In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Worst Case Scenario.”
Most of the time the worst thing that could happen to me is what I imagine would happen to me if I met so-and-so. I have a long list of s0- and – so’s to avoid so I live under a constant panic about how and whom to avoid. It has gotten to such a state that I have forgotten why I want to avoid certain so-and-sos but I’m conditioned to avoid them.
A long time ago, my husband was on my ” to avoid” list especially after he proposed to me when I was 19 and still in college. I was so embarrassed and constantly worried about how I might be his intern when I started my housemanship( he was a fellow then). I spent sleepless nights wondering how I might avoid catastrophe for everyone knew a smooth internship depended largely on the fellow you were posted with. Omigosh!
These days it is my previous workplace fellow mates- I constantly pray I don’t have to meet them at malls, or in public places I go to. Another time I was avoiding my boss.It seems my entire life is spent avoiding people or planning tactics about how to avoid people.
Now for the best- as you can see, I always keep the best for the end.
My best would be if I got a job in a prestigious medical school near here ( so I could get out of administration) and work in my own speciality. The job would be highly paying and my colleagues would be congenial and very professional- even more ethical and principled than I am. I would be able to write a lot of papers and would become a speaker of repute. Above all, I would be a doctor again and be able to minister to people.
But I am now employed in a university which is close to the place where I really want to work- so it looks like I am getting there- things could be worse.
If only wishes were horses——- !
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Wall to Wall.”
My walls at home are bare- in my room that is. I am not a picture person and moreover, I do not know how to nail pictures into walls. My walls are made of concrete and require hard drilling in order to make a hole.Moreover I live in a home provided by the government which I would not like to desecrate with nail holes.
Given the chance I would like to decorate my walls with inspirational teachings, good lessons for life from great people or from ordinary people, daily planners, lists and the like.
I am not fond of pictures or photos as they bring back memories and I do not like to hang on to memories. Memories remind me of the life I have left behind and what I cannot have once more.
Time moves on.
About 2 weeks back Sunday, I went to a small country church at home. It has been ages since I attended a service there. It is the church to which my husband’s family goes- so I have been there but rarely. So I do not have any memories of this church.
This day was different. For one thing, both my daughters were with me and my mother in law too. My husband had not travelled with us, so he could not attend.
The one thing that I could remember was the light- there was so much of light pouring in through the large open windows- a dose of healthy sunshine pouring in . I sat near the window in the ornate pew and stretched out, basking in the sunshine.
Men and women sit separately in this church. I had almost forgotten that it was this way, as it had been so long. Women seated in front of me and behind me tried to talk and make friends, both before the service and after. They asked me ” who I was”, ” with whom I had come”, ” who were my relatives in the church” and so on. So many questions but I didn’t find any of them funny or odd or even intruding. In fact, I thought of them as quaint- as quaint as the church itself.
Today I suddenly thought back on my experience with fondness. I was reminded of my old church that I used to attend with my grandparents when they were well and alive. It was a long walk over hills and valleys, visiting relatives on the way to church, that made Sunday mornings so exciting there.
I don’t like to visit old memories any more – because my grandparents are no longer alive. Perhaps the old church is still there but my grandparents’ aren’t. I think often of them but am saddened. I know I will meet them someday, but sometimes it seems as though that day is so far away !
Today’s Assignment: publish a post you’d like your ideal audience member to read, and include a new-to-you element in it.
I would like you to read this letter, so you can understand more about me. I’m sure you must have thought me peculiar while I was with you- that is the way it often is . Let me tell you a bit more about me and perhaps you will be able to understand me from my perspective.
I came to work with you about 8 years back, a novice at administration and office work. I came from a background in medicine where the patient is foremost and nothing else matters other than his care. II found that respecting and following orders from a person who has been working there from the time of inception of the office is paramount to everything else, including customer care. I must admit I have found that difficult to accept and this has been the cause of much conflict between me and the powers-that- be.
In medicine, professional ethics and medical ethics is very important and at the back of every health care provider’s mind. In our office( or perhaps I should say, the office, because I no longer belong), what matters most is petty office politics and buttering up the person who might be boss at that time. I found that I had to spend more time in polishing my social skills and visiting my neighbours in office more than my work. In fact, doing work and being professional is considered taboo here. Because the minute some one starts doing work and becomes productive, comparisons are likely to be made with other office staff and of course, performance appraisals will reflect different appraisal ratings, rather than the standard ratings of 3/5 to which every one is accustomed.
During meetings gathered to discuss the risk and benefits of research on human subject participants, discussions are likely to deviate from the agenda and lead on to personalities of the people who dared to think differently and question the way approvals are provided to research. Again the bigger picture of patient safety and patient benefit is lost in the discussions or arguments about getting researches in which members have an interest in, getting approved. I have tried to keep the discussions focused and trying to take the patients’ side because of my medical background but it has not gone well on many occasions.
I have learnt a lot from working in your team- how to create politics out of nothing, how to not work and idle time away during the working day but yet give the appearance of being hard working by grabbing more talk time during meetings, how to get promotions by playing one’s cards intelligently but calculatingly and how to simply be ‘unethical”.
After my voluntary retirement, I have once again come in touch with my inner self and my true human being- I realised I was putting up a facade while I was there. I am myself once again. Thank you for making me realise and be thankful for the small mercies in my life- to be happy where I was( at home), with my family, for giving me the opportunity to be able to work at home in peace, for making me realise my writing muse and for being a better me.
I hope you provide other workers good experiences in their lives’.
I have learnt how to behave better with my fellow human beings and with situations thanks to the office.
PS : i sometimes wish I was back there but then I think of the huge personal toll it would take and I back off.
Susie Shy- that introverted blogger- trying to say hello to the neighbours. This is a difficult task for me. With my advancing years, I find it all the more difficult to meet new people and introduce myself to them. At the back of my mind, lingers the thought that perhaps I’m making a fool of myself .
It was not always like this- when I was younger, I could head off and talk to people like nobody’s business. Things changed when I went to college and I found out that in my college, there was a tradition for newcomers to be seen rather than heard. This hampered my speaking abilities. Ever since I have had it difficult to talk to new people.
My neighbours are a Middle Eastern : Russian couple, who have been there for at least the 10 years that I have been here. Last year, they had a little baby-so I was forced to go say hello and meet the newcomer.
It took me several days of planning and plotting to decide how to do it. I thought I would do it alone but when my daughter came to know of my plans ( she is 15), she wanted to come too. So the two of us made our plans.
Days of watching and observing made us conclude that ever since the couple had their new baby and with 3 other children to care for, with no domestic help, they were ordering a lot of takeaway. ( aka the large number of KFC and MacDonald remains in their trash). We decided that they would appreciate a good home-cooked meal.
So we got to work. The problem was what should be on the menu. Given their unique heritage- should it be Middle Eastern or Russian or just plain Susie Shy stuff. I decided to go with Susie Shy stuff- things I know how to make well.
So it was that I decided to fry home made bread in hot oil ( one of the delicacies I know how to make) and combine it with a hot mash of delicately flavoured and spiced potatoes. “Yummy! ” My daughter said, as she sampled some of it. It was hot but tasty.
For the sweet at the end of the meal, we decided to bake doughnuts and ice it as we knew how. So the dough was made and doughnuts shaped and baked- they turned out nice and brown. The icing was my daughter’s work. She had a talent at that sort of thing. So armed with out hot home-made food and baby clothes I had crocheted myself- we went to our neighbour’s house.
On the first knock, no one opened the door. So we knocked again. Adam, the last but one child, opened the door. He put his golden brown head out the door and his eyes went wide to see us. I imagined him looking at my food with hunger. Anyway he told me his mother was busy with the baby and could we come later.
Though disappointed, we decided to hand over the food to Adam and Ibrahim ( who had joined him at the door now) and left for our home.
A few hours later, Adam knocked at our door- we were surprised to see him. He said, ” My mum can see you now”, so we dressed up in our best but now armed only with the baby clothes, we made another trip to our neighbours.
At the door, Victoria, the mother greeted us in the fashion typical of Middle Eastern homes with a hug and kisses on both cheeks. Of course, I said” hello” and shook hands too. With the hug and the hello, we managed to communicate in spite of our different tongues and traditions.
After about a year and half, I am going back to a formal desk job tomorrow.
What do I feel like now ?
To tell you the truth, the age of feeling excited about new things has passed. All I can think of now is how I am going to reach the place and come back on wintry days. Will my cat miss me ( he has been so used to having a house- mother)?
And I will not be here to receive my daughter when she comes back from school. This worries me a little.
Why am I going back to work if I am not excited about it ? For some reason, a break in the work history on the CV is not very good for a middle aged woman. ( I don’t understand the logic of this but there it is).
And the money will be very useful of course. I could buy all the books I wanted, without borrowing money and I could have some degree of financial freedom.
I have been working even when I was off a day job. I worked at home, in the garden, looking after the cats, the kitchen and a did a lot of other housewifely chores,which will now remain status quo, till the weekend.
I learnt crochet and about yarn bombing. I started writing and also learning about writing. I have learnt quite a bit and am a fairly professional writer. So I feel confident enough to meet others and don’t feel at all as though I have taken a break.
Nevertheless it will be a new day and a new life tomorrow.
What are the reasons women want to work ? Do they have second thoughts often and think of the life they might have had, had they chosen to remain home makers? Isn’t a home maker’s life satisfying enough? Doesn’t she get the appreciation she deserves at home ?
Please share your views.
This article has been written by Timothy Pike owner of the http://www.dreamplaywrite.com/ blog, as a guest post.
Rejection was the subject of one of my “http://www.dreamplaywrite.com/podcast“recent podcast episodes. The podcast is based on my “http://www.dreamplaywrite.com/commitments” 6 Simple, Daily Commitments That Will Change Your Life (And Fuel Your Writing!), and since one of the Commitments involves knowing yourself, it’s worth examining the feelings produced by being rejected.
First of all, rejection is not really rejection. It’s simply someone telling you, “What you’ve given me is not exactly what I need at this time.”
It has nothing to do with whether it’s good or not. And if the agent does take the time to list some areas that need improvement, that’s even better;that could be your cue to send it in again, after making the suggested changes.
What you have to understand is that the needs of agents and publishers are extremely specific. Agents know their markets well. They know what they can sell, and to whom. So they’re not looking for just anything; no matter how good it is. In certain cases, you may very well have sent the right thing to the wrong agent.
Here’s another way of looking at rejection: it makes you stronger. “http://www.dreamplaywrite.com/bookstore/stephen-king“
Stephen King was rejected thirty times for his novel “http://www.dreamplaywrite.com/bookstore/stephen-king/carrie“.
In fact, he got so discouraged, he threw the manuscript in the wastebasket and his wife had to dig it out and encourage him to keep going.
A writer made a comment on “http://www.dreamplaywrite.com/blog“
recently, lamenting that he had sent out no fewer than twenty-five query letters to agents about his new book, and didn’t hear back from a single one. He seemed about to give up. Twenty-five! I didn’t want to break the news to him that he had about seventy-five more to go until he had any room at all to complain.
Now you see how rejection can weed out the weak: Stephen King, one of the most famous and successful authors of our time, got more rejections than the total number of query letters, this other person even sent out.
Rejection is an inevitable part of a writer’s life. So take heart, and redouble your efforts. Start a collection; frame rejection letters and hang them on your wall. Make light of it and embrace it. After all, the more you do something you’re afraid of, the less it affects you. Remember, the most successful writers are the ones who took rejection again and again, each time getting up back up and saying, “Thank you, sir, may I have another?”
Timothy Pike is the host of a “http://www.dreamplaywrite.com/podcast“
daily audio program and recently launched the “http://www.dreamplaywrite.com/challenge“
12-Month Author Challenge, which challenges writers to write, edit, and self-publish their books in 12 months or less.