Posted in Friday, Personal Observations, Work

#Friday 19.0: Signs that work is overwhelming you

Each week I will (try and) share a small segment of something useful I learnt. While this is for my own amusement I hope it resonates with my lovely readers.

Different jobs, same triggers?

My official job title is Project Manager and it’s a field I’ve been in for over 18 years. In the last few years the intensity of my projects has increased i.e. more high profile, difficult clients and contracts filled with penalties for missed obligations. Every so often I’ll pick up a project and those initial months of setup riddle me with dread; it happens every time. It’s an overwhelming feeling which, over time does go away. It’s a mixture of re-building your confidence each time and not trying to take it personally..

In a recent project I’ve been experiencing the same feelings regardless of the wealth of knowledge I have accumulated. You may, in your industry suffer from the same triggers of being overwhelmed.

Lack of focus on conversations at home start etching their way into your dialog. I can hear the voice coming in my direction but it’s being blocked. Noise that’s blocking those conversations is my mind preoccupied with something about work. STOP! Identify what actually is creating that noise and openly talk to a work colleague or your manager. It may be that you are overloaded or think you can’t cope with the new challenge.

You’re not able to pull away from the laptop and find yourself engrossed while trying to half listen to the conversation. If that happens, stop typing! No one wants to talk to half an eyeball. A tunnel vision approach will only block out those at home and bubble up frustrations.

Clock watching while having lunch because you feel every minute lost munching is time lost not working on something. Food is fuel for the mind and body and you must take time out. My approach has always been to block out lunchtime in my diary as a private appointment. Appreciate this will be different for everyone depending on the job they do. But remember, lunch is a given right which for some reason we are too inclined to give up.

You are smiling less around the house because you can’t get a work problem out of your mind. Or you are already thinking about the possible repercussions of things failing and what the fallout is going to look like. I think my kids and wife have noticed I have not been chirpy recently, and that’s a personality trait I definitely don’t want to transition into. Take a positive approach and try not worrying about what may or may not happen. Something my manager told me the other day – people say you are judged on your last project and performance. Bullshit! Think of it as “what did I learn from that last piece of work”. If things begin to tumble, it’s not the end of the world, this stupid virus hasn’t ended it so what is work in comparison!

If you still can’t wipe the blues, time for a change

Recently my sister and I had a similar conversation about work and the constant pressures. While I have enjoyed the last 18 years in this industry, I can’t see myself signing out with it. I do personally feel a change is on the horizon, career change for that matter. There will definitely be financial ramifications but one must balance the choice between income and sanity.

Stay safe, stay healthy

Posted in Personal Observations

Christmas…’s an Asian Thing too!

Do you celebrate Christmas?……unknown dude in my local Sainsbury

As a wee lad I have very clear memories of Christmas….well I do remember the pile of presents waiting under the tree.  Having to wait almost until the end to open them, while all 40 of my elder cousins preceded to rip their wrapping apart.

Christmas in our household was always the convergence of three families, lots of food, watching the queen’s speech, followed by adults snoring while we tried out our new toys.  All our families met regularly throughout the year so the Christmas meet was never really anything different – apart from masses of food and presents.

In recent years,  those get-togethers have taken a different form in terms of audience, but through the power of social media it’s nice to see everyone is still enjoying the festive occasion.  I am thinking, and hoping this is along the correct lines, that our parents stressed the importance of Christmas and it’s traditions; because they felt obliged to do so living in the UK, and secondly to ensure we never felt out of place when going back to school and being part of those playground conversations.

Lately I have realised there have been some questions raised from within the community about people of ethnic faiths focusing too much on Christmas and not enough on their own festive events.  I have to admit that I too started to question my own focus, left wondering whether I was pushing back the importance of my festive occasions.  But, I soon understood that any festive occasion needs to be appreciated in it’s own merit.  Christmas day is the only occasion I know where a majority of businesses are shut, no one (apart from a small segment of Asians) is working, therefore forcing the public to stay at home and do something..together.  As an Asian, I think this is a wonderful concept, take away the food prep and serving, because let’s face it, you can serve up anything on Christmas day.

I put out a tweet a few days ago, asking followers to spare a thought for those who on Christmas day couldn’t be with family and friends.  I very much enjoyed our festive day, because we were together, we were in the mindset to organise our day which included food, games, TV (which was disappointing this year), a little snooze and re-use of food.

I would guess spending Christmas day on your own couldn’t be that good, and unless circumstances outside my control would force my hand, I will continue to ensure these festive occasions stress the importance of switching off and spending quality time with the family.  Asian families have always been known for their strong family bonds, so use Christmas as the ideal occasion to create more lovely memories.  Just as members of other faiths join in celebrations with the Sikh community on occasions like Vaisakhi, lets also continue to do the same and never feel that we are pushing back on our own values.

Image Courtesy of Wall Street Journal online.
Posted in Life

Why Hugging is so important

If I stood here and stated that today, we are not as affectionate as our parents and their generation were; would I be wrong?  Would I be talking out-of-place?

This post was sparked from a debating programme I watched last night with one of the debating points being hugging.  Apparently I was not aware that there is a National Hugging Day, check out the link.  It’s great that we have these kind of events, but in a sense it is also exceptionally sad.  Why?  Well look at it this way:

Why do we have National events such as National Letter Writing Day and No Smoking Day?  It is to encourage us to do something on that particular day.  So isn’t it sad that we need a day that encourages us to hug each other?

Interestingly enough, there is also some science around how long the common hug lasts, which this publication claims is 3 seconds.

For me, hugging is very important and I never shy away from a tight cuddle, an affectionate cuddle.  Each and every day I make sure I get my hugs in, before I leave for work and when I come home.  I can tell you it makes the world of good with family and friends.

I recently read a Freshly Pressed post on WordPress which I can’t recall, that spoke of the authors reluctance to hug family and friends, the affection there was rather cold.  But I guess it’s each to their own.

So tell me, when’s the last time you gave someone a true affectionate hug?

*image courtesy of

Posted in Personal Observations

(Yrs 6 to 35) – I am this Old! What have I achieved so far?

I was going to split these up but have decided to splatter it into one post, long read, if you have time.  It’s been a busy 35yrs.

[Background note to this post: a conversation triggered by my 9 yr old got me categorising my life so far.  Yesterday’s post can be accessed via link below, the rest is here].

Years 0 – 5

Years 6 – present > Continue reading “(Yrs 6 to 35) – I am this Old! What have I achieved so far?”