August update. June and July may have been uneventful, or maybe I just forgot.

Exactly 11 weeks from my last post I am back again. It’s almost expected by now; I write a post (usually when not in work), go missing for a few weeks, write another, gone for a few months, come back and write multiple posts over a short period, then I ghost again.

It’s no coincidence that today is a Monday where I’m not in work and here I am writing this. There’s always that new week bounce. The optimism I could do anything this week, knowing I’m not in work. Followed by maximal self-loathing come the end of a largely unproductive week off.

Other beneficiaries of this ‘new week bounce’ include me finally reaching a 1000 day streak on DuoLingo, me actually writing part of a story and planning to write more today and me wanting to go to the gym. Though it must be said I’ve wanted to go plenty since I rejoined maybe two months ago and yet I’m still averaging less than one visit a week.

I do have my step-son with me today so gym is off the cards until Penny finishes work and I know very well that probably means I won’t go today. Also the weather is miserable so most likely no walk around the park with said step-son but we’ll see. We both enjoy playing PokemonGo so maybe we’ll brave the rain at some point.

Usually I don’t read my previous post when I return but today I did and I’m able to update. Specifically regarding work. In my previous post I was waiting for a call back about a job I was excited for. The call came, I got the job and was thrown in the deep end immediately. What followed was 7 straight weeks working in London with pretty much zero training, two days working in Wales (minutes from my mother-in-law’s home), a breakdown and almost quitting but essentially just having one day off sick, and then three and a half weeks working local to home and actually coming home each night after work.

It’s not easy to summarise the work situation. I’m not happy but when have I ever been happy in work? I wouldn’t even say I’m content. There’s a level of comfort being fairly competent now and getting to know the people I work with but I regret to admit the negatives outweigh the positives. There is no manager but the man in the office who has found himself ‘managing’ me often gets the opposite response from me than he intends. I have no doubt he is very good at his actual job but he is not a good motivator or communicator.

That is not the extent of the issues. The company is a victim of it’s own success; there is a lot of work all over the country but there are only seven engineers and four of those are myself, two young lads who are doing well but have only been with the company a few months longer than me, and another younger lad who started the same time as me with no previous site experience that maybe found it a little difficult. They have struggled to recruit; another person started the same day as me and quickly realised it wasn’t for him and didn’t come back, one senior engineer who I never met, left within a month of me starting and only know have they managed to bring in two more engineers but at the time of writing it looks as though another senior engineer is about to leave.

When I break it down to real fundamental basics I think if I could snap my fingers and be working for a different company doing the same work I would. But also if I could do the same and be working somewhere completely different doing some other kind of work I would too. I just have no idea what my preference would be.

My original plan was to find a work from home job that could pay the bills and give me time and energy to pursue ‘side-hustles’ of my own. Being already at home, no commute, and working on managing my time and work (whatever that may be) as efficiently as possible all pointed towards me being able to build one or multiple side ventures that down the line could potentially stick and become my main source of income. This made sense in principle but has proved difficult.

While I was off work suffering with my mental health I did try a couple of things but that just resulted in me ruling those things out as options that do not suit me. I was fine with that. It was also agreed with Penny that I wouldn’t put too much pressure on myself trying to find a job as we were okay financially and the important thing was me getting better.

I started attending a mental health group for men and from the first session I felt much better. Just talking to and listening to others that have had similar experiences and in many cases worse was much more therapeutic and progressive for me than any experience I have had with a doctor or counsellor. By session two I was approached by another man there that overheard me talking about my work situation and that I was an electrician and he asked if I would be interested in a job at his place of work. What followed was the interview, the call to confirm I got the job, and being rushed in to start immediately. There has been no session three at the very helpful mental health group, to my huge disappointment.

And now I find myself earning a wage comparable to electrician rates, which my ‘manager’ repeatedly reminds me of when trying to convince me how much the company has done for me. The more prominent negative aspect of which though, is that it would be an almost 50% wage drop if I were to leave this for some new-starter work from home job. This would be difficult enough but our upcoming outgoings are substantially larger than usual.

For one we have the second payment for our wedding coming up next month. I’m not sure of the full figure but it’s somewhere between £1200 and £1500. On top of that we awoke a few days ago to find our family car had been stolen. The police didn’t seem too optimistic about finding it so the car, our daughter’s car-seat and pushchair, and other assorted belongings within all need to be replaced, as of yet we are unsure how much our insurance company will offer us and best of all the car won’t even be fully paid off for another year. Our expected bills factor in too but then Christmas is only round the corner.

I feel I perhaps have to stay in this job until the new year at least. If I can do that we can pay everything we need to and put money aside. Last weekend Penny and I went to a festival that has been booked for more than two years (it got pushed back a year due to COVID) and were able to stay in a fancy hotel, eat and drink and do anything we wanted including some shopping without having to pinch the pennies and I’ve got to be honest it was bliss. I want more of that. Not just for me but for her, and for the kids. To have little day trips without worrying about what we spend. To have family holidays where we can go crazy for a week or two and not have to hold back. But I know those days and weeks fly by in an instant whereas the hours, days, weeks, months working in an uninspiring and stressful job can drag immensely and often times chip away at the spirit.

I’m really not sure what to do. For now I’m taking it day by day while trying to enjoy work as best I can while I’m there and maximise my happiness outside of work to make it more worthwhile. Penny thinks I should look for similar jobs with other companies that may be more settled and better managed. This is an option for sure but sometimes I believe it is better the devil you know.

We’ll see what happens I guess but at this moment in time I’ve got a whole week at home to spend with the family. If I can write, go to the gym, and work on myself a little then great. On Friday we’re going to my brother’s static caravan by the beach in a nice area then I’m back in work on Monday and Tuesday Penny is taking the kids to her mum’s in Wales while I stay home. So again, another week I’ll have that time to do what I want or need to do. I’ll be in work but before and after work I only have to focus on myself. Two weeks is a decent chunk of time I think, maybe the beginnings of some positive habits will form in that period and maybe, just maybe, I find something I enjoy that possibly somewhere down the line I could turn in to my work. Who knows. And following that I’m going to a gig with friends on the Sunday as Monday is a bank holiday.

All in all August doesn’t seem a bad month, even with our car being stolen. Let’s hope September is even better. It’s my birthday month and maybe at the 34th time of asking my birthday wish will be answered. Here’s hoping.

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