The blog, I mean. It’s me that hasn’t been around.
Apparently, it’s been two years since I last posted something. In those two years, I’ve left my old job and experienced the temp life (don’t do it if you have mouths to feed and rent to pay, unless you get a long contract – that’s my take), started up VTK under my old (and favourite) teacher, which I’ve unfortunately had to put on hold because of money issues and pressures at home, found myself a mentor who’s helped me to understand myself in a deeper way, and above all, despite everything, stay moderately sane. And that’s just the stuff I remember.
I better break all of this down, or it’s going to be a short post (which might not be a bad thing).
Living the life of a
So after spending almost eight years in a job I sometimes enjoyed but at the same time felt suffocated by, I finally managed to leave in early 2018 to start working as a temp.
Why did I leave a permanent job to work as a temp? Well, it was either that or stagnate. And I’d been stagnating for eight years. I had left briefly the year before, but the role was nothing like I’d been led to believe, and I was back in my old job a couple of weeks later, but still looking for that move onwards. This time, though, I found what I was looking for: a role to kickstart my career in HR.
The role lasted three months, and just like that, for the first time in over a decade, I was jobless, which was strange at first. I managed about two interviews a week but wasn’t able to land an offer until around late August, where I worked with a great company for a month on a restructuring project, and then went on to another company, where I spent eight months (which ended this week), and now, I’m looking for my next thing.
The life of a contractor is an interesting one – it’s allowed me to experience a range of different cultures and gain experiences I never would’ve otherwise. If a permanent job can be likened to staying on dry land, contracting is closer to being a pirate sailing the seas for their next score. After spending eight years in one job (over eleven years in the same building), having that relative freedom is pretty cool. It’s not without its pitfalls (like not have a job to walk into afterwards), but I like it. It’s given me the chance to do things I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do, and it’s developed me as an HR professional, though probably not quite as much as I’d have liked. I’ll probably move back into a permanent role at some point, but until then, being a
pirate contractor works well for me.
Back in the VTK game (for a while, at least)
I have no idea if any of my old subscribers are still here (I can’t even remember if I had any – I haven’t checked yet), but at the time I first started this blog, I was training with my third Sifu after a while out of the game. I didn’t stay too long, though – I never did kick down that iron gate. And then I spent a long time not doing anything. Took up Muay Thai for a while – lasted less than a month. Spent a month training in the WKL lineage of VTK, and I can’t say I took well to it, it was far too different to what I’d learned. Anyone seeing a pattern here?
And then, at the end of last year, I decided to go back to my second (and favourite) teacher’s class. It was like coming home again. Unlike before, where I’d only been able to attend the Monday morning class, now, I was going to the evening classes, where the real action was. It was amazing. I quickly realised that my VTK was so messed up from going to various teachers, I’d have to start over. And that was fine – I was more than happy to. And slowly, my VTK started to take shape again, even though I was still well off the pace.
While this was happening, however, I was getting a lot of hassle from my family, who complained that I was coming back home late and leaving them to look after Mum (who has Alzheimer’s), which made me feel a little guilty. It didn’t stop me going, but it did take up some of my headspace while I was training, knowing I was going to get it when I got home. Still, I was enjoying my training.
Unfortunately, it didn’t last. Pressure got a bit too much, and finances became an issue, so I had to put my training on hold – again. And it was just when I was starting to improve and get a more solid foundation for my VTK. But it’s only temporary; I will be back soon once I’m settled.
Meeting my mentor
Perhaps the biggest thing in my life, however, is meeting the man who would become my mentor – Obi-Wan to my Luke Skywalker. I’d only expected to spend a short time with him to see what he had to offer, but it’s been almost a year, and he’s still mentoring me. And the experience has changed me. I could write a whole blog post about my mentor, and perhaps I will, but let me just share some highlights.
My mentor – who I’ll call JT here, which is what I actually call him – has introduced me to so many ideas that have transformed the way I look at myself and the experiences I have gone through. I’ve come to realise that, even though my experiences have shaped me in a less positive way, I don’t have to let them run me and dictate my future – I can actually choose to be better. And I have started to choose to be better. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m slowly getting there.
JT has also made me realise how often I cast myself as a victim when things don’t go my way, as opposed to being proactive and taking responsibility. For far too long, I’ve blamed my lack of success on other people and my situation, instead of acknowledging that I’ve screwed up. Owning up to this hasn’t been easy either, but it is liberating to own your failures and learn from them. It certainly beats going ‘Woe is me’ all the time.
Probably one of the most important things he’s taught me is the importance of loving yourself, of giving yourself that compassion and concern, and of being willing to suffer in the short term to develop that love. For years, I’ve hated myself and seen myself as essentially worthless. It’s why I’ve eaten badly for years; why I’ve been reluctant to keep myself in shape; why I haven’t pushed myself to achieve greater things in my life. It’s why I haven’t kicked down that iron gate yet – because I haven’t believed I can, and because I haven’t been willing to suffer what it take to kick it down. That, however, is starting to change. I wish that changing my mindset was as easy as flicking a switch, but seeing as it isn’t, I’ll just have to suffer for a while and live the rest of my life as, if not a champion, then at least a much better version of myself.
Though it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, I have become a better version of myself since last year. I forget this sometimes, but JT reminds me that when he first me, I was in a much worse place than now. So I have come a long way, but I can go a lot further if I apply myself. For me, that starts with basic things like watching what I eat and how I dress – those two things, bust especially the former – do have an effect on how you see yourself, and how others see you, but also on how you carry yourself.
I think I’ve forgotten how to write a good blog post – it seems a little disjointed. Still, I am writing again, so let’s see how this goes.