Wednesday, December 09, 2020

One Year Work Anniversary

 Today marks one year since I joined my new company as a scientist. The memory of my first week is still fresh. And little did I or everyone expect that in 4 months, I would be working from home until today. It feels weird. Time passed so fast, yet so slow. It felt like both. 

In the past 10 months, I went through an emotional and psychological roller coaster, mostly caused by two major changes in my life; new job after 19 years, and first work-from-home experience. But I cannot thank my new company enough as I was entirely supported throughout the time. 

I had a tumultuous ride at the start of the lockdown and working from home, starting with shock of sudden change, then gradual acceptance of the new situation. Then anxiety and moments of darkness hit me on some days every week. It was an eerie feeling of hopelessness, and it felt dark and lonely. Just totally negative. And it wasn't something I could share even with the husband because it would worry him. Even I was worried I might do something stupid. 

I think it had something to do with my new role. A lot of times, I felt I was not good enough. Although my job wasn't stressful, I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform. There were presentations which I had never done before in my previous job and in this new role, it is something you have to get used to. Actually I wasn't scared of presenting, but I was very stressed about building the content to present. There were so many details about the projects that I wasn't familiar with, and I had to gather my sources and information remotely. It wasn't easy, but somehow, I managed to pull it off. I prayed a lot too during these times. Prayed for wisdom, prayed for strength.

Then, gladness and gratitude followed. I felt extremely blessed that I still had a job during this time, that my boss and my company are taking good care of me, that I get to have an extra couple of hours sleep everyday now and I get to be a full time mom for the first time. I could do things for my kids that I usually don't get to do like settle their lunch, be more involved in their school work, cook dinner and generally just be at home with them. Spending more time with the husband has also brought our relationship closer. His golf/ drinks/bike outings reduced considerably due to the new norm so he was home a lot more. We'd watched drama series before bedtime, now that I could because I get extra sleep time. It's amazing how much time I earn back when I don't commute daily to Singapore for work. And that extra time converts to more well-deserved sleep. Just wow.

Demotivation was another challenge I faced during this time. Being away from the physical work site for so long had made me lost my core purpose in my role. I felt useless, redundant and a burden, which added to the new-job-pressure stress I was having. I developed an aversion towards my work. I wanted nothing to do with science. On many days, I wanted so badly to quit and settle for a simple job here. I wanted a sense of permanence, not questioning myself like "When can I stop working in Singapore, how long should I work in Singapore, when will the border open?" I was sick of all the uncertainties and what-ifs. I wanted something solid here that I can finally say "Here you are, you can do this for the rest of your life now and not worry about border crossing problems anymore" You have no idea how strangulating it is.

So comes December, exactly a year now. Things are slowing down, colleagues are taking leaves, presentation stress is on hold, time to reflect and time to relax. It doesn't seem so bad after all. 

It really felt like riding a roller coaster for the first time, not knowing what laid ahead and after whooshing through with my eyes shut tight, I emerged on a smooth and slow glide towards the end of the year.

I think I can finally breathe.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Just me... ranting

I think I'm no longer Pisces. 

Pisceans are dreamers. I've stopped dreaming and started worrying about everything. Life, quite suddenly, has become a dark and lonely place; the real world. In this world, my zodiac sign is called Sandwich.

Yep, this is the time we get familiar with terms like sandwich generation. It is a generation of people, usually in their 30s, 40s or 50s, who are responsible for both bringing up their own children and for the care of their aging parents. I would like to add that this generation is also responsible for taking care of themselves and planning for their own aging support.

I bet my parents were once in the sandwich generation. The great depression also happened during that time. But how different was it compared to now? I'm really curious.

Though I can't presume that it was easier for our parents to cope, I do believe there are more challenges for the sandwich generation today, some of which are digital- and financial-wise.

On top of being a sandwich generation, if you fall into these two categories like me, I want to give you a hug.

1. You are an only child

2. Your parents are separated

And if you fall further into these categories, I want to give you a big hug.

3. You are the only one with stable income.

4. You have a dream of starting a business from your passion/hobby but cannot, because of point number 3.

AND, if you fall further into this category summore, I want to give you the biggest hug.

5. You are a woman. Wife, mother, daughter, all-in-one combo.

Some are giggling, "Ha ha, you so funny". But I know some are crying after reading this. Because it really feels dark and lonely, this world. 

Sounds so negative doesn't it? I'm afraid I'd be reduced to a grumpy old lady, cursing the world. GAH!

I know there are so many people in worse situation than me, and that I should be very blessed instead of feeling burdened, but the fact that I AM feeling burdened is something I should acknowledge. 

Acknowledge, accept and leverage.

I will be back on the leverage part. Till then, I'll sulk.