Last week was a bit of a stressful week at work. Last Friday arvo, I was asked to do something that made me upset, and I cracked it a bit. I immediately set some boundaries, by group email. Nowadays I try not to make calls while acutely upset but sod it, I'd had enough.
The people it affected were gracious and contrite, and things have changed. This is good.
The first half of the year was so frenetic that I had promised myself that, once the PhD was finished, I would try not to work full time, to have some sessions free.
However, the frenetic pace went on, without me even realising it. One of my employers kept on asking me again and again to act at their bidding. The nocturnal tooth grinding continued. I was starting to dread the weekends, as I had to do work that I missed out on during the week. It took this blog post to get me thinking about my work-life balance, and finally I put it into action last Friday.
It bought up a couple of things:
I didn't know what to do with my spare time.
There is so much emphasis on being productive and not wasting a moment that we forget that we don't actually have to schedule every minute. We wear busy like a badge of honour, but for what?
I have been thinking about some restorative things I could do. Not exercise; I do enough of that. Reading a book? Drawing a picture? Playing with the dog? God forbid, watching some telly - Series 3 of House of Cards is begging to be binge-watched.
There are things like the dentist, the tax agent, going to the bank.
Calling a friend. I had become more and more intolerant of talking on the phone, preferring to text. I have friends that need chatting with at the moment, so I have done this.
But people might get angry if I say no.
It might have consequences, and I had to be ready to accept them.
Perhaps I was more angry with myself. That I "should" be up to working full time, plus the weekends. My kind of workplace appears to reward that type of work.
I find saying no stressful, such that I will say yes and do what I am asked as the stress of saying no is greater than the time expended doing the task. I am afraid of being passed over the next time an opportunity comes up, or worse, of appearing like (gasp) a cow.
I am finding that a. people are gonna bitch no matter what I do and b. worthy opportunities will still be available even if you occasionally be assertive.
I have read about the art of saying no for women. It said something about women always having to explain themselves and apologise, where men just say their piece and that is it. Hence I have been recently in the practice of saying no, and taking care not to apologise for standing your ground. I am practicing that too.
I am flexing my "no" muscle. It is scary but it feels good.