There is this binary thinking which wants me to say all the time that I feel this way or that way; that I either believed this or I believed that at a given point. It causes me to say that I can’t have conflicting feelings about my job. My usual narrative is that I’m anxious in the beginning of a new situation before the nerves slowly subside, so I must be going through that now. It doesn’t leave room for me to feel both anxious and hopeful at the same time. It wants to paint a solid picture of what I’m going through, but I think the truth is there are two things going on at the same time. I am anxious every day and I am also hopeful every day, both at the very same time. To try and reduce my experience to one or the other leads to confusion and more anxiety. Truthfully, I think I’m up against the worst aspects of my disease on a daily basis at the moment and it’s scary, but there’s as much hope on the other side ready to meet it. There must be, otherwise I’d have given up on the first day. But I can’t just say that means all is fine now because the negative side of things is equal to the positive. Things are both good and bad at the moment. I can’t choose which one is more real; I’m at an impasse with it until time reveals the answer.
I tried to start the working day with a different attitude to yesterday, giving myself back up plans in case I had nothing to do again. I’d go on the lemonde website and spend time translating articles: it would take plenty of time, and it would look vaguely like work in case anyone spotted me. In the end, I didn’t have to use my back up plan, as there was some actual work to do. I was thanking my lucky stars for that; the whole experience of not having anything to do for hours on end has proven that my mind needs constant occupation, otherwise it can begin to wither. So today I was learning from B how to send out letters to customers in bulk. As a task it took a lot of learning and I was with B for most of the day.
It won’t give me enough to do on a daily basis forever because the mail out only needs to be done once a fortnight. Still, at least it gives me a bit more responsibility, and there’s a chance it could grow into something bigger. They could decide to do the mail outs more frequently in future, or if I show an aptitude for such a complex task I might be given other even more complex and responsible tasks by the head of department. The other good thing is that B didn’t move a desk away from me today like I thought she would. Our conversation through the day wasn’t exactly chummy, but it was polite and relatively warm. We got on.
Over all the office was quieter than usual today with some of the nearby team away doing work in other teams. I gather that most of them will be back tomorrow, so the quiet wasn’t destined to last. Thank god I got a day of it, better than nothing. I didn’t come any closer to believing in the company vision today – I still strongly feel that there’s something forced about it all – but maybe in time I’ll just learn to accept it. That’s if I don’t get sacked in the meantime for not believing in it! One thing I’ll never grow to love is the basement. If I was sat just a couple of seats to my right or left, I’d be close enough to a skylight to see the sky. As it is I’m in the very middle with no direct view to any of the skylights. Such a bummer. Today saw glorious sunshine in London and I spent some of the time watching the shimmering reflection of it on the walls, like Plato’s cave people. The question of when I will be freed from that cave (mentally or physically) is anyone’s guess.
A potential problem with one of my neighbours arose this afternoon. B wanted to start training me on how to use the phone system, so that I can start calling up customers. Unfortunately my computer wasn’t configured to work with the phone system, and apparently never could be, which disappointed us no end because these phone calls desperately need to be done. After some thinking, B came up with the solution of swapping my hard drive with that of one of the girls in our neighbouring team who’d been away for the day. The hard drives are all slotted away in little shelves attached to the undersides of the desks, easily removed and replaced. So I took mine and swapped it with the other girl’s, after much fiddling about with cables and wires under the desk, thinking that would be that. We can all log in as ourselves on any computer in the company, so that part of it wouldn’t be a problem. Nor would configuring a phone to the new hard drive be a problem – as soon as I had it plugged in I saw that it was configurable. Why the other hard drive that I’d been using wasn’t configurable was to remain a mystery. When I had the new computer all set up, one of the other girls in the neighbouring team made a comment that S (whose hard drive I’d swapped out) wouldn’t be happy with the change because her computer had apparently been set up with some special software that she needed for doing one of her daily tasks. The comment was made in a “haha, you’ll be in so much trouble” kind of way, like the kind of teasing jibe kids make at school to each other. I don’t know if the girl who made the comment meant it as a joke, to be funny, but it certainly didn’t seem funny. I went into panic pretty much straight away.
I don’t know this girl S, I don’t know how she’s going to react tomorrow when she comes in and finds that her computer hard drive has been swapped. It could be awkward, and so with that possibility I am preparing myself for a difficult morning. Great, just what I need right now. This will be a test of my nerves, for sure; perhaps my biggest test yet at the bank. The worst case scenario only involves possible humiliation and isolation. So there’s a lot riding on it!
Logic tells me that I will handle whatever happens tomorrow and it probably won’t be that bad at all. I know and believe that to be true at the same time as believing viscerally that it will be terrible. Both things are equally true in my head; I’m not veering more towards either belief yet. Everything will be fine, but the worst aspects of my disease are being brought out because they always are in these situations. I’ve spent the whole evening thinking about this, and will probably spend the rest thinking about it until I go to bed. I’m expecting S to come in tomorrow and be upset with me in front of everyone, making me look the bad guy. I’ve made a character judgement of her as a way of protecting myself and it’s stuck. While she isn’t thinking about any of this tonight, I’m obsessing about her future behaviour as if it’s the only important thing in the world. She has no idea that anything out of the ordinary will happen tomorrow; when it comes, she might be perfectly fine about it. But my disease has predetermined what it thinks she’s going to do, all while I carry on knowing the truth about how the future behaviour of someone called S can’t be predicted by any equation.
What I do is I put people into these boxes and write equations for their future behaviour based on templates that I got at school. When I was there, everyone seemed predictable and fixed in their behaviour. You could always rely on the troublemakers to be troublemakers, the smart arses to be smart arses, the bullies to be bullies. The strangest aspect of my disease has me stuck in that warped view, where what some boys did in the 1990’s directly translates to what I believe people will do in 2016.
Until tomorrow has passed I won’t be able to get on with my life or see anything good in the future. The situation with S will be over in ten minutes, but boy has that ten minutes become all important tonight. The pressure it’s exerting on me is making me miss my old job harder than ever. There’s that binary thinking again: everything was better in the past, the bad times back then don’t matter any more because they don’t match up to what I’m going through today. I miss this time last year, when I was going into the office in trainers and going for walks in the nearby park at lunch time; the disease has blinded me to the daily misery I was experiencing at that time. It’s been pushed into a closet where it can’t affect this selective viewpoint that wants today’s fear to seem like the worst ever.
I’ve spotted the tricks that my mind keeps playing on me, like finding out the mundane truth behind a magician’s spells. I’ve delved into the inner workings and exposed the flaws. I’m ready for tomorrow now, and I am not looking forward to it.