Tango helps me a lot in winter - most of the time it's a guaranteed mood-lifter, and even when the social side can be emotionally tricky, stepping on a few emotional mines is much better for me than just hiding away from this stuff.
My first week back at work contained far too much stressing about big-company problems. More or less all big companies that have been around for the time it takes to get big, have more or less the same problems. They include organisational stupidity: not stupidity of the people, as such, but stupidity created by the mere size of the organisation. Pointless and irritating problems that go unsolved for years, or even decades, because they are on too big a scale for anyone who can actually see them to solve, but too small a scale to be seen by anyone with the power to solve them, while at the same time being too embarrassingly stupid for the person whose problem they are supposed to be, to acknowledge their existence at all. It happens all the time.
Working for a big organisation also has advantages, and I know very well what they are. If I can't take big-company problems any more, the only answer is to move to a small company. Small companies have different problems and different advantages. Generally speaking, I can take big-company problems. Every now and then I just have to have a rant to my Mum or something. But I'm keeping an open mind. If you want a really good writer and "applications" bod who can talk to programmers, isn't a fool or a pedant, and frankly enjoys International English, feel free to make me an offer. I don't like long hours but I'm good at thinking, and I never lie to project managers. If I don't know the answer, I'll say so. But I'm all right where I am. Oh, and I can draw diagrams that make my boss less confused rather than more.
Everybody has problems. When I am feeling fed up about something, it's a good idea to ask myself:
- What, exactly, is really the problem? Does it even exist? How do I know?
- Is there anything that I can DO about this problem? Would it work?
- Is it actually, primarily, when it comes down to it, MY problem?
Nothing necessarily gives us the obligation or the right to try to solve other people's problems. Other people have a right to their own problems, and they have a right to understand them, solve them, or neglect them in their own way. Even if a problem is to some extent a problem for me, it may be that there's someone else who has a better claim on it. I'm entitled to protect myself from harm, but I'm not entitled to run around clearing plates or moving furniture when I'm supposed to be a guest. That's irritating and officious at best; controlling and manipulative at worst. And if you don't know how the dishwasher works or where anything goes, it's harmful. The guest also has a role to play.
It's sometimes a good exercise to look around your life for things that are Somebody Else's Problem.
My new year's resolutions - well, I'll call them plans:
1) Stop worrying about big-company problems
2) Work on my leading.
New in my RSS feed:
Ta-Nehisi Coates, a superb writer and thinker on many subjects, but I particularly admire his willingness to distinguish between what he knows and what he doesn't know. That's how you tell real imagination from Bullshit. I love his articles on reading books - he's been reading George Eliot and Jane Austen.