I haven’t actually come across any of them yet. I’m not sure where they’re hiding. I’ve looked in all the usual places, checked out all the usual suspects, but no (bad) luck to be found anywhere.
It wasn’t always this way. In fact, the history of my last three contracts has shown these fearsome fellas to lurk malevolently and then hit you fast, leaving you in a maelstrom of workplace chaos. A bit like the guy in the skeleton mask in the movie Scream – remember that one? You know what I mean – from the minute you walk in, you can sense something is off, but on the surface it all looks fine. And then – BAM! Out of nowhere, they hit you – long hours, poor management, extra work, bitchy colleagues – and all of a sudden you’re left dishevelled, shaking, sweaty palmed and feeling trapped with an impending sense of doom.
In those three previous contracts, that unexpected ‘BAM!’ hit within the first week. It’s been just over a week here – and so far, all I’ve seen is interesting and absorbing work, thoughtful colleagues, and daylight at the start and end of the working day. (I’ve probably also seen too many lattes and cheese paninis – they have a very lovely cafe…ahem…)
But I realise that I’ve developed a really bad habit. I’ve started looking for the bad. Expecting it at any moment. And it’s why I’ve been feeling unsettled all week. Every time someone asks me how the new job is going, I pause. Because it’s going well. I’m actually enjoying it. And that unsettles me. I’m so used to being somewhere awful I’ve actually forgotten what it’s like to be somewhere normal. I might even go so far as to say somewhere nice (Did I tell you that one of my colleagues actually does charity work as a Daniel Craig lookalike – they had an office charity thing today and he got dressed up as Bond – how many offices does that happen in?)
Anyway…Back to the issue at hand. The whole ‘Where is the bad’ thing? When is the bad going to kick in? Why isn’t the bad happening right now? I need to kick that habit. It’s not helpful, it’s definitely not useful and it’s taking some of the enjoyment out of the very nice ‘now’ that I’ve been gifted.
I mention it because I think we’ve all fallen into the habit of looking for the bad at some point. I know that from my own situation and behaviour, and also from seeing the way friends or family will always balance out something fabulous with something negative. We don’t let ourselves enjoy a lovely ‘now’ without justifying it with a bad ‘before or a bad ‘after’. I wonder if we think we’re going to jinx the lovely ‘now’? We’re not. Difficult situations come and go. Great situations come and go too. We can’t hold on to either, no matter how much we want to. What can we do instead? Deal with the ‘now’ – whether it’s enjoyment or endurance, now is all we have.
Let’s make a pact. Let’s both stop looking for the bad. Especially if it’s way back in the past, and we can’t see a speck of it in the horizon either. Let’s just enjoy where we are right now – no justification, no explanation, no reasoning – just living in this moment, right now and saying out loud – it’s good!