So much for clever hacks…

Aaaaahhhhcrap, it’s only the third day I’ve tried to use my Unideal Industrial Landing for napping, and I straight-up got caught. Maintenance guys with toolboxes just stormed right up there, and I heard them in enough time to stand up and be holding my mat — they gave me the eye and said “catching a little workout, eh?” and I said “Why yes, yes I am, done now kthxbai” and fled — they obviously weren’t happy, and would have, I sense, be even less happy to know that I was sleeping (or well, had planned to).

It’s warm today, and I’m TIRED — I did good this weekend getting my sleep properly, which means I need my naps or I’m going to crash hard…sigh here we are again…but f it, I’m going to leave and try sleeping in the car, since I need to move my napping gear out of that landing now anyway, I think.

UGH I HATE YOU, OFFICE WORLD. This job is so legit hard in so many ways, and I can’t even with this doing it exhausted all the time, and feeling too hammered whenever I’m not working to do much else…worst three weeks ever, since I started this gig. But I’ve probably complained about all of this enough, so I’ll stop how. …I won’t lie though, I could kinda cry. After getting my naps this weekend, I was finally starting to feel human again, and then here I am right back at square Ugh.

The sleep gods have got to have a bone to throw me here soon, darn it.

[Pictured: The landing that seemed like my best sleep option…but clearly wasn’t. Back to the yawning board.]

photo

[UPDATE: Ok so, thanks to it being an extremely warm day (almost 60F!), and me being extremely tired and fed-up with the world, I was able to catch some Z’s in the car — not a great or full nap, but I feel better, and thankfully I get another one at 4 — shortening up my afternoon breaks-between-sleep was wise, I think. I also walked past a taxi stand and saw a driver totally napping in HIS car, and that made me feel a little less alone in all this. :) Anyway, sorry for all the kvetching lately; and yay, I’m not off-new-schedule!]

Posted in polyphasic sleep | 1 Comment

In fact, I don’t actually *like* sleeping on dirty floors.

PRO TIP: When carrying what is obviously a pillow, blanket and yoga-mat through an office park, just keep your chin up and roll your eyes at anybody who looks at you inquisitively, like they’re a dumbass for not realizing how this is normal.

Which, frankly, is kinda true.

Man, I am SICK of fighting this world to be able to sleep. It’s not like my sleep-requirements are odious, like I want, like, 14 hours of sleep at least six of which falls between noon and dinnertime. I want HALF the sleep most people get, and I need less of it during the day than most people take time out for food, again, by half.

And yet. Here I sit again, having smuggled in a blanket, down to my fourth-best-seeming sleep option because this office, in both architecture and culture, is mean as hell to sleep.

Also, I just want to say, I’ve been a professional techperson a long time. When I was 22, I had an office of my own, and while I’ve been steadily promoted since, at every job my chances of having a nice place to work get slimmer. This is the most responsibility I’ve ever had at a job — any more promotions and I’d be a serious executive (EEEK NO NO NO) — and I work at a dismal Ikea table in the corner of an empty room with mandatory fluorescent lighting and three other people’s tables. Put simply, offices have gone to SHIT. And while most of them maintain at least the basic accouterments of eating, and some even pay more attention to their eating-space than their workspaces, approximately zero have done anything to consider making periods of physical rest possible. Hell, if your ergonomic setup isn’t outright killing you, you’re supposed to be grateful. (They’ve offered to get me a better table. YAY THANKS.)

I’ll upload a picture of my napping spot when I can, because it’s hilarious, I’m literally hiding out like a criminal. Think “dead end cement-floored landing at the top of an unused stairwell”. THE LUXURY OF CORPORATE AMERICA.

OK, I’m a tad bitter. Finding this job was brutal, and I haven’t been here a month and man, do I have CONCERNS. Some of them are standard “man, corporations in this country suck ass” type concerns, and some are obviously sleeping-specific because shoot me, sleep happens to matter to me; and some of them are more lofty, I-believe-in-good-tech-and-am-not-impressed-with-upper-management type concerns…and the latter, more than anything, are a real threat to my being able to stay here. I’m great at my job, but there is no being skilled enough to do a good job as a tech manager when you’re standing in opposition to the people you’re supposed to be making happy (who are not the same people as the ones YOU think you should be making happy…).

Anyway.

Since I finally recovered from the torture that was the first week of traveling and being outright forced to not sleep, and finally found a napping spot after 2 weeks of miserably trying to make a cold car work on a tight schedule (nope), and that whole time I’ve been somewhere between “lagging a bit” and “involuntarily passing out for hours at a time” … I guess now it’s time to try and figure out a sleep-schedule that works with this, frankly, shitty schedule.

Here we go…again.

I can’t really sleep earlier than noon, more realistically 1pm, and I have to be at work by 7am. So waking up at 4 is problematic — it gives me 7-8 hours awake, and I really prefer to not have it be longer than 6 hours, 7 at the absolute outside (which means not-flexing-past-7).

So far I’ve been addressing this by sleeping from ~2-5 (usually beginning an hour or so earlier, because my naps have been getting shredded by work, and if I don’t get at least 2 good naps a day, I can’t live on 3h at night–shocking, I know!), then getting my first nap (or more often, missing it) around noon, then snagging another one about 4:30pm — that seems to work well — and then getting a third nap late in the evening, around 8:30-9pm. …That’s a hard time of day/night for me to wake up, and I don’t care for it right now; I miss napping around 6:30 and then staying awake until after midnight…waking up from a nap after 9 leaves me with a groggy I have a really hard time shaking.

So, unideal. Everything is unideal right now, kinda. But at least I’m starting to be able to sleep again, and at least I’m not letting the recent B.S. kill my sleep schedule outright: It did for a few weeks there, but thankfully that was SO awful that it reminded me thoroughly how unacceptable it is for me not to be able to nap. So I’ll nap in a concrete hallway in my fucking suit for now, knowing full well that if work catches me, they’re likely to be Extremely Unthrilled. But as much as I need “a job”, I need sleep — good sleep — a lot more, so they can suck it.

Now, time to switch to decaf — nap in 2h. Wish me luck.

Posted in better thinking, polyphasic sleep | 5 Comments

There’s too much to say…

…and no time to even try saying it right now, so here, watch ten thousand people sing the Ninth!

(Video cuts straight to the money shot, but definitely put on the whole thing if you have time.  I mean duh.)

Love and O.O,

PD

 

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Building under bad habits vs. knocking them down

Many bad habits, most of which sprung up in response to dealing with the "On Doing Badly" stuff, need to be reduced or eliminated from my life now, in order to proceed.

I think I'm going to choose to focus on replacing them with good things, rather than on restricting them.  They're there for a reason — in response to feelings of worthlessness, stress, and failure — and while they're not supporting me in a sustainable way, they are, in their way, a type of self-care.  Rather than knock out the poor struts I have under some parts of my self, I think I'll try to build better ones and let the old ones become less used as they're less needed.

(Related to this is this awesome TED talk, "Everything you know about addiction is wrong" — if you haven't seen it, I super highly recommend.)

Tangentially, I'm nervous af about my sleep schedule.  My first week of work involves a huge dose of travel (including huge amounts of jet-lag), and then I'll land back into a massive amount of work needing done — which hopefully will coincide with my setting up a good napping-place at work, and being nice and strict about getting my naps overall.  But stress and getting my naps don't always play well together, so I'm worried as heck.  Wish me luck.

Happy weekend, ya'll!

Posted in better thinking, polyphasic sleep | 2 Comments

“Yay, I got a job! Oh crap, time to shop for clothes!” — a story about women in suits

This is a story about shopping for clothes. No wait, it's a critical piece about women in tech.

I work the salaryman gig — like many techs with people and organizational skills, I got pushed into management early, and now in order to make money that’s worth the office grind, I do the not-quite-executive managing-tech-departments thing. (So if you're a coder or sysadmin, my job is to be your boss. And just to say it: I'm awesome at my job. I could bury you in references from people who said I was the best boss they ever had.)

I suppose I could write a lot about that, and about women in tech generally, but today I really need to get one thing about it off my chest: THE CLOTHES.

Most people probably just think I have weird taste, but my friends at some point all see how I struggle with clothes. Casual clothes are easier, both because of the clothes available (hiking pants and t-shirts forever wooo) and because of who I hang around (lovely people who DGAF).

At work though, especially once you get up above “business casual”, clothes are explicitly gendered.

And that, right up there, is the problem: Clothes are explicitly gendered. Often in utterly nonsensical ways. I’m writing this, actually, to cure the upset stomach I’m getting this morning, caused by trying to shop for a small bag to carry my planner and laptop and office-essentials around in, so I don’t have to have them and my gym clothes / survival gear / etc. all in the same heavy-ass place. And guess what? Again — again, for the millionth time — the only things I like the styling of are labeled “men’s”. Why the hell is a shoulder-bag gendered? If it's a size-difference thing, can we just please label them "shoulder bag large" and "shoulder bag small" so that I know that? Can you actually just give me relevant information, instead of looking at me and sneering, "Get over in the women's section!", even though there's nothing there I like?

I'm going to talk about how this ridiculous gendering-of-all-clothing, especially professional clothing, negatively impacts women in tech.

But first I'm going to complain my face off, because the ordeal of shopping for work-clothes is not easily recovered from, and though I've got the suits thing handled finally, it's left me snarly. Sorry, but hey, at least some of what follows is bound to be funny; so there's that.

Continue reading

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This was so dead right that I cried.

Both the single best TED talk I've ever seen, and one of the best *things* I've ever seen, period.

I want to live in a world where everyone has watched this.

 

Posted in aesthetica, better thinking, psychology | 1 Comment

Five things to never let yourself think.

I'm normally quite in favor of stretching your mind in any direction — but allowing some thoughts to exist, and especially to settle in and become habit, is downright poisonous.  

These thoughts are the harbingers of feeling and getting old, of being stuck in a rut, of allowing unhappiness and regret and dissatisfaction to run your life into the ground. Train yourself to see a giant red flag whenever any of these thoughts come up, and respond to it by jumping up and doing something, anything, different. Never ever indulge in these, in either the sense of letting them become your underlying beliefs (if they do, root them out and burn them), or letting them guide your actions.  Here be the real dragons:

1. I can't / won't do that because I'm not good at it.

The fastest way to get old, boring and miserable is to allow yourself to see the point of doing things as *product*, rather than experience. Learning new things, branching out, making art for the sake of making it, and staying happy and engaged with life all require that you do things, not even if you aren't good at them, but ESPECIALLY if you aren't good at them. You learn, grow, and feel more when you engage with things you haven't encountered, or don't have a natural aptitude for.  The more experience and aptitude you get, the more things you aren't good at you should be seeking out.  When you're a kid, finding things you aren't good at to try and work on is easy, because it's most things.  When you're older, it's imperative that you aren't shy about looking for more.

2.  Let's not go there; it's scary.

Growth is scary!  Intimacy is scary!  The unknown, which is absolutely required to improve anything, is scary!  There's a difference — a stark one — between the good-adult skill of recognizing when a risk isn't worth it (hmm, I *could* run naked down this alley with money glued to my limbs, but would that actually be a worthy trade-off?), and the death-rut of letting yourself pull back from things because they invoke feelings you don't understand or are intimidated about experiencing.  

You know what's the most terrifying thing I've ever done with my life?  Nope, not deep-water breathholding; not winter camping with no cell phone; not hanging out in Detroit; none of that.  The scariest shit I have ever beheld or put myself through was all about letting myself love, and be loved.  If I let myself think "we ain't doing this, it's scary", then my life would be lacking some of its best experiences.  All the really good things are scary.  Scary is NOT a reason to not do something:  In fact, if you're the more advanced type of grownup, it's a damn good reason to consider it.

3.  I'm too ugly to.

No you're not.  Just no.  The problem is never what you look like — never, ever, ever.  The problem, if there is one, is how comfortable, and able to love and appreciate, yourself you are.  If you ever feel too ugly to do anything, realize that it's a symptom of a problem all right — and one that has nothing to do with your face, hair, body, fat, massive scarring, missing limbs, or any of that.  

The vast majority of us get uglier as we get older.  Fortunately, many of us also learn at the same time that being ugly is the tiniest blip on importance-radar, in almost everything.  If you're really exceptionally ugly, or really exceptionally not-ugly, then this will change the dialog you get from some of the NPCs in life, at least initially.  But whether you're confident, whether you love yourself, and whether you can stick your flaws out there (because you have them now, and you'll have more later, no matter who you are), this matters in the utmost.  

As much as you can, take no shit from your own brain about being ugly, and never let it convince you that your looks make the difference between whether you can do a thing or not.  Whatever you're doing, at any age, your attitude and your degree of self-love matter a million times more.  (And yes, I also mean sexy things.  I have personally seen many an older, technically-ugly person rock the shit out of a highly sexualized activity while a visually-beautiful person had all their spark snuffed by self-doubt.  Sexiness, as most people learn at some point (though some too late), has very little to do with what you look like.  The eyes are one sense among many that come into, well, play.  :D)

4.  I'm full.

I don't mean of food — I mean of experiences, knowledge, and living.  I often wonder if the injunctions against gluttony in Western religious traditions are in some way related to, or a misinterpretation of, the injunctions in Eastern religions (where, you know, Fat Buddha is a thing) against being "too full" for life to give you anything.  (Watch this scene from the Forbidden Kingdom if this concept is not familiar.)  People who feel like they have nothing left to learn are, frankly, dead already.  And I'm not ashamed to admit that adults who give off this vibe — it's getting easier and easier to find them at my own age, especially in ye olde professional realm — scare the shit out of me.  "I'm done; I've finished (whether interpreted as having won or lost); life has nothing more to teach me here" is one of the most corrosive thought-patterns to everything good I've ever seen in the world….::shudder::

5.  I get it.

This is the "nothing new under the sun" problem.  It's related to the last one, because it's a type of declaring "nope, I'm full"; only it's a bit different, because it's even more arrogant and destructive.  Instead of just declaring "life has nothing more to teach me", you're declaring, "there is nothing more; I am not only full myself, but I am full of all there is, and there is nothing more to this topic than that which I already know".  Often the resulting emotion in this case is despair — because what else could you feel, if you really believed that you'd done and thought and experienced everything there was to do in the realm of love, or adventure, or whatever?  

I don't feel like I need to necessarily argue that anyone stuck on this type of thinking is wrong — if you're not stuck in it yourself, that seems obvious.  But even though it's obvious that it's not true when you aren't feeling it, it can be deadly when you are, so again, please add it to your list of things-that-throw-a-giant-red-flag-and-should-be-killed-immediately.  

Happy new year and whatnot, ya'll.  Hopefully all these useful thoughts I'm having will help me pull myself up and set a good path forward in the wake of this incredibly challenging couple months.  Good luck to all of us!

Posted in better thinking | 2 Comments