Before I tell you about all the cool stuff and adventures I had in Malta, Cyprus, Madeira and Azores I want to take a moment to reflect on 2022… it was not as I expected and I do have very mixed feelings about the whole year.
High hopes – high drops
The year started extremely positively. The first week of January I spent skiing in Italy and after coming back to Kraków I started the preparations for the move to Germany. Man, I was so excited. New country, new role, new everything. January and February went by at lightspeed. Meeting with family and friends said my farewells and organised a blast goodbye drinks party. March came and I found myself in Dusseldorf. All nice and good, found a new apartment, moved in and focused on figuring out my new role.
Without going into much detail and not revealing stuff about the company I work for, let me put it this way – around mid-April I figured that something was wrong. Firstly, I thought that it’s normal to feel alien in the beginning and that things will settle as time goes by and I get deeper into the role.
Well, that didn’t happen. The project I was brought in for, got descoped meaning my fancy role with shit loads of responsibilities got also descoped. I ended up doing the same things as I was doing five years ago when I started with the company. Instead of a big step forward I got a huge regress in career development. Well, shit happens right. However, that’s not the end, because the job tasks and responsibilities can be crap as long as the team and your stakeholders are cool and nice to work with. Well, the team colleagues were OK – nice, helpful and knowledgeable but the stakeholders not so much, especially one… for the post purposes let’s call him Bob. It was everything but a pleasure to work with this guy. He was everything a project stakeholder shouldn’t be. Likes to talk but doesn’t do much. Loves complaining how shit and confusing the company is and that nothing can be done easily around here. Also, Bob was obsessed with knowing everything that’s going on, not only in his area but in the whole project space. Like knowing what’s going on isn’t anything bad but doing that obsessively is. Micromanagement, that guy was interested in how you prepare your excel spreadsheets, how you calculate stuff, basically how you do your job. Well, I didn’t see something like this before – EVER! It seemed that from the beginning Bob wasn’t fond of me. I tried to be approachable, understandable, helpful, you know behave the same way as I usually do with my project stakeholders. Nope… didn’t work. Tried to speak to him to set out expectations and agree on some ways of working… nope… his expectation was mostly – my way or the highway. I chose the highway. Around June things started to get worse. It ended up with an escalation to my manager on both sides. I heard that I’m not meeting expectations, I’m way too much interested in the big project picture rather than the local view and that I basically don’t know how to do my job. Well… ofcoz I was angry but not disappointed as I expected such kind of feedback BUT came to the conclusion that I don’t have to prove anything, especially not my worth to a sad, complaining and unsatisfied asshole that obviously forgot how to be human.
Similar as the unboxing in my new apartment my brain was a mess for most of the year
July didn’t bring an improvement into the Job situation. I focused on non-project related tasks, mostly on systems and knowledge sharing with the local team in Germany. That brought me great joy because people were interested in that and were asking some really good questions. However, Bob’s shadow came back.
His opinion was that the team that I run needs to look at and restructure as it’s not delivering to his expectations. Well, no wonder as I was doing the bare minimum and as I chose the highway and not his single-minded way with no place for compromise. I thought at some point something would happen. That was the lowest point of the year for me. I felt very lonely, ununderstood and very alien. That’s when my mentor gave me a huge mental face slap. He said – look at you, you are only whining and complaining, you stopped fighting, have you been beaten. Where’s your warrior spirit, he? Gone?
Woha… I really got a huge mental face slap… and I realised HE IS RIGHT! I focused all my energy on being miserable instead of finding a solution. Sooo adjusted my perspective slightly and started to notice all the good things that have happened so far instead of complaining about all the shit that has happened since I’ve moved countries. And what about losing my warrior spirit? It’s still there only used in different areas Point is that I can fight till the end for a cause but I need to be convinced that the cause is worth it and that I can win the war. Germany was a fight that I lost but to be frank it was not worth the effort to fight till the end. I’d rather leave the battlefield wounded, regroup and come back stronger than die a pointless death on the battlefield. Eventually something good happened and I got moved to a different part of the project away from Bob and from having anything to do with him. Luckily my new stakeholders are people who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and actually resolve problems and not just talk about how to resolve them. Since then, work has been going better so I’m optimistic for the coming months.
Regardless the problems, sunsets from my balcony are always lovely
Nevertheless, all the problems did have an impact on my motivation for finding a purpose to get up in the morning and drag my ass to the office. Instead of being highly motivated and driven by my job I invested my energy somewhere else… sports and working out.
As work was going below expectation, my inner warrior needed to find a different battlefield, this year it was fighting on the sports front. I got to workout four/five times a week. Monday – pole, Tuesday – rest day, Wednesday – EMS, Thursday – rest day, Friday – gym, Saturday – pole or wakeboard, Sunday – wakeboard or gym… new week repeat. With that schedule I was looking forward to the end of the work day and going to work out and making physical progress… and progress I did make. My bicep grew by 4 cm, shoulders got broad and strong and the back… my my… it looks sexy 😀 Downside is that most of my business shirts became quite small… they still fit but just look very tight. However, when I started noticing that some pole tricks which require strength became easier it was very rewarding. In the end I did not even meet my 2022 pole goal which was to do a shoulder mount. I even exceeded it by doing a… HANDSPRING! Yes!!! A handspring – every pole dancers dream trick 😀 The wakeboarding front was not bad either. Kicker jumps – yes work every time, sliding over different tables – yes, not always but mostly, not getting tired after three rounds – yup! Have to say I didn’t have that many muscles or strength when I was 25… Goal for the next year is to improve my flexibility as my back band and split nearly don’t exist. Also a bit more shoulder strength won’t be bad 😉
Another part that was somehow unexpected was travel. I did plan for a long weekend in Malta, for a diving holiday in the Dominican Republic and for a Christmas trip to Madeira and Azores. There were however four unexpected trips. Easter and first week of December to Krakow – well, I had to work remotely but still. Diving trip to Cyprus in November and a skiing trip to France for New Years. Well, I need to admit those two trips to Krakow and seeing most of my friends again, my pole dancing gang and my favourite places did make me feel homesick. I left my cosy and comfortable Krakow nest and all those fantastic people for a chance… a chance that turned out to be a flop. But on the other hand, if I haven’t tried, I would be asking myself over and over again what if I took the chance. Again but… good friends will always stay good friends regardless where you live or what you do. Which brings me to an important point. First week of December I met with PRS again! We haven’t seen each other for nearly three years, since she moved to China. My my… like those three years didn’t exist.
You could ask, Alice, when your job was making you miserable, why didn’t you write about it sooner you could use your blog as a tool to let things off your chest. Yes, I could but I didn’t. Point is that I really didn’t feel like writing this year. On one hand there was the lack of inspiration, my mind was just blank. On the other hand, when I was coming back home from work out I was tired as hell and the only thing I was dreaming about was a hot shower and sleep. Couple of times I caught myself resting my eyes for a few minutes and ended up sleeping on the sofa for six hours. There is one more reason I didn’t find much time for writing this year… well… I was spending much of my free time chatting to someone very special. Another unexpected thing that happened this year involves a relationship, however that’s material for a different post 😉 Just be patient OK… promise that in the coming year I will be more active when it comes to writing.
The lessons learned
Do I regret my move to Germany? Yes and No. I do regret it because it turned out the opposite of what I was expecting. It was not the big bang in work responsibilities I was after. I regret it because I hoped for another work success. A success that didn’t come, and that’s a tough thing to swallow. Germany turned out to be a career setback, a setback with which I needed to deal. It was frustrating for most of the year. Sometimes I was fighting with thoughts like – I can’t do shit or I’m useless. Then I remembered all the things that I managed to accomplish in the company for the past five years and that assured me that I’m definitely not useless. Also as mentioned I know what I’m worth and what I’m capable of and I don’t have to prove it to anyone. Definitely sports helped in keeping the endorphins running. I was simply proving myself in a different field, which brought superb results.
I don’t regret moving to Germany because you need to grab opportunities when they arise. If you don’t you will be thinking what would happen if you did and that will eat you up. I don’t regret moving to Germany because it’s still a step forward, new experiences, new network within the company and most of all a new perspective. That’s very valuable when you look at it in the long run. I know that the move to Germany will bring its fruits one day in the future but I guess I need to be patient to harvest those. Furthermore, the move helped me figure out, and I can’t believe that I’m writing that, that there are more important things in life than work. Big milestone for me, as so far work was always the most important thing. Well, it still is important but it’s sharing the position with personal goals.
With all of that said, greetings from Lisbon airport 😀 Arrived from the Azores and waiting for my connecting flight to Dusseldorf. And tomorrow a new journey starts – France here I come.