On Showing Up to Work

I bet some of you, readers, like me, struggle with job-satisfaction. I think research shows a ridiculous number of people are unhappy with their jobs. Most of last week, I was very absent from work. Because of my issues outside of the office, I had a hard time showing up. I was there, at my desk, every day, but I wasn’t participating. I was just appearing.

When I woke up Friday, and my out of work issues seemed to dissolve (after much thought and discussion, don’t get me wrong), I was suddenly reinvigorated at work. I came in as usual and went straight to my desk. Milo was in the car that day because it wasn’t raining. When I got to my desk I had to restart my computer because of an overnight update. While this was going on, I could have just sat there on my phone, working my way through Facebook and Instagram, seeing what my friends were up to in far off places. But instead, I got up. On my way in I had noticed a few people were setting up for the Chili Cook-off we were having for the Super Bowl, so I went and asked if they needed help.

I ended up spending about an hour helping out. Much longer than it took my PC to reboot, that’s for sure. But it was great. For that hour I was interacting with people (something I usually crave at work) and just kind of having fun. Later that afternoon, I went to a recognition event. I was invited very last minute, 24 hours before to be exact. My manager stopped by my desk and asked “Are you adventurous?” and I said, yeah. A couple hours later I got an invitation to go indoor skydiving. The event was paid for by work in appreciation for work I did to meet one of our metrics at the end of last year. I wasn’t invited initially because I had only been part of the team for a couple of months last year, but when a spot opened up my manager came to me.

I decided not to tell anyone about the skydiving until after. I know myself, and the more I talk about something the more nervous I get. A couple of years ago my friends and I did a road trip from Yellowstone to Las Vegas. When we visited Zion National Park, we got advice from a friend of a friend to do the Angel’s Landing hike. He said it was arduous, but believed we could do it. Being the girls we are, we did research on this hike and found out that it wasn’t a bad hike, until the last like .2 miles where you were hiking on a narrow trail with sheer drops on either side of you. We all laughed at how we were all scared of heights but would face this together. Unfortunately, we also kept reading. When we reached the beginning of this scary part of the hike, we took a quick rest to scope out the situation. Then we went for it. But somehow we hiked on the wrong side. We thought the chain was meant to stop us from falling down the mountain, not to act as a railing along this steep trail. By the time we got to the first spot that was wider than just barely a hiker’s two feet, I was emotionally exhausted and physically shaking from fear. I made the decision that I tried to face my fear (I mean I had made it that far) but knowing all I know, I couldn’t go any further. While my friends moved on I hung out, contemplated the height at which I was sitting, and waited for someone I could climb down with.

After this experience, I decided that whenever I was initially scared of something that I wanted to do, I wouldn’t research it any further. Researching, I realized, rarely eased my fears, it usually amplified them. So when I found out I was going skydiving, I didn’t even check out the website or the video they attached to the invite. I just accepted it and tried my best not to think about it until I was there. When we arrived the next day, we went through the sign in process and were asked how many of us wanted to do the high-fly experience where your instructor flew you to the top of the vertical wind tunnel. Out of 13, 4 declined. I was one of them. As we made our way through the process, learning some basics and hand signals, getting suited up, seeing those that go before us, I focused on keeping myself calm. I knew this was safe, and I didn’t want my fears to win out.

We were gonna get to skydive for two, one minute increments. On the second go, we’d have the opportunity to do the high fly. Guys, I did it! I did the high fly. My first flight was really fun even though I totally sucked. Keeping your chin up is a big deal but with my body parallel to the ground, I just wanted to look at the ground. Still, it was exhilarating. And I figured, the likelihood of my going again after this event would be slim. If I do the high fly now, I’m out ten bucks instead of shelling out for a whole other session plus the high fly. It was so much fun! I know I would have regretted not going so I’m happy I did it! Here’s a video of my second flight. If you ever get the opportunity, go! This even has me considering going real sky diving (with the person attached to you, I’m not insane!).

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