Ask Yourself Why?

This fascinating presentation by the South American business man and entrepreneur Ricardo Semler asks a lot of great questions about work, life, and what it’s all about (it’s also pretty funny too!).
 


 
It certainly gave me a lot to think about.

I had an interesting chat today with a guy I used to work with a couple of years ago. We both spent a long time at the same company, and we were both generally (but not specifically) miserable for a great number of those years.

As with all these things, it’s only once you get away and look back do you realise just how unhappy you were, and you wonder why you put up with it for so long?

Thinking about it, it occurred to me it’s like the frog in a pan of water on a low heat. Turn the heat up slowly and frog will boil to death before he even realises what’s going on. But try to toss him into some already boiling water and he’ll jump straight out again!

So it is with unhappy situations. The really terrible ones are so shocking we escape from them immediately. The truly nasty, pernicious ones worm there way deep down inside us without us even realising it (often until we explode and don’t understand why?).

I got out by choice, training as a yoga teacher and then going traveling round the world. One of the best decisions I ever made. My friend had a little less of a choice about his exit, which made it a much harder and more painful experience for him.

But looking back now he truly believes it was the best thing that could have happened to him (work-wise, at least). He’s happier now, he’s about to embark upon his own business venture, and to quote him directly, he feels that “…a great weight has been lifted from [his] shoulders.”

Change can be hard, especially when it’s not by choice, but if we can take that change, build on it, and come out the other end with something that benefits us, then it makes it all worthwhile.

That’s what I think anyway. 🙂

It’s All Coming Together, Man

As I’ve mentioned already, I am now officially unemployed. I celebrated this by having a purge. I deleted a load of numbers from my phone that I haven’t used in ages, or will never use ever again. If you’ve never done it before I highly recommend it. It’s very cathartic. I started doing it when I lost my phone ages ago, and so lost all those numbers I used to call but who didn’t call me. At the time I thought it was a tragedy, but then I realised what a blessing it was. It freed me of all those old relationships that weren’t working, and allowed me to concentrate on the ones that do (if a relationship is working you’ll have other ways of getting in touch with them). It was such a liberating experience I do it on a regular basis now, deleting the chaff and just keeping the wheat. Definitely keeps things in order, just how I like ’em.

my ticket(s) to ride

The planning is finally starting to gather pace now. Yesterday I booked my tickets for the round the world flights, then I went online and did my visa applications for America and Australia. Today I book the storage, go buy a backpack, book a B&B plus the meditation in San Francisco, and I start to pack ready for the big move.

For those that are interested (and who isn’t?) I got the flights round the world for £1431:00. I go LON-SFO/LAX-SYD(PER)SYD-SIN/SIN-LON. That’s London to San Francisco, overland to Los Angeles, then L.A. to Sydney, a single to Perth, overland back to Sydney (eventually) Sydney to Singapore, and Singapore to London. Of course I’ll be doing stuff in between (I’ll let you know when the detailed itinerary is up on Yoga Bum) but you get the gist of it.

I was surprised to get the flights so cheap (and they’re good flights too! None of that early morning/late night crap) but what really surprised me was how expensive the insurance was. For 1 year it’s £515. I don’t buy insurance normally, so that seems a lot to me, especially compared to the flights. Apparently it’s because of the American leg of my trip. I shouldn’t be surprised, but still it is a shame, especially having to pay so much for something you may never use.

I’m officially excited about going away now. I actually danced a bit when I got back to the flat with my tickets. And then last night, as I went to bed, I caught myself singing (La Bamba for some reason?). These are not things I normally do (at least not just before bed!). I guess you could say I’m looking forward to starting my adventure.

Officially Unemployed

Well, it’s been a long time coming, but I am now officially unemployed.

The last 2 months have been tedious to say the least. I had to give 2 months notice because my job is so specialist. Allegedly they are meant to use that extra time to find and train my replacement. They didn’t. So I had to suffer work for an extra month for nothing.

And suffer I did. I used to like my job because it was you, on your own in a room, just getting on with things. No other people to contend with, no one else to fuck up but yourself, singular intention and no distractions. Somewhere along the way all that changed.

Being stuck in a room having to listen to other people bitch and moan about this, that and the other; having to listen to their endless repetition of bad jokes; having to deal with their lazy, ignorant mistakes; this is not my idea of heaven.

And the politics, my God! The endless politics. And very little of it real or reasonable in any way. Even on my last day people were trying to drag me into stuff, even though I studiously avoid that kind of thing as much as possible. They even asked me how I stay out of it all. “By not having conversations like this,” I thought.

But it’s all over now. There’s just a wee leaving do thing to get through on Monday (there’s even politics involved in who is coming to that apparently, and it’s stressing me out to the point where I’m thinking it’d be easier not to go!) and then I don’t have to think about work ever again.

I’m so over working for other people. It’s my idea of hell. From now on it’s just me, myself and I.

Last… Night Shift… EVER!!!

It is with joy in my heart and a skip in my slightly weary step that I announce the last ever time I will work right through the night.

night buses in Hong Kong

Night shifts suck! This probably comes as no surprise to most people. But the really sucky thing about them is how detrimental to your health they are. Staying up all night, eating when your body should be resting, not getting to see the sunlight for days on end, all of these things are bad for you. Doing them all at the same time, doubly so.

That’s why I’m well chuffed that, after last night, I never have to do them ever again. And it’s just the thought of having to go back and do more night shifts that make me even more determined to succeed in whatever I choose to do from here on in. I don’t know where my fame and fortune may lie, but I do know that whatever I do do will involve me making my own hours, enjoying what I do for a living, and never, ever, EVER having to work under someone I’m smarter than or who gets to tell me what to do just coz he owns the company (that’ll be my job from now on, hehehe ;)).

From now on I work for me, and I decide my hours, and where I work, and on what, and with who, and how much holiday I get. I’ve tried the working hard for other people thing, and I did ok at it, but it’s utterly unfulfilling. From now on I’m going for job satisfaction, and if I can make a butt load of money along the way well then so be it. 🙂

NB: My car passed it’s MOT, thank Jebus. One less thing I have to worry about.

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

So it’s probably time for an update on the big plan to change my life.

day 29 - international kiki day

I’ve heard back from Austria and, all being well, I should be fine for staying on there after my TTC (Teacher Training Course). I’ve sent the application anyway, so now it’s just a question of seeing how both sides feel during the TTC. I want to stay for 8 weeks, doing 8 hours of karma yoga (work) a day. That shouldn’t change, I don’t anticipate any problems, but you never know. I’ll be booking my flight back for the 25th of November anyway.

After that I’m going to start making my way round the world. I think maybe 3 weeks in California (San Francisco), with one of those weeks on silent meditative retreat at a cabin in the woods.

Then it’s off to Oz on about the 19th/20th December to spend Christmas at my boyo’s place near Perth. Stick around there until the new year, then head east. See some friends, chill out a bit, find some retreat to go to. 2013 is where the plan gets ultra vague.

the warlock of firetop mountain

I’m not getting too stressed about organising the after Austria part of the plan. That’s just stuff I can book, so there’s nothing needs doing on that apart from laying down the cash. I might not even book it until I come back from Austria. In fact I won’t unless there’s significant savings to be had. That’s something I need to check out this week.

Been delayed in my planning because of work. On the last of my night shifts this week and, man, is it tiring! I mean they were hard enough before, but now I know I’m leaving I can barely keep my eyes open. I just want them over with.

Got just two more to do, then 2 weeks of mid shifts (7 shifts, 11am-11pm), and that’s me done. I finish on the 23rd of August, which gives me 1 week to pack, move, dispose of my car oop norf, before jetting off to the Alps for 3 months. Crazy huh? Been planning this Brand New Life for ages and now it’s finally happening!

I don’t know what the future will bring (who does) but I look forward to finding out. Just 27 days to go and the adventure begins! Wish me luck. 😀

Countdown To Unemployment

Man, I can’t wait to quit TV work for good!

To keep track of how long I’ve got left before my freedom kicks in I’ve created my very own

Countdown To Unemployment!

 
(click on it to check it out)

How’s that for a visceral reminder of how long you’ve got left to go? Just what you need to get you through the remaining (currently 26 working) days you have left. 🙂

Plans Within Plans

Ok, so I wasn’t going to blog about what I’m up to until I’d sorted myself out, but then I realised that I’m never going to sort myself out properly (if I haven’t in 38 years I’m unlikely to do it in a few weeks now am I!) so I may as well get down to it. Here’s where I’ve got to so far.

First up, I handed my notice in at work last week. Was a bit of an anti-climax if I’m honest. Maybe it’s because my trip is still 2 months away, maybe it’s because my leaving was the worst kept secret in the whole department, but there was no drama to the whole thing. Just a feeling of steady inevitability. Who knows, maybe I’m maturing (unlikely, lol). Anyway, I guess I shouldn’t complain. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of dramas along the way before the year is out.

So I finish work at the end of August. I’ve told the landlord that I’m moving out. Just need to sort out storage of all my stuff, and the ending of all contracts/services/etc., and I’m good to go. The TTC is booked for September. No flights booked yet, that’s next on the agenda, but I can’t do that until I know what I’m doing after Austria.

The ashram in Canada is proving most elusive. I’ve tried e-mailing (no response) and I’ve tried calling, but the woman I spoke to was new and so completely unable to help me. I was getting frustrated, but then I thought maybe there’s a reason for it. Maybe I’m not meant to go to the ashram. And do I want to anyway, stuck in the Laurentian Mountains during a Canadian winter? So I’ve changed tack slightly. Just e-mailed the Sivananda yoga centre in Toronto to see if they need someone for 8 weeks starting in October. Just waiting to see what they say now.

Still plan on hitting Oz in December. Not sure the dates yet, but I’ll start off in the east, heading west towards the end of the month to spend Christmas at my boyo’s place. After that I might end up back near Sydney, I don’t know yet. 2013 is where the plan gets a bit wooly.

So that’s where I’ve got to so far. Not a lot of movement since last time, but still a general push in the right direction. It’s just the post TTC stuff I need to get sorted. Once that’s in place everything else will soon come. Also, there’s still room for a few surprises here and there (I have one of two ideas) but I’m keeping them under my hat for now.

Until next time… 😉

So… Where Was I?

Right! Regular readers out there will know I’m well past due an updated on my life changing plans and blah blah blah. Well, let’s see shall we?

the death of analogue

As I think I mentioned previously work have decided to turn down my sabbatical request. It seems that spiritual development, charity work, and visiting family overseas is insufficient reason to give someone time off. That, or they think I do a shit job and will be glad to see the back of me. Either way, see the back of me they will. If they don’t give enough of a damn to want to retain me services I’d be a damn fool to stay there, wouldn’t I.

So I’m gonna book the yoga teacher training course in Austria in September, which will cost about £2000. Quite a hunk of dough, but I can afford it. For one thing, I’ll be moving out of my flat at the end of August, and putting all my stuff into storage, so that’ll save me £5-600 quid.

morning reflections

It’s been a cosy place to live, cheap, warm, free from aggro, and it’s meant I could save a lot of money up to go do stuff with. But it’s also quite small, and a bit damp, and it needs decorating, and there’s crazy neighbours, and mice, and all that kind of things. So I may as well take the opportunity of being away for a month to make a move, and hopefully end up with something better (with more than one room, lol).

Basically, though a big part of me feels sad at having to say goodbye, this place has been good to me, it’s time to move on I reckon. Otherwise I’ll turn round one day to find myself a forty-something bachelor living in rented accommodation with no view and a kitchen where half your stuff ends up on the floor coz there’s nowhere to put it all.

sneaky shot 2

And that’s the other reason I’ve got to jack in the job and get out in the world again too, wimmin! Shift work is not conducive to finding, starting, or having a relationship. You’re off when everyone else is working, asleep when everyone else is awake, and even your friends don’t call as much as they used to because you’ve had to say no one too many times.

So for my own sanity, my own future, and for the warmth of my own bed, I need to make a change.

a guide to the girl guides' maze

Hmm… kind of feels like I’ve gone a bit off topic there, so let’s recap.

Jack in the job end of August. Go do TTC in Austria. October/November I want to spend in an ashram practicing yoga/meditation/etc. Then off to Oz for a month or so in December, to just travel and have a bit of a holiday. And then after that, who knows?

I have got this idea brewing that I’ll spend a year writing. I’m not sure where yet, but it’d be between my 39th and 40th birthdays (8th of February 2013/2014 respectively). I’d bookend it with riding an elephant and seeing the northern lights, the two things I want to do most in the world. I just think that, if I really want to write, I should have a good go at it, see if I’ve got what it takes. I mean, I know I can write! But can I get published?

if only...

So that’s where we are at the moment. Still a little vague I know, but there should be some clarification in the coming weeks. A friend of mine is a life coach, and we’re going to do a little exchange of services. In return for my teaching her some Tai Chi she’s going to do some exercises with me to help me understand what I do and don’t want to do. Hopefully once that’s happened I’ll have some more news for y’awl.

It’s all very exciting, and a little nerve wracking too. But aren’t the best things always that way a little? Butterflies in your stomach as you approach the girl at the bar. Packing your things to move somewhere new, not knowing how things will be when you get there. It can be difficult stepping out of your comfort zone, giving up the apparent safety you’ve built up around yourself. But if you only do what you’ve always done, you’ll only have what you’ve already got; and I don’t know about the rest of you, but there’s only so many nights I can sit at home eating chips and watching DVDs before I start to wonder if I’m wasting my life? (top tip: the answer is… yes!) 😉

Where To’s That Then?

(brace yourselves, this is a long ‘un – oo-err missus! :P)

Oh Spring, where have you been? Away for so long, I thought you’d never get here!

tree flower

But now finally the equinox has come and gone, the days are longer, the nights shorter, the sun is out, and we’re about to go into summer time for 2012. Oh yes, things are looking up! That’s up as far as the weather is concerned anyway. Elsewhere the forecast is not so bright.

Work are humming and harring a little about giving me a sabbatical. They’ve sent me a list of questions, the general gist of which is “How will this effect the company?” and “What’s in it for us?” Now of course I’ll answer their questions in detail, but I just get the feeling they’re gearing themselves up to say no.

If they do though I’m pretty sure I’m going to take some time off work anyway (ie: hand in my notice). I mean if it’s a choice between that and my gravestone reading:

Here’s Lies Keith Dickinson
He Kept His Job

I know which one I’d prefer!
 
it's boring waiting for the sun to come out
 
Ok, so never mind spring, where the hell have I been? 2 weeks it’s been since my last post. I feel bad for neglecting my blog like that (don’t take it personally, it’s taking me a week just to respond to personal e-mails at the moment). I’ve just been working constantly, trying to make a bit of money to help pay for future shenanigans.

I have been doing other stuff too though, things more in line with My Brand New Life!

For one thing I met up with a friend of many years, Rakka, who I’ve actually never met before in real life. She’s a Flickr Friend, someone I’ve followed for 44 months (literally the third person I started following on there), and a very creative artist and photographer. It was her ‘My Name Is…’ Diego Montoya that caught my attention, and I’ve been an avid fan ever since.

She comes over to the UK once a year or so to get her fix of Britishness (a wee bit of an anglophile she is) and so we reckoned it was high time we met up. Actually we tried to meet last year but she was so ill we had to call it off.

Anyway, we met up in Islington where she and the guy she came over with, Leff, were going to be meeting a famous cat (?). Hey, who am I to judge, lol.

I took my friend Amanda along coz she works in the area and she was highly amused by the idea of meeting up with someone you only know through the online world. Rakka also invited along another online friend of hers, Nathalie, to meet for the first time, as well as another guy they know from the States, Chris, who just happened to be over here, so all told it was a pretty mixed bunch!

I have to say I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. Who knows how you’ll get along when you know someone one way and then meet them in an entirely different context. But I needn’t have been worried. She’s lovely, her friends were lovely, my friend got on with her and her friends, and all in all we managed to prove that the world is indeed just a great big onion, lol.

We had a right laugh once we were comfortably ensconced in the pub (alcohol helps in these kinds of situations, though I’m glad to say the fact that I don’t drink anymore didn’t prove to be a hindrance). Topics of conversation included (but weren’t limited to):

* Which parts of the UK are like which parts of America? – The North of England is like the Deep South (apparently, though I contest this a little), London and Edinburgh are like New York and L.A., and Leicestershire is like Ohio (ie: boring, hehehe ;))

* Icelandic Emo Ponies (or Ice Po’s, as we called them) – check out this link if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

* Portlandia – “It’s true. It’s all true!! They think they’re making a joke but they’re not, that’s what it’s like!!!

And…

* Sexy Neaderthals – Which is just so (unintentionally) hilarious! You’ve got to check it out. Just be sure to stick with it to the end.


 
As you can tell, we had fun. It was so great meeting up with everyone, I’m so glad we did it, and it just goes to prove the old adage –

‘There’s no such thing as strangers, just friends you’ve not yet met.’

 
So, apart from that, what else is going on? I’ve been writing a bit, which is nice. Actually coming up with some good stuff at the moment. The hard part is finding the time to write. For example I haven’t had time to do anything yet today, it’s nearly midnight, and I’ve got work tomorrow. Not conducive to good output. But that’s just an excuse. I need to make the time, and come Monday I will! It’s all good. 🙂

I’ve got a 10 day residential meditation course coming up which I’m really looking forward to. It should be amazing. Very intensive, quite hardcore (up at 4:30am!), but definitely worth it. Can’t wait to see what I learn from it.

Between now and then it’s just work work work. Might get some cooking done, in fact I better! I’ve bought the domain name http://www.myveganlife.co.uk (which you can type into your browser but it just leads you back here at the moment, lol) and I’m going to start an all vegan blog which I’ll be launching in a month or two (haven’t even started building it yet!). It’ll be the public face for all my cooking shenanigans.

Don’t worry, I’ll keep this little baby going. This is where I come to share silly things, make dick jokes, and talk about all the weird stuff I got going on. I just need somewhere I can build into a ‘proper’ foody site that people can really enjoy (and that might lead somewhere in the future). Coz that’s the one thing all this faffing about with work has taught me, that not only does no one get rich working for other people, and if you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll always get what you’ve already got, but if you don’t do it now, then when?

So it’s time to crack on! Who’s with me??? 🙂

And So It Goes

First of all, if you haven’t seen Crazy, Stupid, Love, do! It’s really well made, well written, has some genuine laughs, and Ryan Gosling is brilliant in it. Very cool, very sexy, with some of the best lines in the movie. But anyway, enough of that…

So I’ve asked work for a year off, from September to next August. Just got to wait and see if they’ll go for it now. Not sure what I’ll do if they don’t. Will deal with that bridge when I come to it. For now it just feels like there’s this big boulder on top of a hill and I’ve just given it a nudge towards the edge.

The month of no chocolate is over so expect a perfected vegan swiss roll some time soon. Just need to find the time to do some cooking. Doing so much overtime this month, to help pay for upcoming shenanigans, that I’m in work more days than I’m not (which I know most people do, but when you’re doing 12 hour shifts that’s something else).

So my days off in March are just that, days off. I’m not going to fill them with junk. Taking it easy for the next 30 days or so, The only thing I do want to do is write. I’ve neglected the book and it’s time to get back on it and get it finished. I want it done before I go away, and six months is more than enough time.

That’s it for now. Nothing dramatic, and no pictures. Just checking in. Should have some more interesting stuff soon though. I have a side project on the go for March that may bear fruit. Stay tuned for further results.

Until then…