Corners, careers and a moment to hold on to

30 days now until I finish my engineering career. Less than a month. Wow. It has been an incredibly difficult year, but the next episode is only just around the corner.

My work ethic is pathetic (perhaps my fate is in poetry) at the moment. It’s not something I’m proud of. I feel terrible about my present performance. I need to be doing so much more so that I don’t leave problems behind me for someone else to deal with.

Looking at what needs to be done, it seems perfectly fair and reasonable. Without doubt it could all be achieved ahead of time. But I am not a robot. I am Matt. A big kid. When all passion is lost, all enthusiasm has been drained by a desk, the drive to achieve has been eliminated by the realization that hard work and crap work as an employee result in almost identical personal outcomes. The ability to sit and work crashes and burns.

It’s in times like these that I must hold on to the future. My time will come. It is only just around the corner. It is in one month now that rather than hold on to the future I will be holding myself in the present. The first sight of snow for the season. My first ride up a chair lift. The first run down a slope. Sunrise from a mountain top. ‘Hopefully’ a lady under my arm. Life on Falls Creek. My endless ‘now’ will be my moment to hold on to.

One more month. I need to subdue my overwhelming urge to scream, yell, smash and destroy shit for only one more month. My strength is in understanding that no matter the events of the next 30 days, soon I will be on the snow. The stresses of this life will come to pass. Soon.

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Enjoying Your Job?

Here I sit, contemplating once again the larger purpose of my life. My desk is relatively clean, a few ‘important’ yet so distant pieces of paper scattered on its surface. The usual promise toying on my mind that everything I am currently working on must be completed by yesterday. There was a point in my professional life where the terms ‘important’, ‘quickly’, ‘urgently’ etcetera lost all meaning. When everything is always critical, and so much control is lost to unnecessary and underqualified authority, the will to excel diminishes.

As each day behind my desk has passed I have quietly, and sometimes very vocally and violently, observed my surroundings. I have tried to understand the overall goal of the profession I am working within and tried to understand the methods by which we aim to achieve our goals. We provide a service to a client, though the aim of our business has so obviously become making money as opposed to providing a brilliant service. Yes, every business needs to make money to maintain its service, though when so much of the focus diverges from the product and shifts to the amount that is being invoiced does not the quality of the product lose its value.

The core of any business is in the people that produce its product. It is critical to keep excellent people. It is critical to be able to motivate people and inspire them to output great work and it is critical to reward them appropriately. So how does an employer motivate employees? It seems that the all too common answer is to pay them a lot, though this hasn’t worked in my workplace, and my experience suggests that no matter how much someone is paid they only ever want to be paid more. It seems that income has little to no impact on attitude towards work.

I no longer have any pride in the work I output for my employer. I no longer have a sense of urgency no matter how much pressure is placed on me. I have become relatively calm as I have realized that at the end of the day, my effort and the quality of my work in no way distinguishes me from my peers. An employer needs to motivate employees by thinking outside of the box. Life is too short to continue working, providing a service, in a field I have no passion for because of a large pay cheque. We need to be proud of what we do day to day. We need to go home with a sense of achievement. Not a warning as to how much more we need to make, or invoice, for our employer.

A Motivational Hit

It is easy to stay still and get comfortable.

It is much harder to get up and run after something more. It takes drive, motivation, passion and a will to win. It takes the guts to face uncertainty and to drive the outcome that you want to achieve. No one can claim to be perfect, no one is, has been, or ever will be. No one has ever known what their future held. Anyone that has had a dream has had to work in order to achieve it. But sometimes we need a little bit of motivation along the way.

Motivation can be hard. Uncertainty has often clouded my thoughts and slowed my progress, though I keep chugging forward. I have taken my big steps backwards. The biggest backwards steps have been in decisions made without education and in desperation, with the hope of immediate gratification. Fact is that immediate gratification does exist, but it is rare and takes an educated and experienced mind to identify its possibility. My mind was neither educated or experienced in the matters at hand at the time. Now it is, and my losses have been recovered. I am now the closest to my dreams I have ever been, though they are still so far away. I still don’t know how I am going to get there and I have no idea how long it is going to take.

I ask myself frequently “what is your dream?”. Every day I seem to have a different answer, though they all revolve around two concepts. Freedom and Happiness. My dream (though it may change slightly tomorrow) is “to get myself into a position where I am happy and free. Free to decide what I want to do tomorrow, and where I want to go, without worrying about how I am going to afford it or how it will turn out, and to eliminate the fear of the future“. Pretty simple dream really. I have not a moments doubt that I will achieve this dream, I just don’t know how or when. The last year has been a roller coaster, the two biggest mistakes have occurred and I have now dug myself back out of their holes. But I need a little motivation.

Lately I have been turning to youtube for motivation. There are a lot of good videos, full of inspirational quotes and imagery (like this one) that just remind me that I am good enough and I do have the power to achieve anything I want to achieve. So I figured that I could share a couple of quotes here that have resonated with me recently and kept me moving forward. They may be cliche, but they have been effective.

“The Man who says he can, and the man who says he can not.. Are both correct” – Confucius

I have heard people say that they can’t do that thing countless times. I used to think that I couldn’t draw, until I started drawing. I used to think that I couldn’t maintain a blog, until I just did it. I used to think that I couldn’t quit smoking, until I told myself I could. Now I am telling myself that I can be happy, I can live an amazing life and not regret a day. And so it will be.

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!” – Rocky Balboa

I wrote this in the back of one of my recent workbooks. I would read it every time I opened the book and right before every time I closed it. It reminded me that even though I was in a huge amount of debt and struggling with other serious personal issues, if I did not continue to educate myself and continue to think up new ideas, I would never get ahead. Now i’m back at the starting line, it’s time to get ahead.

I’m going to win.

Starting Over

From being so far behind, to getting closer and closer to being back at the starting line. My motivation is returning. In torrents. I am the only person in control of my future and I am not satisfied with being average. I am not satisfied with just getting by.

What has been stopping me? Me. Only me. Nobody can tell me what I can or cannot do because they are not me. They do not know me and they do not know what I will achieve. I have failed now so many times. Lost and lost again, been laughed at and mocked. But at least I have tried. I have not settled with the option of slaving away for a boss until I am 65, to then settle for living in relative poverty. I have learnt far too much to allow that to happen. That will not be my life. I have fallen on my face, taken the hits, allowed myself to get trampled on and listened to the voices that have told me my dreams are ridiculous. They are not. My dreams are real. My dreams are possible and I will achieve them. I will not be average. I will fall and fail, as many times as necessary until I get to where I want to be.

I have been stagnant now for far too long. It’s time I got back in the game. No more piss farting around and pretending. My dream is real. My ideas will work. Just because they have not worked yet simply means that I have not worked hard enough at them yet. I want to be great and I am prepared to work for it. I will be great.

Fear. Fear stops us. Fear has halted me and I have found too many ways to find temporary release from it. I have feared and felt the anxiety of failure. I have written about it and allowed it to consume me. Fear of failure is akin to telling myself that I am not prepared to even try. Fear is pathetic. If success was so easy and failure was optional, than why are more people not successful. Why are so many people slaving away. I believe my dreams will happen for me and I believe I deserve it.

It’s 3:30 am. I’m not going back to sleep. I have work to do. Tomorrow, I get back in to the library. The next time I fall over, I will not stay down at all. I will get straight back up.

The Will to Continue

Things are hard. They have not been easy for years. Knowing now that work is coming to an end on May 30 only makes it harder to continue to turn up. Though, like so many of us I am not currently in a position where that is a choice I have the luxury of making. My current job fortunately pays me very well and so with it I at least have a good chance of getting myself back to the starting line before it is over. Without it, who knows how long it will take, being so far behind now for the last 6 months or so, after a series of terrible decisions, has pushed me further down and kept me there.

I have only really been on the rise again for about 1 month. I am making ground very quickly, but it is hard work and only reinforces just how far ahead of the game i should have been by now. By now, if i just had have been prepared, i should have been nearing the finish line. But I was just so unaware of the long term impacts of my decisions. No point beating myself up about what should have been right?

I know my potential. I have seen myself work. I have seen myself excel at everything I ever had passion for. Passion converts directly in to motivation. But being behind has drained both the passion and motivation from my life completely. I just need to get back to 0. Back in the positive. Back to the place where whatever I try is pushing me further ahead rather than gaining lost ground. 

It is hard to continue. But we must. Giving up will not achieve anything. Except maybe to teach us how bad the bottom can be. I hit my lowest about 3 months ago. I will not go back there. I cannot go back there.

Life got hard. But I am resilient.