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Wasting time - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Wasting time
The Jobs in Charities job fair yesterday was pretty much useless -- by the time we got there at about 4pm pretty much everybody had packed up already. Very frustrating -- if an event is advertised as running from 10am to 6:30pm then it should damn well do that. I'd never been to a job fair before & didn't really know what to expect, but as far as I could tell it offered absolutely nothing that I couldn't already get from the web.

Being in London was a good excuse to visit nou, though. Admired some very impressive shiny knitting and miles of pretty yarn, acquired a viola and a pair of shoes, and chatted for a bit before going to find some food.

Very tired this morning, after getting back fairly late from London on the slow train. Now feeling dazed and useless and completely incapable of concentrating on all the job applications stuff I'm supposed to be doing, and getting progressively more stressed about the inability to concentrate, which of course is making it harder to concentrate, and... repeat ad nauseam. Quite literally, since I'm feeling really quite queasy, though not sure if it's the stress or general stomach-ickiness or what.

I know I used to be able to settle down and get work done; I used to find it quite easy. This feeling that I've somehow got worse at everything is the main thing that made me interested in that Reciprocality project article which nearly everybody else has objected to quite violently. I can't wholeheartedly subscribe to any attempt to divide the world into two types of people ("those who believe the world can be divided into two types of people, and those who don't"), but some of the things he suggests ring true with me at a more emotional level:

It seemed to me more likely that everyone was born a mapper, but somehow most people got "flipped" into the weaker packer mindset through social pressure. It seemed that packers were distressed by any reference - even implicit - to the mapper worldview. Yet this was a denied, neurotic kind of distress rather than an explicit disagreement about ideology.


This actually describes fairly well how I feel. I've gone from being able to think creatively to being trapped in routines; I've got to the point where the suggestion that I can think creatively just makes me feel distressed, makes me immediately say "No, I can't, I'm useless, I can't do anything".

I propose that humans have an ability to raise the level of the neuroinhibitor dopamine in their brains to reduce awareness if environmental novelty drops below a certain level.


I feel that this reduction in awareness is what's happened to me since I started working at ProQuest. I have no idea about neuroinhibitors and dopamine and so on; I'm not claiming that he's right. All I know is that the effect he's describing is exactly what I feel -- I feel like I've switched off, or at least turned down, a lot of my ability to think and work and learn. And what I'm left with is a combination of contempt for the pointless routine tasks that I am doing and can do, and (what feels like) a complete inability to do anything more. Which increases self-loathing in two different directions -- I hate myself for being unable to do anything, and for being conceited enough to despise the things I can do, conceited enough to think I could achieve anything better.

... None of this, of course, is getting my job applications written.

Current Mood: restless
Now playing: Eliza Carthy: Rice

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Comments
taimatsu From: taimatsu Date: September 27th, 2003 07:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I do know what you mean - in some of the temp jobs I've had I've been very frustrated and unhappy because there was no room for creative thinking. The ones where I could solve problems my way and do a variety of tasks were much more fulfilling. I think perhaps my creative projects and occasional strumming on the guitar help me to resist the flattening effect of routines; even if I'm not very *good* at some of the things I try out (more than six years' guitar practice and I still can't manage the finger position for barre chords) just doing them has an effect. You're not me, and I know we have had this discussion before and you didn't feel this idea was helpful, but it is, I think, something that's worked for me. I don't know how I'd manage if I had to do something very routine for a very long time. I think I would have to seriously plan external coping strategies (frequent planned social life, sharing hobbies with friends, etc) in order to deal with it. I doubt I'd actually manage to hold onto a job which was nothing but repetition, because of my avoidant tendency to semi-unconsciously not arrive at such employment on time or at all. Bad outlook if I am ever compelled by circumstances to take such work :/
j4 From: j4 Date: September 27th, 2003 07:46 am (UTC) (Link)
[creative stuff]

The thing is, I do have leisure interests as well. I do karate, I've just joined an orchestra (which should motivate me to do more than occasional fiddling on the violin), I play piano (though less and less these days), I occasionally do craft-ish things (when I have a reason to), I bake cakes (though again I haven't done a decent cake for ages), I photoshop pictures of Miffy, I even strum the guitar occasionally, manage to work out the chords to something I like, sing along a bit. ... And none of that changes the fact that I spend 8 hours a day doing (or avoiding, which is just as stressful) work which is soul-destroyingly boring and pointless.

I doubt I'd actually manage to hold onto a job which was nothing but repetition,

I think if it was nothing but repetition I'd have left (or gone mad) a long time ago. The problem is, there's always been just enough interest, or promise of interesting stuff, to keep me thinking that things will get better; so I've not quite had the kick up the arse that I needed to get out, but nor have I had anything to really challenge me or keep me properly interested.

because of my avoidant tendency to semi-unconsciously not arrive at such employment on time or at all.

I can sympathise with that; only in my case it wasn't so much being late as the fact that I ended up being ill a lot, which meant I ended up calling in sick, in the (obviously mistaken) belief that it's okay to call in sick if you're, well, sick. Unfortunately this means I've now got a bad sick-leave record, and there's no way to remove that (short of being unemployed for 2 years and clearing the record -- nobody asks for more than 2 years' absence details).

If I could go back and give advice to myself a year or two ago, my advice would be: no matter how bad the job is, no matter how ill it's making you, DON'T TAKE SICK LEAVE, EVER, unless forced to (i.e., if you're vomiting uncontrollably, or if you pass out at your desk, they'll probably send you home anyway).
reddragdiva From: reddragdiva Date: September 27th, 2003 07:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Time for a change in routine. Hitchhike around Europe!
j4 From: j4 Date: September 27th, 2003 07:31 am (UTC) (Link)
ENOMONEY.
(Deleted comment)
j4 From: j4 Date: September 27th, 2003 07:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I think it's time for Plan B.
reddragdiva From: reddragdiva Date: September 27th, 2003 07:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I mean in general, keep a careful eye on your background novelty level. I know I certainly have to. I am not quite the pure natural mapper they describe; I am susceptible to being bored into a stupor.

Kickstarting the brane can be difficult. Particularly when depressed already. The trouble with trying to pull oneself together is a lack of bootstraps to grab onto.
j4 From: j4 Date: September 27th, 2003 07:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I mean in general, keep a careful eye on your background novelty level. I know I certainly have to. I am not quite the pure natural mapper they describe; I am susceptible to being bored into a stupor.

I don't believe I'm a natural "mapper" at all. Though I don't know if that's just because I've already been bored into a stupor...

Kickstarting the brane can be difficult. Particularly when depressed already. The trouble with trying to pull oneself together is a lack of bootstraps to grab onto.

Exactly. I don' t have the energy or concentration to give myself the "background novelty" that you're suggesting. I'm finding it hard to read new stuff, even trashy novels; I'm finding it impossible to learn new and interesting things. Hell, I'm finding it hard to get out of bed on the days when I'm not in work. And in half a week I'll be out of a full-time job. :-(
From: kaet Date: September 27th, 2003 09:48 am (UTC) (Link)
It's not so much the hypothesis I object to, it's the assertion of a polarity to the separation, and the way that's done by weasely political means. Like the way in your quote the way they say weaker, distressed, neurotic, and so on. I half expected them to say, but aren't they sweet?

Also, the weird stuff about neurotransmitters reminds me a bit of those amusing articles you sometimes got from early postmodernists about quantum mechanics and the development of greek drama.
j4 From: j4 Date: September 27th, 2003 01:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
*nods*

I do see what you mean, but I was sort of reading it for different things. I didn't really want to say "I found this interesting because [stuff]" when I posted it because I wanted to see what other people's reactions were, but maybe I should have done -- it was only one angle of it that I was really interested in.

I think I failed to object to "neurotic" and "distressed" because to me they seem like very accurate descriptions of the way I feel in that context. :-/ Maybe I was overpersonalising the whole thing ... probably because I'm neurotic, weak and not clever enough to really understand the article at all except where I can say "Ooooh, that sounds like me! It's about me!"

articles ... about quantum mechanics and the development of greek drama

I probably thought they were terribly clever and original and interdisciplinary, because I'm too stupid to know any better. :-(
reddragdiva From: reddragdiva Date: September 27th, 2003 02:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Have you read the M0 articles themselves?

http://www.reciprocality.org/Reciprocality/r1/intro.html
http://www.reciprocality.org/Reciprocality/r1/
http://www.reciprocality.org/Reciprocality/r1/health.html

Their pot is very slightly cracked, but it's an interesting idea to play with nonetheless.
From: kaet Date: September 28th, 2003 09:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, and I'm even less impressed by them, than the summary that's going around.

Their terminology seems unprofessional to me. They strongly normalise on one side of their dichotomy, using words which when you leach them almost always come out aligned between positive/negative and mapper/packer. There's a whole river of implication-by-connotation going on there which I dislike. I'm sure that if their termoinology had been used to describe mappers that they are suffering from a metaphorical infectious parasitic pathology, it would have been seen as further evidence of mappers' oppression.

As far as I can tell, the paper is a piece of advocacy, which is a bad way to introduce a concept to me, because it's the same occult language used to try to persuade me to buy time share, change gas companies and give some money for a cup of tea.
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