Thursday, September 23, 2010

Riding, It's Good For The Soul

Lazy blogger I am.

Seems life pulls you in one direction just long enough so that you get accustomed to the trajectory, then there's a shift and you beeline towards something else. Past six months have been something like that. Nothing major, mind you... just an accumulation of small changes that add up to a whole pile of "what the hell just happened?" The important stuff (i.e. the things a normal, well-balanced person should focus on but rarely does) is still there: still married, health is OK, still working (albeit, a bureaucrat).

So what's changed? Well, the job is getting more difficult for one. OK - I can imagine what you're thinking: poor little overpaid public servant with his cushy job. Firstly, I've never complained about the pay or benefits because you're right: they're great. No argument here. But imagine being in a job where you feel like a dog chasing its tail. You're constantly stuck in meetings and conference calls, everything you do is questioned, audited and redone by one of your superiors. People are moving from one job to another, and no one seems to really be in charge.

A recent study of federal executives found that three quarters felt "on the verge of burnout". You'd think that a high-paid director of something-or-other would be empowered by such a position, but it's quite the opposite. Executives in the private sector typically feel less stress because they have more control. When you work for the government (at least, in Canada), regardless at what level, you are little more than a puppet whose strings are held by the politicians in Ottawa.

Sound like I'm overreacting? Consider this: in the federal public service, disability claims related to mental health doubled between 1991 and 2007. Right now, they account for 45% of all claims.

But at least I've got my bike! Even with all the BS I have to put up with at work, just a half-hour ride still does it for me. I get home more relaxed, focused and probably easier to live with.

...but what will I do this winter?!?

"I don't want a pickle, just want to ride on my motorsickle" - Arlo Guthrie


irondad said...

Feeling in control ( or not ) does make a huge difference in job satisfaction. Then again, there's the "do I give up the pension or wait it out?" thing. Tough, isn't it?

Like you say, at least there's the bike! Pray for cool, sunny days this winter.

Lucky said...

In my case it's not so much the feeling of "being in control", but every once in a while I'd just like to feel like all this work is adding up to something. Quite often, it seems to be little more than shuffling papers.