Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Work, and its pleasures

Last time I wrote about something relating to my work life, in the first half of 2022 (about knitting pink socks, my absolute non-favorite color, for somebody whose favorite color it was) that post resulted in a conversation with the head nurse, who is a friend in fibers. Subsequently I took the post down, but the conversation had also shown me how many aspects of the work situation there were not contributing to me feeling satisfied. Follow-up conversations with my husband led me to start looking for a new job. Which I took in July 2023, and where I was pretty happy in the beginning. I am still content with the overall feeling within the team in total, although by now some dampening of my initial enthusiasm has happened, regarding organizational aspects, the head nurse’s behavior in general – I do think she is a bit of a brat with less than good manners, and I do not hesitate to say that here - and a few other things that must not be spelled out in detail. Some of these aspects caused me to cut back on working hours in April, now only 3 days a week, some others, more dissatisfying ones, have occurred since, and I am again considering options. Of which there are not many, as I don’t want to go back into a hospital, I do like the fact that I don’t have to work night shifts in dialysis, nor Sundays.

With three days a week it has gotten a lot easier to arrange a few days off by placing early requests so that more flexibility arises to move around. Thus I can go and take care of my ageing parents, or plan a trip to a quilt festival, for example. My trip to Birmingham was possible by using up only one of my vacation days, for example, although I was gone for 5 days altogether.

It is amazing, though, how much of one’s life quality is affected by that environment you encounter in your workplace. Perhaps I was naïve because I had not been involved in a lot of work environments with many people – academics in the field I was in tend to work individually, after that I was self-employed as a fabric dyer, and the other part of work environment was the family at home. I didn’t have to deal with the issues I am facing now. Perhaps I am too old to be disrespectfully kept on at by somebody who is only a bit more than half my age and lacking leadership qualities. Perhaps I am getting a bit sensitive in this regard, but most of the other team members are saying the same thing. Perhaps …?

I cut back on the working hours in April because I thought I had found enough of a footing in the field that I could now turn back to having a bit of making time in my real life. As it turns out, it is not easy to start being creative, with these things going on in the background, even on the days when I am ‘not working’. I still make as in knitting, spinning, fiddling small pieces of fabrics around paper templates for a wildly oversized something so I can fondle fabrics, but that is far from the kind of quilting I used to do. I have lost my former ambition for marking my spot in the art quilt world.

But when I decided I wanted to enter a piece in the competition for the Prague Patchwork Meeting that has now moved to Brno, and took note of the entry date, I finally returned to my sewing room and the design wall. 


The entry guidelines call for ‘unusual materials’ to be used in the piece, and I have a certain range of options that can be included. I had forgotten how it feels to be piecing fabric together, getting back up to the design wall, putting it where I thought it would go, seeing that it might not have added up in exactly the way I had thought it would. 


And how it feels to sit and look at the design wall, waiting for an idea how to move on. That is the real kind of work that is enjoyable. I hope it will tie me over the other stuff, and give me strength to just bide my time there until we find out about my husband's health, and possible changes on his side.


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