Elimination of Stress Reduction

I have been under eeeenormous stress at work.  I am the most organized person I know and I am struggling to keep my to do list in a coherent state.   I have almost been broken down in tears at the office three times in the past two weeks.  Twice on Friday.

So it is pretty ridiculous that I have chosen this time to completely eliminate the great stress reduction activities I started when I was less stressed and actually had the time.

Its REALLY hard to motivate to get up early to mediate when you have to be at the office at 7:30am.  (My life would be so much easier if the world was all on the same time zone.)  My amazing yoga class is a full 2 1/2 hour commitment (including commute time.)

I have been squeezing in a run once a week and it is SO helpful.  I did interact with human beings this weekend which was also helpful. And I had cupcakes on Friday (but clearly that did not help much.)

I have nothing hugely insightful to say about this except that I acknowledge how ridiculous it is. I thought I would do better last week and I didn’t.  This week I might try harder.  There is no crying in Enterprise Software, so I am going to have to pull it together.

In other news, I started crafting a post called “Would I be Happier if I Were Less of a Perfectionist?” but my thoughts were not developed enough to craft a perfect post on that topic so it is still floating around in my head.


I Have Regressed

My “indecisive hostile takeover” made a decision and it has resulted in me drowning in work.  The good news is that I have a team to manage which gives me all kinds of professional and personal growth opportunities.  The bad news is that people require a lot more time and energy than spreadsheets and power points.  The even worse news is that I still have a lot of power points and spreadsheets to tend to.

My hope is that once this transitional period is over (the one that has been going on forever!) I can settle in to a work routine that is not so crazy and all consuming.

In the mean time, there has been no yoga, no meditating, no reading on the Kindle, no interesting learning adventures, no hanging out with friends, no blogging.  A lot of work and some TV because that is all my brain can handle at the end of a long stressful day.

I am almost done with Breaking Bad Season 3 which is so amazing.  I watched an episode last night where Walter is obsessed with a fly and will not cook meth in his fancy new lab (or leave the lab or sleep) until the fly is dead.  He becomes delirious and some serious ridiculousness and deep pontificating occurs between him and his sidekick Pinkman.  Good TV.

I am tuning in to American Idol but I might be outgrowing this show.  I LOVE J Lo and Steven Tyler on the judges panel but I am not loving the contestants.  How can I really get in to 18 year olds talking about how they have wanted this “their whole lives.”  This week they sang songs from the year they were born.  Like in the 90s!  Ugh..the top 5 will be cool but until then it’s kind of painful.

I just half watched a Medium marathon (culminating in the series finale) while I paid bills and read backlogs of email.  The show got a little bit old with Alison misinterpreting what dead people are telling her in her dreams EVERY WEEK. No one ever caught on (except me) that she always gets it wrong for the first 45 minutes of the show.  After her 5th dream or so, she figures it all out and saves the day.  Same formula every week.   My favorite part of the show was her husband, Joe.  He is a super nice, smart, geeky stud and a great husband and dad.  He was smart enough to question those dreams!  He will always be preserved in my blog (until they take down this picture that I have linked to, in bad blog form..)

My First (and Probably Last) Opera

I thought, perhaps, since I have recently become a cultured Shakespeare fan, that I might not hate the opera.  The truth is, I had no idea I had purchased tickets to the opera until the show started this afternoon.

There was a frantic texting session last month with a friend who insisted that we had to get tickets to something at the spring season of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) before they all sold out.  Someone else suggested The Nightingale, we all agreed to it,  and clearly none of us did our due diligence because we were all equally surprised when people started singing in Russian.   I had recalled that it was a series of fables.

The first fable involved shadow puppets which was kind of cool for about two minutes.  Unfortunately, it went on for about 20 minutes.  I appreciated the artistry of it all….for about two minutes.  The second fable  had no shadow puppets, and that was worse.  The third fable had dancers behind a screen dressed as various animals.   I think they were eating each other.  It was hard to follow because I kept dozing off.

At intermission my friends tricked me.  They were as miserable as I was and made jokes about leaving, but at the last minute decided to sit through the second half.  I could think of about 60 better things I could be doing with my time, so I bolted.

Looking at the web site now from home, it says that the second half is the “pièce de résistance.”   Oh well…I might have missed something fabulous, but I doubt it.  I think Diary of a Mad Man with Geoffrey Rush would have been a better choice.

Riding Out the Indecisive Hostile Takeover

This week has been work, work, work.  I am however, still in job limbo.

As you may recall, my old job was eliminated in December.  I was absorbed by team A which was planning to launch a “hostile takeover” of team B.  The plan was for me to have some role on the new and improved team B which my boss would run.  The formation of the new team B is taking forever.  All sorts of corporate complications have ensued.

My future role on team B has changed 5 times in the past 6 weeks.  Two weeks ago, I was googling Bangalore because job variation #4 entailed managing a team in India.  I was not looking forward the impact that was going to have on my life with time zone differences and many trips to India, but Bangalore looked beautiful (and warm) on the internet.  Last week my boss dropped the hint that the guy who is managing that team now, might not want to lose his reports (you think?) and yesterday it was confirmed that the people in India won’t report to me right away, but maybe down the road.  I am still not clear on exactly what I will be doing.  I think I might be managing a research hub with no researchers.  That could be a challenge.

While my “indecisive hostile takeover” works itself out (props to my sister for inventing that phrase) I have been given LOTS of projects to keep me busy. This week I had to unofficially guide the most unorganized workshop in the history of the world.  The person who was supposed to be in charge was a bit of a crazy pants and none of us were given much direction from my boss’ boss (lets call him my big boss even though he is younger than me, sigh) who had been flying around the world for two weeks.  Considering my need for structure, I was quite impressed with my ability to stay calm, make the best of the situation, and ultimately organize the chaos.  Sadly, I ended up with a gazillion action items since crazy pants was clearly not up to the task.   I do think my big boss is starting to appreciate how awesome I am, which is definitely a good thing.

So I roll on with my many “in between” projects as we get closer to something official which will probably mean more work.  But I do plan to get back to my personal life soon…I hope!

Where Have I Been?

I know, I have been slacking on the blogging. Here are the highlights of what I have been up to:

  • A lot of work (boo!)
  • Started The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. It’s a painfully slow read. The reviews say the last 100 pages are amazing. Not sure I can make it that far.
  • Voterbook Meetup where I learned about this cool non-profit Table For Two that tries to combat obesity and hunger by collecting a 25 cent surcharge on “branded” healthy meals in cafeterias and restaurants and donating the proceeds to hunger causes (and the co-founder who presenter to us was a cutie.)
  • New meditation plan where I crawl out of bed, wrap myself in a blanket on the couch and attempt to meditate before I get ready for the day.  Not sure it really counts in that posture, but I actually do it because it is super cozy.
  • An awesome pre-birthday massage.
  • Catching up on Breaking Bad (in the middle of Season 3.  Still amazing.)
  • A late night pre-birthday celebration which involved drinking, dancing, a game of catch with an invisible ball that I was horrible at, and some random guy in the bar telling my brother-in-law to “stop jumping.”  I kept up with the 30 year olds and was quite proud of myself.
  • A hungover match.com date. Not a love connection.
  • Watched the Oscars but found it pretty boring.  Loved Billy Crystal, James Franco in drag, Ann Hathaway, and Mila Kunis’ dress.  That was about it.  Went to bed before The King’s Speech Won, but I would have loved that too.
  • Just returned from a very nice birthday dinner which involved Sangria, a cupcake, and two of my favorite human beings.  Does not get much better than that!

Another busy week ahead…not sure when you will hear from me again…

TVaholic Takes On Shakespeare

I had my first grown up experience with  Shakespeare this week.  I generally avoid plays with no music and definitely avoid Shakespeare.  I bought the ticket as a favor to my boss who was planning to go with a mutual work friend but had to be out of town.  I was not expecting to enjoy it, but I thought I should give it a try.  Al Pacino was starring.  I figured, at a minimum, it would look cool on Foursquare when I checked in and said I was hanging out with Al.

I had literally no idea what The Merchant of Venice was about.  I was very grateful that the playbill contained a synopsis, which I had to read three times before the show started to fully get the gist of what was coming. (That Shakespeare concocts some complicated stories.)

The first ten minutes were torture.  They used SO MANY words to say everything.  My eyelids were heavy and I thought for sure I would fall asleep.  I thought maybe this would be a good time to meditate.  I figured I had a captive audience since my brain was stuck there for a few hours.

I took some deep breaths and tried to clear my mind.  As soon as I relaxed, and wasn’t trying so hard to understand, it all seemed to make more sense  (and I can confirm that meditating in the middle of a Broadway theater is not really possible.)   The actor’s were amazing so I could pretty much tell what was happening from their expressions and the tone of their voices, and it was in English so I could understand SOME of the words.

It threw me a bit when they referred to boxes as caskets but when the boxes actually appeared, I put two and two together.  They were all a bit dramatic but a pound of flesh and rampant antisemitism is  some serious business.  It is very cool that a woman is the smartest one in the play, even thought she is antisemitic and had to dress up as a man to save the day.

Definitely glad I went and the fact that I actually enjoyed it made me feel very intellectual and grown-up.

And now I’m going to catch up on the Vampire Diaries….

The Soul of Leadership Was Not For Me

I just finished my first non-fiction book of the year.  I am not a huge non-fiction reader.  I like stories.  It can be a true story.  I prefer a good true story to fiction, actually.  But if it isn’t in the form of a story, I would like it summed up in nothing longer than a magazine article.  Maybe this comes from years of being told to roll things up to communicate to executives.   I have set a goal of reading at least 5 more non fiction books this year, so maybe I will find one that keeps my attention longer than an awesome episode of Glee or Breaking Bad.

I did force myself to finish Deepak Chopra’s The Soul of Leadership: Unlocking Your Potential for Greatness so I could get to my next book.  Why did I decide to read this?  Around New Year’s, I saw Deepak on CNN saying something very profound while I was running on the treadmill.  By the time I got home from the gym, I couldn’t remember what it was.  I searched the internet to see if I could find the clip on CNN.com or You Tube but no luck.  I thought if I read his new book, it might be in there.  I was also thinking a lot about unlocking MY potential for greatness, and it seemed like something that would help me get psyched up for my new leadership role at work (which has still not started yet..LONG transition period.)  I don’t think I found it in there because I still can’t remember what it was.

I think part of the problem might have been the Kindle.  On the Kindle, it is hard to flip back to refer to things.  When I am reading a story, I can visualize it in my head and I don’t need to go back and refer to anything.  With this book, the ideas kept leaving my mind and it was not easy to quickly browse back to re-orient myself.  Maybe it was the Kindle, or maybe I just was not that in to the ideas in this book.

Deepak talks about his leadership concepts using this acronym (see how it spells Leaders!)

  • L (Look and Listen)
  • E (Emotional Bonding)
  • A (Awareness)
  • D (Doing)
  • E (Empowerment)
  • R (Responsibility)
  • S (Synchronicity)

I always have a hard time getting through this “self help” stuff because it just sounds like common sense to me when I read it.  (Be a good person, listen to people and understand what they need, have self awareness, mediate a lot, etc…)  There are some pearls of wisdom here and there, but those could really be summed up in a magazine article.  I am sure some people find this book inspiring.  That what keeps this man in business, right?  Maybe my head was just not in the right place.

I think the people who read this book, will already embody a lot of these leadership qualities.  This book might remind them of things they already know or inspire them to be more conscious of them (until they get busy again) but my guess is that the people who really need to learn how do the things in this book (because they are horrible leaders) won’t read it, or can’t learn them from reading a book.   Just my opinion.

Next up, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. The last in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy.