Thursday, April 8, 2010

Stuck...

I'm actually not sure that is the right word to use but it's the first one to come to mind about my current mental state...

In truth, I'm in a very strange place and have no idea what it means...

...maybe if I tell the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth, it will make more sense...

 "Monica sees the Truth. Oh Yes!" Intuitive drawing by Janet Lamb made at Ventura gallery exhibit

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The Story...
Four years ago on the fourth day of the fourth month of the year, I began working for a non-profit agency dealing with low-income children and their families. Within a few months, things began to go awry. Then they went bad...

I was told by numerous people, including a few that I worked with (after they left the agency, of course) that I was doing the work of an office manager/program manager, though I was hired as an "administrative assistant". I also did several duties of the HR department, did much ordering of supplies for 13 locations, submitted work orders for same 13 sites and the straw that broke this camels back was to move TWO offices into one new location that turned out to be considerably farther than my original commute to work...

Before being placed in charge of the move, I was already feeling the 'creepings' of burn-out/resentment of the workload I had. I found a few awesome sites that had great information on how to 'change my attitude' toward my work situation, but it was looking like I would have to 'change my job'...

Unfortunately, this came right when the economy was taking a nose dive. I managed at least one job interview, where the woman who interviewed me was the ONLY person around me (aside from my dear boyfriend) who really acknowledged the amount of work moving an office can be - and remember, I had moved two offices at the same time. She showed me a LOT of respect for my accomplishment...bless her!! I will never forget it...ever.

In an effort to make changes in my life, I called my wonderful Life Coach, Pete, to see what could be done about getting me out of the job situation I found myself in. By now, I was experiencing a "breakdown", though I didn't realize it at the time (my boss suggested I take a week off from work after the move finalized, but even she couldn't realize how bad things really were because I knew it would take considerably longer than one week to get me back to my own usual self). Things had not changed much at the new office and now I was being placed in charge of several duties pertaining to the new facility, so let's add "facility manager" to my list of 'unofficial' responsibilities as an "administrative assistant", not to mention the longer commute that now took two hours (or longer on a rainy day!) where before it was only 45 minutes round-trip in commute time... (I won't go into the horrors of the commute, aggressive drivers and very near-misses of being hit I have managed to avoid driving in Los Angeles, particularly to the area I work in that many consider to be "sketchy", though I consider it to be charming).

With Pete's amazing support, I gained the courage to start my blog (after working with a 'test' blog), primarily from the office I work in since they had internet service that I could not afford to have at home, due to no pay increase for the last two years and a pay-cut that began this year...

Unfortunately, the internet services have been slowly whittled away by the blocking of several sites and blogs, all in the name of "securing the internet from virus threats". This had actually included college websites, which has created problems for the teens we serve and are trying to encourage toward attending college - it's kinda hard to apply for a college if you don't have access to the website!! But I digress...

The Crux of the Story...
As a result of these 'blockings', it has grown increasingly difficult to do blog posts, especially those with photos. I transfer all photos I capture in my little camera into my flash drive (usb drive), then attempt to upload them into a post, only to find that no image shows up most of the time...(in fact, only three out of six images could be viewed in the upload for this post!)

This situation has become increasingly more difficult in the weeks since Artful Journey Retreat, and now more so as my boss prepares to leave for a better opportunity, meaning more work for me...again.

I am at a loss of how to proceed

I can not spend every evening at my dear boyfriends place to post blogs or I don't have enough time to make things for the soon-to-be launch of my etsy shop and it will be difficult with an increased workload at the office to find 'dribs and drabs' of time to blog as I had done in the past. I don't want to get frustrated with blogging because it has brought so much goodness and so very many amazing, uniquely inspiring, wonderful, funny, thoughtful, thought-provoking, creative, quietly hilarious, brave, good people into my life, and there is still so much to share regarding my "Currency of Strength" artwork, the "mystery project" I have been teasing you all with, not to mention my Office Art Book (OAB)...

"How does it feel to hit a brick wall?" - page in process from my Office Art Book...an official title is in the works...

I do try, on occasion, to find another job situation that is CLOSER TO MY HOME, with pay that is comparable to what I WAS making before the pay-cut, but there have not been many job listings in my area and with the few I found I have received no response to my resume submissions...

(Not So) Hidden Messages?...
I often feel that the Universe is absolutely, positively, under-no-uncertain-terms, trying to tell me that office work is not where I should be going...don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't do it well, I do it DAMN well, much better than many people working in this crazy agency can manage and it's supposed to be relatively easy, leaving me with time to do my own thing in the evenings, but since the commute takes so much time, I get drained when I get home, though I've worked very hard to counter-act that in the past few months and with a modicum of success, I think, if the "mystery project" and this other project are any indication:

my personal collage eyeglass case: music sheet scrap, vintage postal stamps, scrapbook 'button' sticker...


I'm at a crossroads/stuck, though I'm assured by many good friends and fellow bloggers (if you're reading this you KNOW who you are!), that I am doing a LOT, in fact, MORE than most people have ever dreamed of doing...or being for that matter...

but it just feels as though nothing is really happening...

What Next?
I don't like the idea of "going on hiatus",  as folks say here in LA, because I don't know how much longer it will take to find another job that allows me more time to do my Creative Beast thing. Though the the agency I work for is highly impacted by the state budget and experienced lay-offs last year, such a layoff for me may come at the end of the fiscal year, but that didn't happen to me last year, though I anticipated it...and yes, I understand that it may serve as a testament to my supreme skills in 'office management', but that doesn't make me feel better knowing I may continue to be STUCK here for an indefinite period of time...

It's been said that "any man, or woman for that matter, can endure anything as long as there is an end point in sight", but I have yet to see that end point and it has really worn me down...

***   ***   ***
Sincere Apologies/Gratitude
I apologize greatly if the tone of this post is a huge downer and I am SO GRATEFUL if you stayed with me and read this far, but I just wondered if there is "anyone out there?" who has dealt with anything like this type of situation and how you manged to get out of it, or at least, how you managed to cope until things were able to change...I feel I've already done so much due to the book of this amazing fellow, but I'm really beginning to understand the saying:

Pain is the distance between where we are and where we want to be


Any sharing you wish to offer is welcome! And thank you all SO MUCH for getting this far in what I consider to be a not-so-creative blog post =-\

Also, if any of the links to coping in office jobs are helpful to you, let me know!

 
*Many thanks to this Scorpio Soul-Sister who encouraged me to share this phase of my journey...it can be frightening to think how people will receive your words, but this "revealing" may just be the "releasing" I need to make...


*Many thanks to this Fabulous Artist who recently trusted in me to advise her with a new project in her career - it means a lot to me and the involvement has helped me know that "who i am makes a difference" =-)

10 comments:

Cathy {Tinniegirl} said...

I feel for you Monica. I've been in that place. So unhappy at work and not knowing where to turn. Sometimes I think a move, any move, can help to bring you unstuck (in a good way). Being in a bad situation day in, day out, year in, year out can make you feel so completely stuck.

Can you take a step in a different direction somehow. Tighten the budget for the short term so you can take a job that is perhaps not quite at the salary range you want but that will free up your energy for your creative work. Could you take a short-term job or do temp work for a few months while you get some head space to work out where to next.

Are there any other possibilities? Sometimes there are options that we don't really want to explore as they are not ideal. Perhaps it's time to see what possibilities lie in the less ideal scenarios.

Get out of there Monica. This toxic situation will continue to drain you and I think the universe is calling you to somehow set yourself free.

With the blogging thing, have you tried to see if you can use flickr at work. Perhaps you could get around it if you can upload your photos to Flickr and blog things from there.

I just had another idea. Could you negotiate to work different hours so that you can avoid commuting the really peak times?

I hope these thoughts trigger something. I am sending you big hugs, hope and warmth.

CurlyPops said...

I like Cathy's tips. I've been fortunate enough to never really be in that situation. I've always liked my jobs and my workplaces, and we didn't really notice the GFC over here much.
I wish you luck with finding an answer.

Marlene said...

Hi Monica... I found you from my friend Gwynnie B. site..I was reading your post and had to write and tell you I lived thru that type situation formany years in the bay Area before I retired early moved to Cambria, Ca..I can feel you pain and frustration of jobs that increase in workload and no pay.. the economy had made it so much worse..because..employers KNOW they can now..sicne there are no jobs out there..the key I think since we all need our jobs..is how you manage this by changing how you think about it..until a new job comes your way..other wise the bitterness and resentment will eventually manifest into physical issues with health ( believe me I know) Wayne Dwyer says being overwhelmed is am judgement..we choose to feel that way... read the Shift his new book..maybe it will help..becase bottomline you need to just change how you work there and how you think about it..

Gwynnie B Designs said...

You did it, Monica! You posted what has been on your heart for so long and you're receiving wonderful advice and words of encouragement from other women who know. I'm so proud of you as I know how difficult everything is right now!! This is a beginning by sharing this on your blog, the first of many baby steps to get you into a nurturing environment and on with Life and your fabulous self!

xXoO
Your Scorpio Soul Sistah

Mindy Lacefield said...

i have been in that office job. a job i hate. i think that is what gave me the motivation to leave. turn that energy into something productive (if you have any energy left at the end of the day....i know it must be hard esp with the commute you describe)

i do believe the universe is telling you something. listen to that. your intuition is so alive and strong.

in my journey, everything happened in stages....not all at once. the decision to go back to school.....the decision to leave a job i hated to go into makeup artistry......those 6 years in makeup that gave me the courage to pick up a paint brush and then 2 years of doing school, makeup, student assistant (in the art histroy programe), and 2 etsy shops. i was finally at my breaking point (as you speak of) and decided to concentrate on my painting and my etsy business.

you are much farther ahead of the game than i was at that point. keep your chin up! you will follow your dreams when the time is right. and remember....one step at a time....keep on keeping on....

love you!!

I Saw You Dancing said...

Dear friend,
This is really rough territory! The most important thing is that you are gentle with yourself, and that you continue to acknowledge all the positive and powerful things you are doing to keep your head above water (as you have done in your beautifully-articulated post).
Looking back, I can see that the writing has been on the wall for this job. The universe has been nudging you to rethink your situation but now it has upped the ante. Given that you are on the brink of launching a splendid Etsy store, depriving you of internet access is nothing short of perverse. I mean, this is really striking close to your heart.
Maybe the next step is not clear or logical or safe. Maybe this increasingly untenable situation may force you to consider exit strategies you had otherwise written off.
I don't know what the answer is, but I know all too well that the knowledge that good things are just around the corner doesn't necessarily make your daily/hourly existence at work any easier.
Just know that you are loved and admired and respected, and that you will be supported whatever you do.
And I really do think that good things are just around the corner. And, actually, they must be pretty darn good because you are really being made to fight for them.
I believe in you and I know that your dreams are worth fighting for.
Kat xx

humel said...

You are so brave, and so inspiring xx I've been fortunate enough to not be in this exact situation myself so can't offer any advice from my own experience, but it looks to me like you've been well-advised above. I shall also ask a friend of mine with lots of careers knowledge and creativity if she can offer any more suggestions. Meanwhile, sending lots of *hugs* your way, hun xxx

Clair said...

Mel's friend stopping by, as requested. I've sent you a separate e-mail (to the address you've listed above.) Please check your junk mail in case it goes astray and feel free to ignore/ask questions/reply - whatever works for you x

Beth said...

Hey Monica, sounds like the universe is almost shouting at you to change something but I know how hard that can be. If taking a big leap is difficult financially, I think Cathy's advice about changing your working hours is great. Even shifting them one hour earlier or later can make a huge difference. Nothing is worth making yourself ill for it, and the world needs your creativity out there! Deep down you know what you needXx

chrissy said...

WOW miss monica...
WHOOT! WHOOT!
i am standing up and applauding LOUDLY to my creative beast!!!!
how awesome does it feel to unload that?
and
look at all the amazing advice and love and counsel that is above my words....!
WHO YOU ARE....DOES....make a difference missy.
it DEFINITELY does.
you are loved and you
WILL
GET
THROUGH
THIS!
loves and high fives to you!
c