Month: March 2016

On cake days and being 21

Yesterday, I became another year older. If anyone asks, I’m 21 again. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Still, as I get older, my cake day seems to mean less and less. Which is a consequence of adulting, I guess.

I do miss the sense of anticipation I used to get for my birthday, though. To try and get around that this year, I ‘borrowed’ the blokes family to go out for a meal to celebrate. It’s probably the most I’ve done for my birthday in a very long time. I had a great time – but my anticipation was more for the actual meal than for the birthday itself. Not a bad thing, but at some point I’ll just have to accept that anticipating my birthday is a thing of the past. Or that I’m kind of food obsessed.

Still, cake day. The tradition here is to bring cake to the office for your birthday. My birthday falls at the time of year where the schools are on half term, plus Easter weekend is always somewhere close by. This means the office is generally quiet as people typically book the entire week off as a holiday.  In my case, the universe has *obviously* conspired to keep it cheap for me, as I don’t have to buy so much cake due to the lower number of people at work. It’s probably hubris on my part to see this as a birthday present from the calendar for me, but I’ll take it.

The next thing I’m anticipating is Dark Souls 3 coming out. It’s to be a belated birthday present, since the release date here is 12th April, last I checked. Now that’s something I’m really excited about. Expect a death-tage video shortly after that date!

The Politeness Trap

Many of us are conditioned to be polite from an early age. This could just take the form of minding our P’s and Q’s, or taking advice from an etiquette book.

This post has been prompted by another wander down memory lane. A parcel arrived for my birthday (which is tomorrow) over the Easter weekend, from my Aunt, which made me remember a previous birthday.

Anyways, a while ago, my Aunt had sent me a parcel for my birthday. It never actually arrived. This led to a fun chain of events and assumptions.

So, etiquette dictates that I send a ‘thanks for the present’ via some medium. However, it also dictates that while gifts are given, they are not to be expected.

I received no present, but felt it would be rude to chase it up. I certainly didn’t feel entitled to a present, so I wrote it off in my mind. I figured she had been busy with life, and forgot.

On the flip side, my Aunt received no message from me to thank her for the present, or event to let her know it had arrived. She wrote it off in her mind, thinking that I probably got busy and forgot.

Both of us were so hung up on being polite. I never thought to get in touch and say ‘Hey, where’s my present?’, whilst Aunt never thought to prod me with a ‘Hey, you never thanked me for your present!’.

It was months later when my father mentioned to me that Aunt had told him I never thanked her for the gift. Prompting me to say ‘I thought she hadn’t sent one!’. So we eventually had a conversation about it, which was summed up by ‘You know I wouldn’t not get you a present for your birthday!’ and ‘You know I wouldn’t forget to let you know I had received and was thankful for the present!’. Long story short, Aunt sent me another present, and this one arrived. Which was awesome.

The story has a happy ending. Though if we’d both been less polite, there would probably be less of a story here. I guess I just found it interesting that one of the social constructs in place to prevent hurt feelings – simple politeness – could have in this case caused hurt feelings on both sides.

I guess the message here is that whilst I do place a high value on politeness, sometimes we should let it slide a bit with people who are close to us to avoid any unfortunate misunderstandings. In essence – politeness can trap you into the wrong assumption.

So, I’m pigeon blind.

Or something. What would be the term for seeing all medium size birds as pigeons?

I didn’t grow up in a rural area. The bloke did. We were outdoors on adventures this weekend, and he pointed out a Jay. Well, he called it a Jay. I looked at it, and I was sure it looked like a pigeon. I still am.

Then last night, we were watching Planet Earth after dinner. It was an antarctic/arctic themed one. I could swear that one of the birds in flight hunting another bird looked like a pigeon.

So now the bloke is (probably quite rightly) mocking me.

I still maintain that in both instances, the birds looked like pigeons to me. Ok, the second instance definitely wasn’t a pigeon. I believe David Attenborough. He strikes me as a trustworthy chap when it comes to wildlife.

That Jay was definitely a pigeon though. Pride is on the line, so even if it wasn’t, it totally was. Hmmph!

First world problematic decisions

One of the reasons I’ve been somewhat lax in my posting schedule recently is that I was wrestling with a career decision. Since it was occupying my mind, it was something of a struggle thinking of blog posts to write. And well – career decision. I couldn’t exactly post about it publicly.

This week, I did finally make a decision, which I’m pretty much sure means I now get to talk about it.

So – I’m relatively happy in my current job. I’m well set to progress up the career ladder, with some plans in that direction being mentioned to me. The work is fulfilling. I’m treated very well. So, it would take something pretty major to make me turn my head to another job.

Well, that happened. I was approached by a former awesome manager about a role in another company. At first, I did it due service – I checked it out, thinking that I most likely wouldn’t  jump ship because I am happy where I am.

What followed was a few weeks of flip flopping in my head. Current company is large, and has the issues that you will get working for any large company – that feeling of being a small cog in a very impressive machine. The other role is at a smaller company, meaning that anyone invited to work there will definitely have the feeling of making a difference.

In terms of problems, this has been a rather nice one to have. It’s certainly not a situation I’ve been in before, and likely won’t be again!

A lot of my own personal satisfaction comes from feeling like I’m actually relevant. Which speaks volumes about my ego. I spent a long few weeks writing up pros and cons for both jobs. It was ultimately a narrow thing. I didn’t discuss the problem with my current workplace, as this was not a decision driven by money – I wanted to avoid a situation of offers and counter offers. Some people will probably see me as somewhat crazy for going with that approach, but my own self image means I’m not going to behave like a complete mercenary.

As you can probably guess if you’ve read this far, I’ve opted to jump ship. I’m happy with my decision, and I’ve done it in a way that leaves me little leeway to change my mind. I do feel somewhat guilty, admittedly, as like I said – I have been treated very well. To my current workplaces credit, they have been very understanding and have let me know that if there is anything they can do to change my mind, I should mention it. Which is always a nice thing to hear – but I will stick to my decision as I don’t believe in messing people around. In return, I have a month of probably long hours to make sure that all the things I have started are finished, or left in as perfect a condition as I can manage.

I’ll be sad to go, but ultimately, I am very excited about moving on. I won’t get to see some of the things I put in motion through to fruition, but I have a boat load of new challenges to look forward to. I suspect that while I’ll have regrets at some point, I’d regret not chasing a new challenge even more – and that was the one thing that ultimately made my decision for me.