Monday, May 30, 2011

Hostess of the post

Every now and again I go blog stalking, ( and by every now and again I mean it consumes a good portion of everyday).
I stumbled across Going Off (In a new direction), A blog by Troy who describes himself as no one important, I just like to write,

and write he can!

I am handing over the post today to Troy, whom kindly agreed to guest post for me so that I can chuck a sickie.
When you are done, you can stalk Troy at his place  on twitter @TMD05, and the ever convenient Facebook 

Under pressure

We all react to pressure differently: some people lose their shit entirely, flap about the house & scream, “THE RAPTURE IS COMING!!!,” at the slightest application of pressure, others compartmentalise, put their head down & get on with the job, others absolutely relish the challenge & take their performance to a new level.  Until Tuesday afternoon, I was always curious to know my own wherewithal for sustained pressure & stress.  I’d never really had a firm idea because if there is one thing at which I’m consistent, it’s being inconsistent; the difference between my best & my worst in any endeavour is immeasurable.  Hence, at any one time, my reaction to anything could well be, ummm, anything.

About a year ago, a senior colleague & myself made a promise to our fellow colleagues; a big fucking promise that we weren’t even sure we could deliver on.  Our proverbial heads weren’t on any proverbial chopping block, our heads & other vital limbs were most definitely on the line.  We had a lot of people get behind us, there was those who were hopeful, there was the skeptics who told us plenty before us had tried & failed spectacularly & there were those who were openly hostile.  I personally was hopeful, but more than ready to roll up my sleeves & throw myself into the “stink” if it looked like going badly for us.  Well, on Tuesday afternoon, in Melbourne, we signed off on the little bit of paper that will enable us to deliver on our promise.  And how.

Reactions of the people in that last meeting varied: some shook hands & joked about, others sat in their seats enjoying quiet conversation, Mark*, my Sydney chum & close partner in crime, pulled off the best impersonation of Keyser SozĂ© since, well, Kevin Spacey & just vanished, presumably to hail a cab to the airport & get himself on the first flight home. 
 And as for myself, I just sat there, silent & in a complete daze…all the while trying to maintain a facade of lucidity that gave nothing away, lest it be viewed as some sign of weakness.  

Upon deciding to leave some 5 minutes later, I shook hands with everyone & headed straight to the Charles Dickens Tavern on Collins St, a favoured haunt from my time living in Melbourne.  
Once inside I ordered myself 2 drinks, a pint of beer & a pint of Coke, and found myself a corner table away from anyone else. 
 As soon as I sat down, though, I didn’t touch the drinks in front of me, instead, I was overcome by feelings relief & satisfaction that I hadn’t experienced before.  I placed my head on the table & just laid there for what must have been half an hour or so & thought about everything that had transpired over the previous 12 months; the never ending stream of questions from workmates, the heckling from the hostile anti-union wankers who will still ride on our coat tails enjoying certain fiercely contested conditions for free, the meetings, the private moments in which Mark & myself discussed our fears of failure: I thought about it all & wondered how I managed to maintain some semblance of a normal life, much less tackle certain personal stresses that life throws at you in between.

Then it dawned on me: the previous 12 months had been for my benefit; that, in a lot of ways, it was the making of me & helped me find that extra layer of maturity that I felt I lacked & that I could indeed handle anything
 I handled the pressure on my ear.  I know I certainly came close to snapping a few times, but overall, I was able to maintain clarity & focus on the job I had been entrusted to do.  I’ve always been a determined little prick, but this was the test I needed, and I’m pretty grateful for it.  I definitely feel a lot more grown up for it;

 I’ve always felt that I was a little slow to “grow up.”

I enjoyed a couple more beers & then jumped on a train to the ‘burbs to spend a few days behind visiting my parents.  It was on the train that my bladder decided 3 pints of beer & 1 Coke was a pretty piss poor investment on my behalf, but I didn’t care; it could fucking wait.  I enjoyed a quiet night, I even watched a bit of those vacuous, good for nothing Kardashian’s on TV, and woke up the next day, my 33rd birthday, feeling stiff as a surfboard & with a pounding headache, but that didn’t matter one bit;
I just felt grown up…and looking forward to the next challenge.


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