Tag Archive | work


This month work has been a mixed bag. On the one hand, I have had month-long contracts lately, so I have no deadlines, can work at any hour of the day, take two weeks off and do 12 hour days the other two. It is all up to me and I’ve enjoyed the liberty.

On the other hand, the current assignment is so painfully dull I’ve likened it to scrubbing the same spot on the floor for 3 hours. Imagine that! Could anyone scrub the same spot meticulously for 3 hours without abandoning it in hopeless boredom? I manage it for 10 minutes until my mind wanders elsewhere or I open some other website, watch a film or indulge in my one filthy habit of reading sub-par content. This post here is just another result of that mind-numbing scrubbing I couldn’t take any more.

I don’t have ADHD. This translation would put anyone’s attention span to the test.

To pass the time, I took this social intelligence test, where you are supposed to tell by a person’s eyes what mood they are in. And my score was so pathetic I will go hide under the blanket and reflect on my delusions. Test can be done on this link.

People this bad at reading others shouldn’t be wanting to be psychologists. I got 26.

My little experiment

Since I’m kind of fed up with my present stress levels, I thought I’d give magnesium supplements a try. There are a couple of studies that have shown the benefits of magnesium to people with anxiety, stress and depression. It calms down the nervous system, and that’s what I could do with these days.

Magnesium comes in more forms than one. I picked magnesium citrate because it is absorbed better than magnesium oxide. My supplements have vitamin B6 in them as well, which apparently also improves absorption.


The main downside of my pills is that they are huge. Seriously huge. And there is no way I could swallow a pill this size without slicing it in half. Even then, it’s not exactly a joy. So I won’t be repurchasing this brand. But they seemed to contain the highest amount of magnesium on the market here, so my choice was based on that. Besides, you can’t see into the package and check the size. Still, one could consider the size of the bottle and the number of pills it promises to contain. If that ratio is high, chances are pills won’t be gigantic. Sadly, I didn’t think of that…

This is not a tiny puzzle piece

This picture does not do justice to the pill’s gigantic proportions. All I can say is that the puzzle piece is not tiny.

I’ll try to write about how I did in a month’s time. I’ve only taken it for a day now and there are no differences in mood, but I do experience one inevitable side effect. Magnesium is good for the heart. It lowers blood pressure. This is a benefit for people with high blood pressure, but when yours is low to begin with, it’s not great. I woke up in the morning feeling quite cold and thought a cup of green tea may counter that. But caffeine and magnesium does not seem like the smartest combination. One increases and the other represses excitability. So I’ll try not to do that. What I may have to do is take less than the recommended dose if the morning shivers, dizziness and cold becomes too irritating. This morning it was only cold, no feeling of fainting when getting up or shivers.

Other than that, I’m considering what job I could do. And pharmacist and dressmaker have made it to the list of options.

I feel so incredibly fickle for planning to quit psychology and pick something else. I don’t think I’ve ever quit anything I started in this way. And it doesn’t help that at my psychology entrance interview, I was asked how can they (the interviewers) be sure I would not be quitting. I said I wasn’t the type to give up things mid-way. It bothers me that I will betray that trust. Not that they’d remember. But I remember. And it bothers me.

Pharmacist and dressmaker are currently heading the list. I also considered radiologist and optometrician. My main priority is that it would be relatively stress-free. Translating, if done properly, is a very high stress job. Psychology – whether as a therapist or researcher – promises no sunshine and feathery cushions either. Translating is also a very socially isolating job. Too much so for my taste. I love it when I can pick my own working hours and the main issue is getting a certain amount of text done by the end of the week, but contracts like that are rare. I can’t expect it to last. So I’ve racked my brains thinking of jobs with low stress levels and medium-to-low amounts of social interaction. Dressmaker is the best in that regard. Majority of work hours are spent quietly by oneself sewing and cutting out patterns. But I’d get a little bit of socialisation when customers come to try garments on. And it’s a creative job unlike the others. What makes me doubt is that I’d probably need to set up my own business, which is a bit daunting but not too terrible in that field. Pharmacists are a little like librarians of drugs. Nice quiet job behind the counter giving people what they want. And I do really like pharmacology for some reason. Clinical psychology, psychopathologies and pharmacology courses were the ones I looked forward to the most in my studies. But studying it for three years to be handing out drugs seems like a waste of all that studying. And it might just be a bit too much socialisation. Dressmakers have a better balance.

These are early thoughts, however. I will come up with some more options, no doubt, and change my mind plenty of times yet before something definite emerges. Possibilities for now.

EDIT: the magnesium did absolutely nothing in the three months I took it. I then switched to D vitamin and … I don’t know if it is this or the improvements in my life in general, but I’ve been unusually content and happy for three months, with only occasional low mood days and anxiety about the future. This is a noticeable improvement. But it may have other causes than the D vitamin, so it is impossible to draw final conclusions.


I travelled through the countryside for four hours in total and somehow it got rid of the excess of negative emotion I’ve been suffering under lately. Life has been overwhelmingly stressful but this is not what I want to write of.

A friend asked me some months ago what was the most important thing for me in life. I said liberty. In hindsight, I think it is impossible to pick one thing that towers above others, but I could narrow it down to three: love, liberty and health.

Why liberty? Because I can’t take being pigeon-holed and forced into roles and behaviour patterns. I was never good at accepting authority and it is stressful for me when I have to do it. I chose my job because it provided maximum liberty compared to a lot of other jobs. I couldn’t do regular hours. I had tried regular hours during high school, but I soon grew frustrated with having outsiders regulating MY daily schedule.I like doing as many things as possible when I feel like doing them. I do need some rules or I procrastinate to no end, but I cannot imagine a life where my work hours were fully determined by someone else. Unless I, being of sound mind and in possession of absolute freedom to do otherwise, would grant such permission. Suppose I got a raging stomach ache? Or I need to deal with some serious personal crisis? Like the roof leaking. I mean, yes, adults are supposed to ignore that and carry on, but I prefer to do things in my own time and pace. If I get them done, it shouldn’t matter if I work from 10.00-12.00, take six hours off to go for a picnic at the seaside, and continue at 20.00? That’s what my work hours are like these days.

Financial freedom has always been important to me as well.  I very much dislike the idea of being dependant on having a job and facing ending up on the street if I should quit or be fired. This is worse than having a few loans hanging over your head, such defencelessness against external forces. I’m hoping to counter this by having some sort of buffer fund to last me at least 3-4 months and by one day living in a country cottage of my own which would guarantee some amount of food. It’s harder to starve in the country and living costs are lower.

Freedom is important to me in everything. It’s hard to provide a full list of areas, but one of these is freedom from social expectations. I don’t know if this is just my personality and life or whether it is some general human tendency, but my relationships with people always fall into specific patterns whilst cancelling out others. My parents know me as very reserved and disinclined to share personal stuff, albeit with bursts of excessive chattering on more general topics. My best friend knows me as an extrovert who needs to be restrained from sharing everything that pops in my head. There are people who would be a little surprised reading some of the stuff I’ve written here because they have no idea such sides to my personality exist. Inevitably, such habitual ways of being friends and family limit me a little. Not all of that is disagreeable. I never talk of my romantic relationships with my family, but I really don’t want to either. I don’t discuss poetry or reveal my childlike sides to people who are not likely to appreciate it. It’s a constant fine-tuning of personality, intuitively choosing what to reveal to the full and what to keep on the background. The full range of my personality is not known to anyone, but those who are more like myself will be trusted with most of it. Freedom to be fully oneself is probably only found in solitude, although some soulmate-like friends come close.

Where does time go?

My dream life is to wake up in the morning and decide what I want to do with the day. To read a book on English 19th century peasantry, practice watercolour painting or plant roses? To bake the fanciest cake ever or to write a novel? To build a gazebo or to go out with my favourite person? With not an obligation in the world, except those I’ve willingly taken upon me.

It is not a particularly novel life to long for. Many have wished it before me, wish it currently and will probably wish it in the future as well, unless something in society’s foundations should radically change.

Few will ever attain it before retirement. There is work. There is money that has to be made.  I’m not even speaking of career and renown, but simply money, without which you cannot afford to live ‘normally’. You cannot even afford roses to plant. And living on the street and from the bin is not a tempting option (for most). I don’t want that and yet I don’t want a normal job either.


At the end of the week, I realise all I’ve done is work, sleep, eat, lurk about on the web and watch films, and perhaps a few hours of sport or walking. I’ve not advanced one inch closer to the things on my “Things to Do/Learn Before I Die” list. And this repeats every week. And it makes me feel frustrated and frightened. Time is running out. I must escape before it is too late. Before I’m middle-aged and half of life has passed me by without me doing any of the things I REALLY want to do. On the days I would have the time, I feel too emotionally knackered and stressed to take up painting or write novels. I just want to switch off and do something undemanding, like go roller-skating, walking or watch a film. When I’m especially knackered, I look at dumb/simple content on the web. Stronger people can manage more and I envy them. Sadly, not everyone is made the same way. I cannot become like the strong and capable people who can juggle multiple jobs with ease. It’d lead to a burnout for me, while it may energize others. I need a slow pace and I need autonomy. So while I cannot change myself, I can try to change the circumstances around me.