Month: February 2014

Professional Pride

Pride in better

My official job title is Product Operations Manager. I’m still not quite sure what that means as the role is still fairly new to me, and to the company.

My main day to day role is to help the team of Product Managers, Product Architects, Business Analysts and UX designers shape and scope out the next product release. We take a feed from Product Strategy which encompasses analyst data, customer commitments, improvements to help our own project staff, new features that we can market and sell, and those which continue to make our product better than many others out there.

I take pride in my job, I don’t like making mistakes, I don’t like things not working, I am always looking for ways to improve things and my biggest frustration continues to be being unable to influence change as quickly as I’d like. But that’s me, my work persona is 1000mph and high level. As I work in software, it’s fair to say that a lot of my time is spent slowing myself down and providing a level of detail to those who need it.

Blog Pride

A lot of my job is in the murky world of ‘management’, spreadsheets and powerpoint presentations, conference calls and meetings. Unlike my previous roles, my background is in technical writing, I don’t produce all that much that I can point at and say “I made that”. That doesn’t hugely bother me but that’s largely because I’ve turned to this blog as a means of fulfilling that need.

This blog has always been a bit of a lifeline, a place to ‘escape’ to, where I can write what I want with only my view and my expectations being met. I guess it’s only recently, during a particularly stressful fortnight, that I’ve realised just how much this tiny escape valve is needed.

I find myself looking to improve this blog too, and once again thoughts are turning to building my own custom WordPress theme. I reckon I can manage that over a weekend but who the hell has a weekend to themselves these days?!

Still, every time I visit my own website I see those little niggles. The spacing isn’t quite right there, the format of those posts could be better, and so on and so forth.

Happily Imperfect does not mean I’ve settled for imperfection, just that I’ve accepted that everything is and that I will always push to make things better.

House of Cards: What can I learn?

Fear not, I am a fan of House of Cards so there are no spoilers here, a fair spattering of melodrama perhaps but that’s all mine and, for what it’s worth, I quite enjoy it.

House of Cards - S2e07 punchbag

I am easily affected. I take on traits, mannerisms and tropes with no real forethought and file it as part of the continued development of my sense of self.

I am not Francis J. Underwood nor to I ever hope to be.

Yet there is admiration of that character. He is aware of his flaws and has set his own moral compass, living by it, apologising to no-one. He has a long term plan, a vision of where he wants to be and will do whatever it takes to complete that journey. He is not a nice man.

The last few weeks have seen my working hours increase, stress levels rise and (but of course!) my insomnia kick in. The latter helps at times as it means I have more hours in which to get things done but that then destroys any real semblance of a work/life balance. This periods drain me, but this time it has been particularly bad. Something needs to change.

I have tomorrow off (at my bosses insistence) and a long weekend ahead of me to relax and refresh … but part of me wants to push on, that I don’t want to pause, not now. I want to act on my current stresses and tackle them, rid myself of those frustrations, strike while the iron is hot.

Tipping Point

It is here I look to Francis J. Underwood and fight my natural disdain of office politics. There is probably no coincidence that, in my current state of mind, House of Cards rings true and very loud. There is a scene which the image in this post alludes to, I won’t spoil it but I feel like Frank seems to at that point as he stands, silently, before voicing his opinion. It’s a tipping point in the storyline. I may be at a tipping point myself.

I am still learning my job, learning the boundaries and limitations but as they start to crystallise I find myself looking around for a hammer, or a machete, I’m not sure if I’m fighting my way through a dense forest of vines or smashing through walls but either way, some things will need to be broken for me to get where I want to be.

Can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.

Exercise gone missing

Post exercise face

I last went for a run in January. I’ve barely done much exercise this month other than one game of basketball.

It is now the 12th of February and I can’t quite get my ahead around that. Where has the last two weeks gone? Why did they go so fast?

I’m very guilty of letting simple, short term, excuses win over longer term goals. But I’m still determined to meet my goal for the year, to run a cumulative total of 400km.

To that end I’m going to sign up to some 5Ks to give myself date driven targets, and finally take the plunge and find a way to get to the local Sweatshop running club. It’s close to my flat but starts at 6pm, a real challenge to get to across rush-hour Glasgow.

But that might just be another excuse so I’m going to start staggering my work day better to make sure I either have the time, or work at home that afternoon. I must exercise more, there really can’t be any more excuses.

In addition to the running, Pedal for Scotland rolls around in September (a cycle from Glasgow to Edinburgh I’ve done before) which I’m going to do as well, and when you add in an hour or so of basketball every Monday night, I should be easily managing 3 to 4 exercise sessions a week.

What I need to do is make sure I plan in the time and stick to it. I know the people in my life will support me and help me, encourage and cajole me when needed (and it will be), but above all, I need to have the confidence that I can do all this.

I’m 40. It really is time I started to take this healthy living thing more seriously.

Let’s get it on!!

What being Poly has taught me

Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found at www.polymeansmany.com.

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Looking back over the past few years, I forget just how much I’ve learned about myself in that time. Leaving a long-term relationship determined to be better, finding a partner who wanted the same and who was patient and understanding, knowing we were both on a similar journey has been a revelation.

So a lot of what I’ve learned since we decided to embrace polyamory is an extension, or at the very least a focusing, of things I’ve already been aware of, and working on.

For example:

  • Balance is more important to me than I ever realised
  • I have capacity to love more than one person
  • Communicating expectations is important
  • The more you make hard decisions, the easier it gets (although it’s never “easy” but that’s ok too)
  • It’s ok to be happy

And that’s just what has popped into my head whilst writing this post, there is much more.

Finding the Balance

For me, the most important thing I’ve learned is that I need to remember to include myself when looking at plans. The upside of being poly is that I have two amazing people in my life and, naturally, I want to spend as much time as possible with both and it would be easy to spend every night with one partner or another. But that means there isn’t enough time for me.

There is also the realisation that sometimes the balance between partners might not be quite right but that it should (and I think it has) level itself out.

Capacity to love

When we started down the ‘poly road’, we didn’t set out looking for love. It wasn’t something we’d ruled out either, we discussed the possibilities and I knew I felt comfortable with the premise of being in love with more than one partner but when the reality came chugging along the tracks (choo choo!) it was a little, wonderfully, surprising.

I guess part of me figured the first relationship or so would be more casual, or clearly defined against a specific dynamic that Kirsty and I don’t perhaps have (and the discovery of a new dynamic is one of the possibilities of polyamory). Of course that didn’t take into account finding, and falling for, Clare.

Setting Expectations

This is the simplest but hardest thing that I still struggle with at times.

It can boil down to the smallest thing, a misconstrued text message, or a presumption left unspoken. It’s tripped me up in the past and whilst I’m much more aware, it’s still something I need to keep an eye on.

It works both ways of course, and remains one of the things which, quietly and subtly can be quite damaging. Although that is partly tied in to the next topic.

Making hard decisions

The simplest way I can state this would be to slightly reverse that statement. It’s easy to make emotionless decisions based on fact and practicality.

But as we all know, people are not without emotion and practicality doesn’t allow for desire.

So, deciding who to spend time with, who to take to the cinema to see a new movie, who to try that new restaurant with… all these decisions have an extra layer of difficulty. We all know that our decisions are made with best intentions and thoughtfulness, but that doesn’t make it any less easy to choose between two people that, I think I’ve mentioned, I love.

It’s ok to be happy

Reading through this post, it might be easy to presume that polyamory is a lot of hard work with not a lot of upside. So let me clarify something.

Being able to realise you are happy, loved and in love, is an amazing thing. That’s not the sole remit of the polyamorous I know, but sometimes, among all the other things that we need to balance out across all of our relationships, it’s good to take a step back and realise that, yes, I am happy.

Yes, I love Kirsty. Yes, I love Clare.

And it’s this that should be focused on. Yes, it takes more work than monogamy, but not that much more and given that I’ve learned so much about myself (and I’m still learning) I wouldn’t change a thing.

2013: Moments that mattered

2013

Some years have many moments, highs and lows, that stick in your mind. Looking back they can define your entire memory of a year. For me, 2013 was no different.

I’m lucky that last year was mostly highs. Glastonbury being the main one centred around an event. A second visit to the legendary festival, Kirsty and I relaxed into the experience much more than in our first visit, and it felt so much more liberating and freeing. We laughed, danced, and lost ourselves in the festival for those brief few days. It took me a few weeks to realise that it had left more of a mark than I realised; dance like no-one is watching.

That said, the moment that mattered the most came when Kirsty and I agreed to try polyamory as a lifestyle. We had discussed, and briefly tried, it in the past but the timing hadn’t been quite right. However, time moves on, we re-assessed where we were and, realising we were happy and secure in our relationship, decided to try again.

When I think back to those discussions I realise how strong, generous and giving Kirsty is and it’s this moment that I want to capture. Whilst I’m now lucky enough to love two wonderful women, and there is more to say on how happy I am Clare is part of my life, given the journey that Kirsty has been through last year, that is the moment to capture, to store away and draw strength from as we all move forward.

It’s already February and the year stretches out in front of us. A year that includes Kirsty, Clare, and Kirsty’s other partner Mark. We are still figuring some things out but each week it gets easier, feels more like who we are, and it all goes back to that moment, that decision. I don’t know what the future holds – it’s already wonderfully different from what I envisaged when we started down this path – but without a doubt, that is the moment that mattered in 2013.


Post prompted by Lori’s Prize Draw, and the desire to look back.

Nothing much to say

Busy times.

Little sleep.

Not unique.

All work and no play.

I am not Jack.

Secret parties planned (the birthday girl had a great time) on top of the usual chaos that is my calendar.

Work continues to dominate more and more of my time (more confirmed over the weekend).

Trying to keep enough energy to get out running now and then, enjoying basketball once a week.

Insomnia visiting more frequently, robbing me of sleep and energy. Impacting my mood and drive.

New possibilities being revealed. Adjustments required.

Is work the cause of the lack of sleep? New role leaving me more stressed?

Regardless. Step back. Fundamentally happy.

It feels a bit like a see-saw at the moment, one where the fulcrum shifts from time to time to keep me on my toes. Just as I think I have things balanced and manageable, something else transpires to knock my off balance.

But that’s just life.

Pause. Breath. Today is not tomorrow, there is always a new day.