Thursday, April 05, 2018

All Just Routine

Apparently, two thirds or so of adults in the UK feel that they are living in their own personal 'Groundhog Day', following the same routines every day.  They take the same journey to work, often sit in the same seat on the bus or train, have the same meals on the same days, take the same weeks off every Summer and travel to the same places for their holidays.  They even find themselves having the same conversations with their children and partners.  I'm sure, that if asked, they'd have reported that they also have the same conversations with work colleagues, over and over again, if my experience is anything to go by.  The thing is that all of this is presented as if it is a bad thing.  But the truth is that people tend to like routines.  They make us feel secure - we know where we are with a routine, they help to eliminate nasty surprises.  They banish the unknown.  I've found myself that, having been signed off work sick for a couple of months, the lack of a work-based routine has played havoc with me - I never seem to know where I am or what I'm meant to be doing.  Being pulled all over the place by the need to attend appointments, tests and the like, I've not been able to settle into a new routine.  That said, the need to take various of my medications at particular times of the day has brought some welcome routine back into my life.

That's the irony - for years now I've despised my job more with each passing day, yet during an enforced absence I've missed the structure it brought to my life.  If nothing else, just getting through the working day became a goal and made me enjoy my own time even more.  That said, the work routines I found myself increasingly trapped in were stifling: I knew pretty much where I'd be at any given time of the working day and pretty much knew every conversation I was likely to have.  There was no room for manoeuvre or initiative.  Ironically, again, (there's a lot of irony in this post), when the job changed and more uncertainty came into play, I hated it even more.  Not only did this upset my routines, (which, although boring, were at least a simply something I could do by rote to get through in order to complete the day), but it brought a greater degree of risk and consequently stress into my working days.  Which, in turn, took its toll on my health. 

I dare say that if I actually finally bit the bullet and quit my job completely, I'd be able to establish a new routine.  But not knowing what my situation is going to be long-term at the moment, leaves me in a limbo, reluctant to start any major projects without knowing how much time (not to mention resources) I'll have to pursue them.  For what it's worth, I'm due back in the office on Monday, but nobody from work has contacted me to tell me what I'm supposed to do when I get there.  I'm assuming that there is some kind of protocol for people returning to work after long-term sickness, Occupational Health will presumably have to assess me, but nobody has told me.  The reality is that I'm not likely to linger with this employer much longer, (we're talking weeks, months at the most).  There are just a few things I need to sort out before I go.  I have started looking into some long-term alternatives and will be following up some encouraging sounding leads over the next few weeks.  Whether anything actually comes of them remains to be seen.  It's astart, at least.  Maybe I'll be able to settle into a new set of routines yet.



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