Charity

Obviously, I still don`t quite understand charity in Britain. My colleague has been around the village fundraising, and she came back upset because she left one small shop empty handed. It was not that they didn`t offer her anything, they just couldn`t establish who could make a decision.

“She`s looking for a wee donation…” one of the ladies said into a telephone, and my colleague self reported interfering: “No, it`s NOT just a wee donation, I am looking for, I showed you a letter on headed paper from (our organisation)!” I bet she shouted. The lady offered to take her phone number, but my colleague proudly cited herself: “It`s alright, don`t bother, but thank you for your support to your community!”

But it`s voluntary… Or isn`t it?

Facebook: More on Befriending Co-workers (part II)

(continuation)

But that`s just an illusion that people never really go away if they`re on your facebook – if you`re not careful, they drift away right in front of your eyes. Without it, they would either disappear completely (rather than keep popping up as a niggling reminder of unkept promises) or stay close (if you both make the effort). Everything in-between is just superficial and usually not worth it in the long term.

I am leaving my job, and although I get on really well with and will miss most people, I am actually grateful that we are not linked on facebook, and I don`t intend to change this when I leave. I don`t want our relationships to be reduced like that. At the moment, we don`t need facebook (and it`s actually nice not to feel pressurised into keeping up with everyone`s personal lives), and starting this now would feel… contrieved?

But how lovely would it be to bump into each other in the supermarket when you truely haven`t seen each other for all that time? (We all live close – it will happen!!)

I very fondly remember the banter I used to have with my old colleagues on facebook, the little insiders that noone else would get. Here, I have none of that. I also remember the banter from which I was excluded, the allusions to things that happened when I wasn`t there and which noone would ever bother to explain. I have none of that, either. And then, I see the banter of others, people who don`t and never worked with me, and I usually find it childish – and I have none of that, eihter.

We do have banter. So much. Just not on Facebook. We probably have even better fun without it. Because where there is facebook, people inevitably get (and therefore seek!) attention for what they do outside work. But where we don`t (over-?)share our personal lives like that, we are more focused on what we do at work. Our personal lives do not matter: no showing off our drunken party photos, no unhealthy competition about where we go on holiday. Whereever people come together, you cannot totally avoid those things, but there`s definitely less where there is no facebook. And if we do share something personal, it feels special. If you get close to one another, it`s out of genuine interest rather than because it`s expected.

In my current work, I`m finding it easy to be friendly with people without being over-familiar, for various reasons. I`m now moving back to a set-up where I`ll be sitting within a team of other women who are all doing the same job, and who I was told are very supportive of one another in relation to work and personal lives. Sounds very pleasant, but part of me feels anxious. I really don`t want facebook any more. If the topic comes up, I may feel I`ll have to add people, but I will probably say right from the start that I`m a very unrewarding friend over there, because I`m never on, and then ensure I`ll stick to that.

After all, I never met anyone who was regarded or included any less within work beause s/he was not connected on facebook. If anything, the opposite.

 

 

 

Facebook: More on Befriending Co-workers (Part I)

Last year, while I was settling into my last job, I wrote this blog about becoming facebook friends with work colleagues.

How did I do between then and (soon) leaving my second job since I resolved not to link in with co-workers any more?

I never added anyone from my last job until I left, when I requested the girl I wrote about in the blog. We still interact there on a superficial basis, and occasionally chat about joint interests, but, as expected, she did not react on my hint re meeting up.

In my current job, I said quite early on I do not add colleagues on facebook. This felt appropriate as facebook has caused, and is still causing, trouble (of several kinds), and our managers actively discouraged my young colleague from linking in with colleagues.

In February, I added one of our agency workers, who I already knew from my last job. One day, she suggested linking me something via Facebook, we friended each other, and that same night, we found ourselves playing old music to each other and laughing so much that she immediately got her reputation with my other half. Most interactions we have there are still PNs, including about private things, which we would never make time to discuss at work. Facebook did bring us closer, but what irritates me is that I now get friends suggestions of other agency workers who, in turn, may see me and my holiday snaps (my Instagram shares are public, but of course, this is my choice which I know how to fix).

In March, I proceeded to add my room mate. We didn`t have the best of starts, but had already improved, and that day, we really bonded and laughed a lot, which felt special enough to share this on facebook with her tagged in. I noticed that she was linked with other colleagues, too, but none too close to me, so no pressure to request them, too. (One requested me, which I did not react to and which she never mentioned offline.) What however irritated me was that she is linked to the girl whom I`m providing maternity cover for, and they sometimes talked via comments about her coming back and how much they were both looking forward to this. As if she had forgotten that I was reading. Sadly, our relationship deteriorated again after my room mate resigned, and I knew for a fact that a particular complaint had been dealt with when I found myself not only deleted, but actually blocked. I was fine with the deletion, but the blocking, I perceived as a, work related, act of aggression. Much to my own surprise, it bothered me, and I felt childish when I spoke out and was reminded of how silly and overrated facebook is. Her leaving do was also being organised on facebook, and by being deleted, I suddenly found myself un-invited to something I was already “coming” to, which I found humiliating in front of other colleagues, who (at least from me) knew nothing about our difficulties. She, overall, wasn`t a good experience at all on facebook either.

A couple of months ago, I met an old colleague in headoffice – it was her first day with us, and although we never got close in our old work, we had a really nice chat, and I spontaneously said I`ll request you on Facebook. I did, but she never accepted me, which is okay. We really don`t have much in common, and this was the first and only warm conversation we ever had. I`m actually glad she didn`t. I think she posts a lot about her kids, who are both about 20.

The one colleague, who is extremely special, is not on facebook (any more), and, rather than being disappointed, I found that he rose in my esteem, probably because by separating himself from facebook, he also separated himself from everything that annoys me there.  I almost felt silly admitting that I`m still on it. In some way, “no facebook” makes our relationship feel more special – we don`t need it, and an occasional text, just for you or me, feels so much more personal than a broadcast or comment on social media. The importance of “no facebook” really stroke me when he announced he was leaving, and we spoke about what this would mean for our friendship. Never mind how deeply moved we both were when we agreed that we wanted to keep in touch and that this should include actually meeting again, rather than just texting a few more times – with facebook, we probably wouldn`t even have had this conversation. It wouldn`t have felt necessary, because who you have “got” on facebook, will never really go away, or so it feels, at least.

(to be continued…)

 

 

What Do You Say After You Say Hello?

“When Mike first meets Pat (in the first 10 seconds or at most 10 minutes after they first set eyes on each other) Mike`s Child senses exactly what Pat`s Child is up to.

Since the Parent is older and presumably wiser in some ways than his offspring, it is his duty and responsibility to control his Parental behaviour. Only if he brings his Parent under control of his Adult can he accomplish this.”

Eric Berne, What do You Say after You Say Hello

on Cognitive Distortions and Hint Giving

A couple of years ago, I had a course of psychotherapy. After lostcountofhowmany let downs, disappointments, losses and betrayals I wasn`t coping at all with life in general and becoming increasingly paranoid, always expecting the worst. Never mind the stigma – I`ll be forever grateful that I chose therapy instead of medication (or alcohol, for that matter).

I learnt loads about cognitive distortions (great link – check it out!!) and how to deal with them, and while I, of course, was able to practice this particularly well under the supervision of my therapist, I continued to apply my new skills after the sessions had finished.

One which is particularly relevant to me is reading too much into (interpersonal) things, then behaving as if my assumptions were true and thus creating a negative outcome that`s caused by my reaction rather than the initial situation. While I`m still tending to try too hard to make sense of other people`s behaviour, I`m now also able to pull myself back sometimes.

There was one particular situation where I had to work extremely hard at behaving not only as if my negative assumptions weren`t true but also as if I did not have them. In the end however, it turned out that what I was thinking had indeed been true on this occasion. Someone was throwing me (albeit weak and non-committal) hints, and I behaved as if I did not understand them, carrying on causing drama because I refused to see the signs.

“So did your therapy not cover that?” asked my husband later. “how to recover from the disappointment of a real problem? How to deal with things when, by applying her techniques, you actually made it worse? For life isn`t always a bed of roses, and you cannot always influence other people!”

No, she never covered that. And I don`t think the problem was so much my own behaviour, but my (former) friend`s evasiveness. To most Brits, giving hints only seems kinder than being upfront (also to oneself, as you save yourself the discussion) about bad news, but you have to be clear that the hints are understood, or at least be clearer when asked.

Could I have influenced the situation? No. I`d have saved myself a lot of embarrassment (and maybe preserved a friendship that obviously wasn`t what I thought it was) if I had acted upon the hints, but I`d also forever have asked myself: And what if the assumption I was acting on was not true after all?

Lord for sale!

Were talking about this again today…

Albeit rather bewilderedly, I can now claim to know someone who has apparently purchased a title of nobility. Or, as someone suggested, simply changed his Christian name to “Lord”, so it didn`t cost him anything. Although it only costs £195.oo to become a Lord, Earl, Duke, Sir or Viscount.

The product is advertised to people who seek to increase their social status, and some claim to have received free upgrades on flights, in hotels and restaurants, but some reviewers also bought a title for other people, as a special, funny or romantic gift.

Hm. I wonder how “real” nobility feels about this…

Me and my Hoarder

Me: This set of cutlery is missing two knives and one spoons. I`d like to get rid of it and get out the nice set – the one which is in the box, in the cupboard…

My hoarder (alarmed!): Tthat`s the GOOD one!!

Me: Yes, I know.

My hoarder (looks at me in disbelief): So…

Me (saw it coming and was ready for it): Before you say no, can I ask you something?

My hoarder: Sure…

Me: When did you get the good set?

My hoarder: My wedding. The first one.

Me: How long ago was that?

My hoarder (eventually): 46 years ago.

Me: And who gave you the good cutlery set?

My hoarder: Cannae remember.

Me: But what do you think they wanted you to do with it?

My hoarder (laughs)

Me: Keep it in a cupboard for 46 years because it`s too good to use? Like – till you drop?

My hoarder (laughs harder)

Me: Or did they want you to use and enjoy it?

My hoarder (howling, unable to answer)

So I take it that`s a yes. He can come round, which is why we are compatible, after all…

 

 

Please Praise the Chef! and: A Restaurant Review

Last night, we`ve been to Dal Patino again, a new and wonderful Italian Restaurant, which recently opened here in Musselburgh.

Up until that day, we had two Italians (a quite down to earth one which specialises in pizza and pasta, and a very swanky one which we can`t afford to eat at regularly). Dal Patino is a small family run restaurant, which finally managed to close the gap and offer something to people like us, who like nice food in a nice ambience, but don`t want to have to keep this for special occasions.

We were walking past by pure chance a couple of weeks ago, peckish and talking about what to have for dinner, when my other half spontanesously suggested to go in and give it a try.

I had grilled sea bass (two fillets!!) with so much on the side that I would have foregone my obligatory side salad, if only I had known. Apart from more salad, potatoes and a whole twig of grilled tomatoes with herbs, there was a large vegetable cake that was so delicious I pointed this out to the waiter and asked what was in it.

image

Just a few weeks prior, I had a rather interesting discussion with the chef at my work, and we concluded that people like me are more likely to speak up if they want to complain about food rather than praise it, and therefore, by default, people like him are more likely to hear comlaints rather than praise about their work, which they usually do with a lot of love and passion (This particular conversation was about a lady who had particular dietary wishes, had something special made for her twice a day and liked neither.). After this chat, I promised to myself to really make waves the next time I ate out and found something oustanding. And this vegetable cake sure was.

 The place is small and the waiter waved to the chef (open kitchen), whose face almost split with a grin that went from one ear to the other. He told me a wee bit of what was in it and seemed happy when I said I could eat those cold as well, and they should sell them at lunch time to take away.

Anyhow, with the bill came a brown bag, and guess what was in it:

For me. Just like that. 🙂

I looked over the waiter`s shoulder nd saw the chef waving. Really made my day, and then again the next morning when I had those cold, for breakfast.

When we came back yesterday, we were greeted like old friends, and once again, served a dinner which was both delicious and incredibly photogenic:

imageimageimage

Anyway, bottom line is: Please could you praise the chef. You`ll make for a nice change. 🙂

I just Sold my First Photograph!!

imageimageYes – indeed: about a year or so after I started to really get into my photography (and sporadically publish them in various places online), someone has now paid money to get a license for my … smartphone photo of jellybeans…

Right now, I`m feeling really proud and accomplished, and I don`t care that I`m only getting a tiny cut, but the sheer fact that someone just paid at least £50.oo for my photo, my creativity, my… artwork, feels just amazing!!

17264837_10154498338511235_4494953283047923742_n

I remember the story of that picture well.

I took it during my first face-to-face tutorial with the Open University, which took place in a hotel near Haymarket Train Station in Edinburgh last February. On our tables were, besides pen, paper and water, jelly beans. The young latecomer who sat beside me laughed as, before even eating a single one of them, I grabbed my smartphone (a Samsung Galaxy S 6 Edge) and photographed them from all angles. That`s when she decided she needed to get to know me, because she likes wacky people. We ended up going to the bus together, and on the journey home, I applied various filters to the best pic and uploaded it to both Instagram and EyeEm.

It was in May when I got an automated email from EyeEm saying that the photo had been selected for their Premium Collection, to be put up for sale on Getty Images. At the time, me and another friend were researching opportunities for selling photos online, and I found that most of those rather “big” sites have rather strict guidelines regarding quality. I never found mine on their site, and then forgot about it, although looked again a few months later, and it was there, beside two photos of my Siamese cat. (In fact, I had 8 pictures altogether selected for Premium Collection, but only those three published).

Anyway, on Tuesday, I got an email saying I sold it!!

The same night, I went to the birthday party of my wonderful Greek friend Mary, who sat beside me when I took the photograph! And she remembers it well, as it was the day we met and the reason she wanted to get to know me.

Aw, I`m happy, and dying to know who bought it and what for…

Valentine`s Day

Every year on this day, I inevitably think of a poem I found on Gumtree (…) a few years ago. It wasn`t until some 2 months later that I found it, but it was written on Valentine`s Day my first day in my new job 14 February. It wasn`t particulary well written, which added to its charme, but it was the content that struck a cord:

It was from a guy who had a secret crush at work, and he was tormented by the fact that he didn`t manage to tell her (Oh yes, he did. On my leaving night. Drunk.). She didn`t seem to notice him at all, and if she at all did, he was worried that she would think of him as a guy who didn`t care, for that`s how he acted. Now, she had just left for another job, without ever getting to know.

Life is funny sometimes and the move only internal. Fast forward – the same guy (don`t ask… there were a couple of very… identifying bits in it), was working side by side with me again. Nothing was ever said, and then it was him who was about to leave. He was still there, when our temp, totally out of the blue, asked me if I liked him.

I think the world of him, I said.

And have you ever told him?

No.

Why not?

Why should I? It`s not something you generally say at work, and he should know by my actions, anyway.

Maybe, she said. But sometimes, it`s good to hear, too.

And so I went and told him. I said I think the world of you, and I`ll miss you very much.

It felt good.