i met along the way as i picked all those roses to pull myself together back up again. And i did, then i struggled through this job i am now leaving,

but this time, i saw the thorny rose standing there, my workplace rose that i can see clearly now as i changed myself and my genuine love to give and good nature in a tighter culture that just believes in different principles and values than mine to get things done … 

Well, i couldn’t be more proud to tell myself|:

Joy, congratulations for seeing the thorns around the rose this time round BUT not picking them like a bulldozer , the way you usually do to “challenge yourself” and “grow” as many say you need to do these things ALL THE TIME to really learn. 

No, this time, I bow out gracefully.

My friends, this time round, pick your roses. Their beauty is in the selective-ness of the person picking them, not in their quantity really.

Faithfully yours,

Joy

October 7, 2016; 7.51am