content='index,follow' name='robots'/> Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom: In Between Worlds

Monday, July 14, 2008

In Between Worlds

(Photos by Microsoft Clipart) ~~ Having worked in the corporate world most of my life in one way or another it comes at no surprise in my new job to once again be in the multi-tasking and cubicle mode. Only this time it’s a little different.

Having just spent 6 years in a different fashion working for myself pursuing a dream and having become accustomed to reflection time I’ve noticed the pace has picked up considerably. I haven’t given up on my dream of sharing and listening to people’s stories, it just looks different. Instead of facilitating group discussions, I’m learning where connection fits in other places.

You may ask, “Why go back?” Well, bills need to be paid and answers to prayers come in different forms. Going back to working for someone else, I find it interesting, though, that not only has the pace picked up but the expectations are higher, not that I don’t have a high work ethic and high expectations for myself already.

You’re now supposed to almost perform as computers do with top-notch speed along with pinpoint accuracy and efficiency. I even find in the work place that the conversation is different - phrases are short and to the point, the talk is fast and attention is short.

People are not only multi-tasking on the job but the fast past carries through into their personal lives as well and that appears to be the norm. It’s like a whirlwind. You hardly find anyone nowadays only doing one thing at a time. It’s either talking on the phone, text messaging, answering e-mails while driving and carrying on a conversation with a friend all at the same time.

On my way to lunch yesterday, I talked to one of my bosses having noticed he was eating at his desk. I said, “Oh, you’re having a working lunch today?” He said he finds he’s able to get much more work done this way. I asked him, “What about your peace of mind?” in which he said he had given that up a long time ago.

I can function and adapt with this new fast pace and have learned to integrate my quiet and reflective times during the day. In fact, I actually like my job but it’s such a contrast. I find myself in between two worlds. Yet, that is the way it appears our culture is today; although, I don’t think you have to give up one - peace of mind - for the other - fast pace, high productivity.

We can bring the best into both worlds and blend them together. Technology is important in how we function today and learning to use it makes our work easier and faster in addition to sharpening your mind and creativity. It can be fun too. We now can pull up videos, music, photographs and connect to people all over the world.

However, reflection and solitude are essential in balancing our lives. In fact, it’s crucial. If we don’t take time to be quiet and listen to the world breathing around us, functioning in the to-do world won’t flow. You’ll find yourself traveling along and suddenly losing the automatic power steering and brakes. You feel like you have to steer and brake in that world alone on your own strength.

Some of the things I’ve been doing to balance both is:

1. Meditate or have some quiet time in the morning before leaving for work.

2. Occasionally, leave the radio off if driving to work and consciously take in what I see. The mornings are beautiful the way the sun rises and casts its first light on the hills, trees, buildings, roads. Appreciate what I see.

3. When I get to work and boot up my station I mentally set some goals for the day.

4. Going through my work through the morning, I take time to reflect on my breathing at different intervals. It helps to remind me of what’s important and who I am.

5. At lunch, I get away from the office and walk to the park and sit on the ground under the trees to eat and maybe read a little. This way I can ground myself.

6. Go back to work and finish my day thinking of ways on how I can work smarter and faster.

7. End my day, meet my carpool and leave the work behind for the next day. The time now is for going home and for family. It’s my time to share and reflect on the day and consider what I’ve learned.

At the end of the day, life goes on in all its glory in many forms and I believe we’re all exactly where we should be. It’s up to us to participate or sit out. There’s a time for each.

In either case, we can choose to learn and be open to the possibilities and contribute our share for the good of all. That’s what I’m doing. What about you? How are you juggling the contrasting worlds you find yourself in? Are you able to have peace of mind and be true to who you are while doing the work you’re called to do? I’d like to hear how you do it.

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4 comments:

Barbara Swafford said...

Hi Pat,

I was so excited when I saw a new post from you come up into my reader.

Sounds like life is keeping you busy.

I have wondered what it would be like to go back to "work" after being self employed for over 16 years. It would be a big transition. Although you've written how, where you work, is so fast paced, I hear stories of the opposite too. Work is a place where many goof off, surf online, make/take personal phone calls and try their hardest to take advantage of the system.

I found the boss's answer sad. He gave up on peace of mind. Oh, what he's missing, hey?

Pat said...

Barb - I know I can count on you to stop by and say a few words. I'm sorry I haven't been as reciprocal in commenting on your blog. I hope you'll forgive me.

I'm sure there are places where employees can goof off. Sooner or later it comes back to bite.

Where I work you have to pretty much go through the checks and balances with clocking in and out even for lunch and breaks. Your work is also audited so they keep tabs on what you're doing even though we're left on our own to do our work.

I don't think I could give up peace of mind. But people get caught up in the race and don't even know that that's what happened.

Thank you for being there and looking forward to these posts. You make my day when I see a comment from you.

Blessings,

Debbie Call said...

Pat - this post resonates for me! You really nailed down the difference between a home and work office. I'm still self-employed but work out of both a home office and onsite as well. It was a shock to my system working on the outside. The pace and tempo are hectic. I'm actually more productive from my home office. I think your suggestions are very helpful. I too have incorporated some of those. I'v discovered I don't function well in a sustained high adrenaline state. So I've decided to "fight" to maintain a state of centeredness as much as possible. Thanks for your frank conversation.

Pat said...

Debbie - thank you for stopping by and commenting.

Yes, I share your feelings on the hectic pace that goes on in the world outside our private domains. It is a shock and when you work in it, as I am, over time it seems we get numb to it and we no longer seem to notice.

I think that's what's going on with most people and I've even noticed it in myself. We put ourselves through the paces every day.

But, you're right in that we need to continue to hold onto those true values and what is dear to us...what feeds our soul. Getting quiet is one way to balance our lives in between worlds.

I'm happy you're using some of the suggestions -- keep on doing what makes you happy.

Blessings

Pat