Tales of depression and victory: Sunday kind of blues

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Life is unfair, especially towards Mondays 🙂

Why are they dubbed ‘blue’, ‘tough’ and even ‘horrific’? It’s Sunday that deserves the epithets.

Sunday is a rare bitch. Even if you’re a free-spirited self-employed person with already fading memories of the cubicle life. But still, you’ve got the scratchy feeling in the throat once the Medusa of Sunday shoots a devastating look at you.

Indigo blue mixed with gray spots in between. This is the color of Sunday. And it always smells and feels like rain.It’s also a day of seeing my therapist. A good reason to wake up in the morning and cheer yourself up (and cheat yourself) with cheesy affirmations.

Sunday can zeroize all your efforts of the week: just like that. It’s a PMS bitch. Even though you don’t have to fear the idea of Monday – as it’s a regular day with a chunk of freelance work from home – you feel the jitters.

Again, the blues will squeeze in the most cowardly way. ..Out of nowhere – it seems. But in the middle of crying you will catch the thought. Mostly – it’s the overarching feeling of despair. Stronger than all of the cheesy affirmations and scarier than the fear of public speaking. You know it will go away, but you also feel it is not going to leave you any time soon. All you want is just to get rid of it. Swallow a dozen of antidepressants. Cry yourself out of the despair. Scream – a scary but effective option. Beat the pillow. Beat yourself. Go away. Disappear… The most frequent wish.

Suddenly you feel all the tears are gone. No power to hold a tear. And total emptiness.

No single wish. Peace. “I don’t care” mood. Just an insatiable desire to sleep. Sleep.

Sleep…More and more. As you don’t feel like greeting the sun in the morning. It’s just a shitty ball of fire which unfortunately brings a new day to the world and one has to wake up and live it. A sad prospect, as all you want to do is disappear in the blackest hole of the universe.  It’s Sunday – you think – and it’s only natural. Monday will repeat itself and Tuesday will be bearable. Just live until Tuesday. And then – you’ll see.

The thought is comforting. It will not last forever. Nothing lasts forever. It shall pass, too…

To be continued with solutions to Sunday syndrome

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Job-hunt: our top 3 outrageous interview situations

 

The most absurd questions at job interviews

Sometimes we deal with abusive interviewers

-How was the interview?

 

-Oh, as usual. They started asking me absurd questions and I backfired with a tirade of sarcastic answers.

This was one of the typical dialogues between my friend and Ruzanna over the past few months when she was seeking a job after quitting her seemingly posh yet juice-draining position as a store manager.

As nо less experienced and pained interviewee, I would start mildly hinting her to be more tolerant to get a job, to be patient (the one word that could infuriate her most of all!) and so on and so forth; but, excuse me, how to stay cool-headed when an interviewer, for instance, asks if you’re ready to make coffee for the boss and his guests on a daily basis while you’re not applying for the secretary position. (Well, at least, let’s be thankful then that we are informed about this subtle “nuance” of the job beforehand).

So, inspired by our shared bitter practice and this BBC Capital article, I picked up top 3 ridiculous interview situations we went through which may be useful  in your quest for landing a dream job (of course, if such exists):

  1. We’re hiring that’s why YOU are more interested.  This situation is vividly illustrated by having you wait for the super VIP HR manager for more than 15 minutes without further “sorry for waiting” (hey, by the way, politeness is a universal virtue). In one of such cases, I told the recruiter I had to go earlier because of their delay. Interview in fact is a two-way street: you need a job- but they (most likely) need your skills and experience – that’s why respect and understanding should be mutual. If they don’t value your time in the very beginning of your possible co-operation, they are not likely to do it afterwards.
  2. We’re hiring that’s why WE are asking questions. This one logically follows the bullet 1. Once, as a newly graduated linguistics major I was interviewed for an administrative position at a VIP fitness club in my hometown. After the standard questions and Einstein test (!why the hell is it needed if you all have to do is amiably greet the guests and record their names and such kind of stuff?!- another ridiculous situation, indeed), I attempted to ask some questions about the position. With a look of an intelligence agent aware of the top state secrets and not willing to give them away under the threat of death, the HR condescended to answer. “You will learn everything IF (read: you, common mortal, how did you dare to even ask it!)you pass on to the next stage. Period. Lord knows how many nights I didn’t sleep trying to figure it out – even when I learnt I didn’t pass (read: sarcastic smile 🙂
  3. And, finally, the “epic” one. We are hiring that’s why WE can belittle your experience to make you agree on our terms. Or, the so-called interview abuse.

“4 years of experience as a store manager?Well, it’s easier than the sales officer job you’re applying for. Isn’t it JUST coordinating and organizing the things?”, my friend quoted her last met HR as saying this while trying to look a super qualified professional. The tactic of downsizing Ruzanna’s skills backfired with a bunch of sarcastic comments before she gracefully left the office (oh, I wish I could see it!). She’s eventually found a decent job, that’s not the issue. The thing is that in our digital age it’s so easy to scare away the right professionals from your company by such a behavior (the opposite holds true, too): a few Facebook statuses or just the life-tested word-of-mouth are enough to gain a certain (not favorable) image among job-seekers.

And, lastly, dear recruiters! Of course, you will have your “side” of the story, too. Feel free to share if you happen to read this perhaps not-so-pleasant entry.

Dear job-seekers,

I’m sure you have your own bitter, funny, ridiculous or outrageous interview story. Let’s share and help the newly-grads not to get desperate in such situations and deal with them with dignity and a bit of irony.

Process vs. results. What’s more important?

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Results vs goals, what’s more important?

What’s more fulfilling: the road you carve toward your goals or the ultimate result?
Admit it: there is something devastating in having the sacred dream of life-changing goal realized. But, the unhappiest time is when you reach the goal you thought would make you happy but eventually you end up feeling bitter emptiness. “What’s next”?- you wonder. “Is this it?”

Unless you have some new goal “ in store” you are sure to feel this way. So, is life equaling to a chain of mechanical actions? Goals- fulfillment-other goals- fulfillment?

Not at all. In-between, there is a whole palette of emotions- hope, faith, disappointment, anger, fury, anticipation and the long-awaited fulfillment. And, of course, the piercing feeling of guilt after you reach it. (“I don’t deserve it”, – the so-called “imposter syndrome“).

So, the answer to the question is just to stop asking it in the first place.

Stop it. Just live. Breathe in peace, breathe out anxiety. Relish the process, do your best and even more but don’t link your happiness to the result, nor tie it to people, phenomena or circumstances.

“Easier said than done”- you’ll probably argue. That’s what I’m doing right now while I scribble these lines. But who said “the easy” is the friend of “the happy”? 🙂

 

A no-nonsense tip for success, or the power of asking

Knock and the door will be opened.

Knock and the door will be opened.

Like in the popular cartoons, this morningI felt an invisible lamp being lit over my head;  the so-called “a-ha” moment, and I want to share my insight with you.

As usual, it happened when I was injecting my morning dose of inspiration on BBC.com Capital into my brains. “The Three Secrets of Getting What You Want”- the clickbait headline already foreboded a mix of ultimate reading pleasure and a promise of tangible outcomes (read: subsequent actions).

I’m not going to criticize or summarize the article. Rather, I’ll focus on the  single point that rang a bell to me. Asking as a prerequisite for getting what you  dream about. And this is when I realized the only gross obstacle pulls me back and halts my progress toward the goals: I suck at asking because I’m too proud, sometimes lazy, and other times just foolish, and even when I ask the time spent on the decision-making drains the energy that could have been spent more efficiently on my goals.

“Ask and it shall be given to you”, the famous Bible quote swirled into my mind (which is rare given my not being a keen Christian or an overly religious person) which started conflicting with another thought-provoking quote by my favorite Mikhail Bulgakov: “You should never ask anyone for anything. Never- and especially from those who are more powerful than yourself.” (NB: Woland’s advice to Margarita).

Sorry, my favorite Bulgakov, author of immortal “Master and Margarita”. With all my love and respect to your masterpiece, these words are not up-to-date anymore. The life realities haves changed. Life speeds have so much accelerated that one can’t have the luxury of sitting back and waiting when those “who are more powerful” to notice your merits (for instance, to give you the deserved raise or recognition at work).

And my recent life experience has come to prove that. Of course, it took me months to take the step of asking to later find out it’s not at all humiliating and tough, especially when you’re sure you deserve what you ask for.  The result? I got what I wanted (even if it was a short-term fix), and I’m not sure if I would if I hadn’t asked.

A conclusion? Besides your personal strategies and tactics (share, please, if you do anything specific and out-of-box to reach your goals), the overused “visualization” and already cliche “positive thinking” strategies, just ask for the particular thing you want to have for your longer-term goals, and 90 times out 100 you will be rewarded. After all, rejection is better than regret.

“Smart” detox: the results and conclusions

Try to rest from digital world from time to time.

Try to rest from digital world from time to time.

A couple of weeks ago, I screwed up all my willpower and decided to leave my smartphone home together with the hustle and bustle of the city for the week-end. What came out of it was that my phone screwed up, too 🙂 But in the negative meaning of the word.

I guess it was a terminal offense to my poor device: upon my arrival, it crashed. To be more precise, it became an ordinary cellphone without Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Just like that. No failed landings on the floor, no bathings in the water. Nothing. Just a final and categorical No Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

So, my smartphone diet was involuntarily prolonged (as fixing the issue cost me quite a lot of money and time which is another story). I blew away the dust from the once-posh Motorola L6 and embarked on the smart-less journey.

As a “glass is half-full” person, I decided to take advantage of my new circumstances. Just to relax, not to check for notifications and messages every 10 minutes, to toss away the trash information that’s the social media is overstuffed with and relish other joys of the non-tech life. The results?

  1. More peaceful sleep and no rushing to grab the phone to look through Facebook updates. Instead, 15 minutes of productive writing and reading time in the morning.
  2. Less backache. We’re doing too much texting with our backs twisted and our heads bent causing the constant tension on the neck and back.
  3. More time for my long-forgotten hobbies, such as playing the piano.
  4. And lastly, more quality time to connect with family. (By the way, they turned out to be quite interesting conversationalists 🙂
  5. But for the constant need for my favorite playlists and the camera every now and then, I’d never miss this piece of technology. Honestly, I didn’t have the desire to chat or comment or check notifications on social networks for all this while.

The conclusion? I’m going to deliberately “leave” my smartphone somewhere inside my desk and organize such “smart” detoxications once a month, at least for 2 days. (I’d do more if my job allowed it). And I strongly recommend you to enhance your lifestyle with this simple yet very salient method. Let’s go even further- do digital detox– computer and phone-free days once in a while! 🙂

P.S. My smartphone is  now ok, of course, not without considerable money investments 🙂

Life: our friend or foe?

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Recently I’ve been ruminating over the rules of life. Like a little fretful princess, it likes taunting us, torturing to tears, biting and stinging and then, at the end of the game, “award” us with a shiny smile.

Suddenly, in the middle of my reflections, I thought how good the life can be at throwing us to the situations opposite to the ones we would strive to be.

Love being in silence? Here you go- a job in a crowded office with constant buzz and bubble (over the work or everyone’s husbands’ work).

A passionate person? Good for you! Go and find your way of sublimation- shouting, yelling, bitching around or- more civilized variants- beating the pillows and dancing like a crazy- since you are not going to have any affairs (or a single meaningful one) for a long time. Deal with it.

An extrovert? Sorry, but there is only this available job opportunity in a small office with no colleagues. Go and grab it, you’re broke and have nothing to chew.

A tough woman seeking a strong man? Then you’re sure to be exposed to either a bunch of mellow losers, or shrewd gigolos, or- just the “perfect” but…married ones.

Life is sometimes against us. It’s our enemy, the most hostile and bellicose rival that you could ever meet. But it’s the fight that makes us stronger. It’s the acceptance of the impossible to change that makes us resilient. And it’s the bit of irony and cynicism that helps us stay sane in the most hopeless states.

As the closest friend may one day become your fiercest enemy, the life can play both roles at the same time. As one of the ancient sages said: “I don’t know what’s good, what’s bad”. Let’s at least TRY not to judge the events, just to accept them and be optimistic about what’s awaiting as in the Life’s next twist.

The autumn tree vs cubicle: an episode from my journal

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From time to time, I read a random passage from my to find clues to my present emotional state and reconsider some areas in my life to get out of shitty moods. Today I again went down my memory lane to analyze and make some conclusions for a few life-changing choices. Scrolling down and down, I ran into the following episode, written 2 years ago. It struck me with its despair and urgency and listlessness yet it totally conveyed the whole inner drama I was going through at that time.

“I looked out of the office window today to see this totally yellow tree standing in front of me with the whole splendor and majesty that the autumn brings to the nature. Someone’s laundry hung beside the tree making the whole picture even more sentimental. I wish I had a photo beside the tree or of the tree but unfortunately I didn’t take my photo camera today (I didn’t have a smartphone back then- edit.). I could stand by the window and meditate long on the tree but I had to go back to my cubicle. That symbolizes the whole office life- attached to the computer, half-asleep at the end of the day.  The real life seems to pass by my office window sometimes. Especially when it’s sunny and warm – like today. When you go out and breathe deeply, the life starts sprinkling your soul with joy and happiness, even more motivation to life than any of those great books that I read during the day.

Anyways, I am grateful for what I have and feel. Mostly – for what I feel. Because life is all about feeling and not having”.

An ending of an incorrigible optimist:)  At least, it reminded me of being one.  And it helps to repeat it from time to time, as a mantra, to help us out of difficult times.