The drop in income and loss of work hours were the deal when I stepped away from an untenable work role and back into the role of counsellor. It may seem like an unorthodox approach to a stressful situation but now I am enjoying benefits that outweigh the losses.
Back then I worked a nine day fortnight, having every second Monday off. To fulfil the organisations requirement that a level of supervision is present at all times, I now cover two desks, working alternate Mondays and alternate Fridays. Not only am I now working less hours but I get to work on my own for the two days I am covering the desks of others. For an introvert this is about as close as one gets to office nirvana.
Those are the mornings I bounce out of bed, motivated and propelled through the morning routine with frisky sprightliness and brimful of positivity. I am wide awake and ready for the day and it only took fifteen minutes to decide which clothes to wear, but that’s another blog. There is no one bustling into the office every five minutes boisterously (unproductively) multi-tasking at great speed; there is no thumping up and down the stairs, calling from one office to the next or standing behind me hoping I’ll end the phone call.
I am no hermit and definitely not anti-social and can be the clown and humorously gregarious. However, I am generally more energised and focussed when I am left to work alone, which is not to say I do not enjoy being part of a team, as long as space is given to both collaborative and individual rumination. Left to my own devices I am inclined to lateral thinking and being creative.
As an introvert feeler I have no inclination to be an office politician which is just as well because at any given time more than half the office are jousting, flexing assertiveness, ambition and the need for power. Exhausting. Meanwhile, my profound sense of idealism, derived from a strong personal morality, gives me an idealistic perception of the world as an honourable place. Well, someone has to think that way. No?
The upside of ‘downsizing’ my job has been the creation of two days of introvert office bliss in the midst of which the tasks get ticked off, innovative ideas spring to mind and there is lots of peace and quiet to think d-e-e-p-l-y. My stress levels have decreased. When I become overwhelmed (usually by noise and chaos) my mind spins, I can’t think straight, become critical of myself and others, feel hopeless and helpless, find it well nigh impossible to remain ‘in the moment’ and float off into la-la land where everything is over-analysed and super-sized-me-up (with fries).
Less stress and a healthier work environment have helped me reconnect with my values and from there springs a fulfilment that was not evident in my previous role. Sometimes taking a bite out of the humble pie is less onerous than the consequences.
Your turn. Have you been in a situation where you have taken a step back from a situation to find you have benefitted in surprising ways?