Today, I have to make an effort to remember the name of this blog. Maybe I am getting neurotic all of a sudden, for I am still bothered by the betrayal and disappointment of the change last Friday's group walk.
Gosh. I've been sailing on quite an even keel for a few months. I don't like this rough patch.
I recall that I had an big letdown with a similar impact on my emotions and attitude around this time last year. It was regarding our job titles and seniority at work. I had been promoted to Assisted Professor under the former system because of my qualifications and experience, but the administration (under the current corporate, i.e. non academic, head of the institution) decided to answer our grumblings about not having had a salary increase in about 10 years by labeling every foreign professor "Assistant Professor" regardless of their qualifications, seniority and experience. Everyone got the title and incumbent salary upgrade, even those remaining who only have a bachelor's degree and those with little professional development or academic involvements, no matter how long they had worked for this employer.
I and the colleagues who are actually qualified for the position felt deeply dissed. It was like a slap in the face. I guess is what was way worse than what I'm feeling right now. It took me two or three months to accept the situation. I almost put in my resignation. I guess I dealt with it by sticking to what was in my best interests, and assessing the benefits of my situation with relation to the job market and my options.
Frankly, I expect conflicts, power struggles and disappointments at work because the workplace is inherently unfair. Inequality is at the core of the arrangements. All employees have to develop thicker skin, and learn to take the punches and remain self-confident. They have to find success and satisfaction otherwise, in other aspects of life to get through it and stay afloat in the working world. It is very hard for all working people to keep up courage and remain even-tempered in work relations while remaining true to oneself and keeping a balanced life. This is common knowledge.
I also expect such troubles in political activities, from party politics to community or grassroots activism because it is all about fighting and fighting for power. If one steps into those arenas, and dares to be bold in speaking her mind, she has to expect to get knocked around at least a bit. Everyone knows that, too.
It is times like these when I wish there was a close confidente in my life. When a person goes through rough patches in life, the support system makes a huge difference between surviving or crashing, stepping forward or falling behind and festering.
I know that I need to keep working on building my support system. I need to find a mate; even at this late point in life, it is best and can be done. I also need to continue nurturing friendships, in spite of the fact that people come and go geographically, and that there are different degrees of friendship. Furthermore, I am glad that I have been able to hold onto a rapport with my siblings even though we are of very different character and even though we don't see each other a lot. It is good having surrogate family, such as the present "niece" and "uncle,' though there are ups and downs in those relationships too, and, like other friends, they pass on to the other side, or move on in life and we part company. Finally, it is always advisable to work on the workplace relationships to keep the peace, enjoy their company at work if not socially as well, and be in a position to collaborate.
I did not expect a big blow to be wielded during participation in a recreational weekend hiking club, however. I didn't expect there to be any interest in creating competing events. Come on!
I must be mindful and sensitive to people in all social situations, because conflicts can occur anywhere, and everyone (except the sociopaths) are emotional beings. I also must keep perspective. I mean, I need to go farther to find appropriate close friends with whom I can discuss important things, voice my real opinions safely, and speak with and in confidence. I do have friends, especially in areas of activism for social justice and change, because "comradeship" is such a dear and special kind of friendship, but they are scattered around the world.
I really should get in the habit of phoning people. I have never engaged in that habit, though it is so normal and routine for others, but I think it would be helpful for me.
While writing this entry, I received a nice note of reply from one of the hiking companions. I did not talk about the situation in the hiking group; no, I wrote to her because I believed I had offended her in the course of a series of social activities since last fall. She says I haven't, and that the matter has been her own situation of experiencing a life change. That is a relief. I offered to meet her for coffee to get to know her a little better, but she said that it is not a good time because of how she is feeling about the break-up. That's fine.
I stuck around home today, hoping to get the tax data input quickly but the university's system is complex and there are hitches. I'll meet my office partner, L, tomorrow and we'll go see about the tax stuff then check our new offices. We must be there together to set things up to the satisfaction of both of us.
I therefore took the opportunity to get more done on the writing front. I just uploaded a new version of my collection of poems to the ebook site (Smashwords). I added the two most recent ones, and some with political content on the theme of displacement. When I started reviewing the old version, I found poems that I had forgotten about! Ha!
Poems are actually easier to write than prose. I guess it's because a poem works on one idea, usually one image or a series of images on a motif or theme. Except for the folklore, traditional and modern, that is basically storytelling.