Sunday, 27 December 2015

2015 in retrospect

Last days of the year, a short, idle period between Christmas and New Year’s Day (or even Epiphany). Days, when world nearly comes into a standstill; days when slower pace of life provokes one to look back into the passing year and (maybe more often) to make resolutions for the coming year. Customarily, we wish one another that the coming year is better than the passing and usually we think it would not take that much to make the wish come true. In fact, as a matter of principle, we under-appreciate positive developments from the past and over-estimate importance of those negative. Fair assessment of what we have lived through is generally hindered by our selective memories. Actually, 2015 was a year of ups and downs for me, yet as it comes to an end, positive outlook for 2016 brightens me up ;-)

The ups and downs pertain mostly to private life. I have (and dare to claim) successfully tried to temper the magnitude of both ups and downs, with lifting myself from being closer to the bottom being a far bigger challenge. I have made a tremendous work to get hold of myself from the “post-CFA blues” and break away from the life focused on merely getting by. This took me three summer months, the months, truth be told, I effectively wasted, genuinely doing nothing than carrying on. I functioned yet not lived. Then came the turning point. I signed up for dance classes (and continue trainings, though I sometimes have to bend over backwards not to stay overtime in the office) and want to develop this pastime activity in 2016. I also find no excuses for socialising, whatever opportunity comes up and no matter how tired or reluctant to meet people (both states sometimes inevitable in the daily grind) I am, I grab it. A human becomes a human only among humans, that is why interacting with people (in most situations) brings out positive energy in us. This all has instilled more self-confidence in me. You, as some of my friends, would probably argue, I had not needed my self-confidence to be boosted. This is kind of misleading, since what you see outside does not need to reflect what goes on inside.

In terms of work, I started off into 2015 with serious doubts whether changing a job had been a good move. With hindsight, I wrote that post shortly before settling down in the New Factory. First six months in the new company are about finding your ways around it, the next half-year period is for laying foundations of your position in the company, after one year, you begin to thrive and your credentials get reinforced. This timeline reflects my experiences from both The Employer and The New Factory. As of November I was relocated and assigned more duties and ended up working 60+ hours per week. The workload somewhat eased in early December (meaning I spent weekends without the company computer), but for instance I had to spend the whole evening on 23 December, well into the Christmas Eve, “saving the day” and with swear words flowing from my mouth (how foul-mouthed I have become over 2015). The blend of time pressure, stress and encroaching on private life my job offers me sometimes makes me want to literally yell. More and more often I wonder where this whole craze is leading me and what the benefit and the sense for me in it is. A friend to whom I talked on Wednesday (taking a break from “saving the day”) told me I am at the moment of deciding whether I make do with what I have (and rest on laurels with what I have achieved so far) and should ease up or I want to aim higher and carry on shining bright and patiently waiting to reap what I am sowing. The conclusion is basically wise and up-to-the-point, but the other question is who the reward comes to…

The noteworthy affair in 2015 was passing the third level of the exam and being awarded the Charter (along with other 78 other professionals from Poland who earned the Charter in 2015). To make a sincere confession, self-pride is mixed with regret. The fortnight before the exam was a nightmare. I got up every single day wanting to scream until my throat could not give any voice, wanting to burst into tears which could not flow from my eyes. And then, counting down days until 6 June, I fought battles not only against exam preparations, but also against my frail psyche. I did well on the exam (I consider it a miracle), but the price to pay was high. I am now a Charterholder and realise had I given up along the way, I would be angry with myself, the scenario worse than what I have gone through, since except for track record of roughly 1,000 hours spent on learning, I at least enjoy some kind of self-esteem. Against my own demons, I have carried the day.

The saddest moment of the year was my grandma’s departure in March. At the very beginning of the year we all knew it was unlikely should would celebrate her 90th birthday in November. The very passing away actually brought relief to us, since grandma was slowly dying for two weeks and her suffering lasted unbearably long.

In the last quarter of the year, I began looking for a flat. One day in January I will try to write more on this, but the search resembles now my effort to find a new job taken in November 2013. This was the moment I knew I was bound to do something unless I wanted to go bonkers or totally burn out with The Employer. I had in mind a hasty and quick job change only to break out of the endurable workplace did not make much sense. Also spending roughly an equivalent of one’s four-year after-tax salary (on a relatively illiquid asset) requires some care. With the job change the outcome was that in the sixth month of fruitless search, the offer from the New Factory came up and both the New Factory and I were committed within seven business days from the first contact. I guess same will happen about the flat, when an opportunity comes up.

And far in the background… We have witnessed a makeover of Polish political arena. We have the new president and the new government, with outright majority of one party in the parliament, making extensive use of unfettered hold of power. Millions of Poles wholeheartedly support the radical agenda (and steps) of the new government, millions of Poles silently or outspokenly object it. I am more and more tempted join people who take to the streets and get involved in the politics (although for the same reasons why I conceal my identity as a blogger, I should hold back). 2016 will be a year full of twists of actions in the politics. I doubt it brings early election. PiS will not repeat the mistake from 2007 when they thought the early termination of parliament term and brought forward election would reinforce their rule. Now, without the burden of any coalitional partner, they are likely to wield power until 2019. Unless the civic discontent, brought about by all-out assault on democratic institutions and going back on pre-election promises, gets so intense that it overthrows the PiS government. But even if so, what then?

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