A New Phase for The Bloke and Learning to Work Backwards

It’s been an interesting few weeks. I decided to focus my attentions on areas outside of my blog primarily and get a fresh perspective on various aspects of life that weren’t as positive as they should have been. I was full of ideas of where I could go and what I could do, and started by feeling motivated.

And then I got drunk, and it ended up being far more therapeutic than anything that I had planned.

Contrary to popular belief, I drink very little alcohol and I never drink at home. It actually wasn’t intentional – I’d arranged to meet my friend for lunch at a local pub which I had expected to be a few hours of chatting, a couple of glasses of lemonade and a posh sandwich. What happened instead was a seven hour marathon of catching up after not seeing each other for months, drinking strawberry and lime cider and generally talking utter nonsense in the glorious sunshine until I realised what time it was and went home. The Bloke joined us for a while after work to say hello, but he had clearly had a long day. Tipsy Suzie is a happy, but annoying Suzie, especially when you’re sober. Luckily, the pub is only a five minute walk from where I live and it was during this walk back to my house that I realised how squiffy I actually was. My friend is quite a bit younger than me and so has yet to experience the responsibilities that most of my friends have – marriage, kids, houses etc – and therefore he is yet to become jaded and cynical, so it was nice to be able to just talk about things that didn’t carry any form of baggage with it. It was an afternoon well spent and very much needed.

This week has been a bit of a turning point for both The Bloke and I.

I hinted in a blog post earlier this year that there would be some changes ahead, and those changes are already starting to happen.

The Bloke quit his job a month ago and today is his final day. After eleven years of working as a IT Technician in a school, he had reached the point where it was beginning to severely affect his mental health. It has been quite distressing to witness his decline over the last year in particular, going from someone who generally enjoyed his job to being so stressed out that he couldn’t sleep, developed anxiety attacks and was so lethargic that getting out of bed in a morning was a difficult task. I know what that feels like. Unfortunately, The Bloke’s greatest personality trait is also his biggest flaw – he’s a people pleaser who wants to make things better for others – and I’ve watched as he was constantly bombarded with tasks that weren’t always part of his job role and had colleagues take advantage, pull rank and be rude to him when he questioned it, with favours that he did for various people being quickly forgotten. So, when he found himself in a position to be financially secure enough to get away from work for a while, he took it and I have the upmost respect for him for doing so. It’s perfect timing really – we live fairly frugally, we don’t have a mortgage or children, the wedding is over and we have no major plans for the next few years that will require massive expenses – so this is an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk away and start again.

It’s been a whole mixture of emotions for him – he’s been particularly upset about leaving some of his long-term and valued colleagues, and it was a massive surprise to him (although not to me) at just how many people gave him cards and presents and joined him for a goodbye drink at the pub last Friday (watching him attempt to carry it all through the front door when he got home was quite amusing). However, the realisation that he won’t be there after half-term had prompted a whole wave of sudden ‘can you just get this done before you go’ jobs, which quashed any minor regrets or feelings of guilt that he may have had over recent weeks about his resignation.

‘You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’ is something that will be applicable to many over the next few weeks. I can’t help but feel more than a little annoyed at those who should have known better for what they put him through.

He doesn’t have a plan or timescale as such, the main focus being that he wants to rest, recoup and get back to his old self. However, he wants to start developing his photography, a passion that had been somewhat diminished by the assumption that he was the unofficial photographer at his workplace (nobody else could use a camera apparently), and I think that will be a positive start to the next phase in his life. I’m excited to see the relief I know he will feel when he finally realises that he doesn’t have to answer to anyone – he can go wherever he likes and do whatever he wants with his time, something that I don’t think has sunk in yet. With working from home my schedule is my own to decide, so I’m also looking forward to planning interesting day trips out to places we have yet to explore on my days off. A trip out anywhere with The Bloke is always fun (even food shopping can be a blast), so we get the chance to spend time together, I gain content for the blog and he gets to build his photography portfolio.

Winner.

His decision has also inspired me to move into the next phase in my working life. I’ve been building on an idea for quite a while and have finally decided to set a date at the end of the year where this new project will be fully realised. However, what I have also discovered is that the end goal won’t be able to happen without a bajillion other things being set up first and what the result has been a rather epic list of working backwards to try and create a plan that actually makes some sense. I’ve never really had to do that before and it’s been a little more confusing that I initially thought it would be.

It’s exciting, but also a little daunting – it’s been a while since I really set a new challenge for myself… let’s just hope that I’m not wasting my time!

What about you guys? What have you been up to recently?

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55 thoughts on “A New Phase for The Bloke and Learning to Work Backwards

  1. The Bloke is wise to stand down from what I have experienced as Workplace Abuse in it’s different forms. Takes guts. I’ve retired now but my last employer was verbally abusive. I hope he never experienced that! God bless you guys, be well!! 😎

    • me too – it’s awful isn’t it! I’m really sorry that you had to go through that… He’s never had people being verbally abusive, just ones who gave him jobs that weren’t part of his role and then got nasty and decided that the conversation was ‘unprofessional’ and that they didn’t want to talk to him about it if he ever brought it up with them. Many of them used him to complete tasks they should have been doing for their own jobs too…

  2. Sounds like exciting times for you both! How exciting. My hubby and I are looking into setting up a private therapeutic practice. I’ve been building a website and designing our business cards. All we need now is some premises! Holiday first though, and then full steam ahead when we get back 😀

  3. Good for the Bloke! Looking after our mental health is SO important. It absolutely sounds like he’s done the right thing. I look forward to hearing more about your new project too!

  4. I’m so pleased for The Bloke. This is the time to try and achieve those dreams while there is no other responsibilities. And he IS a great photographer… You can see his passion in his images! 📸
    I’m intrigued to know your next project too! Good luck to you both 💖

  5. Oh and as for me. I took a blogging break in that I’m not posting apart from Sundays. I’m recouping energy for my rewrite! And spending time with my kids… And binge watching Black-ish. So funny!!!

  6. All the best to the Bloke Suzie, I spoke to him at the Bash about his decision and he was feeling positive for the future. I hope he feels more like his old self very soon and that you get to enjoy some time together. When it’s your decision to leave, it can make it easier to get on with things so I wish him, and you, well. Your plans sound intriguing and if anyone can make things work out it’s you!! Enjoy the next few months 😊

  7. Aww. Big respect to The Bloke for taking that decision. I was a primary school office manager so can appreciate everything you say about the stress of working in the school environment. I took ill health retirement in February this year and the change to my life has been remarkable. The stress was a killer (and I still believe is partly responsible for my cancer diagnosis). I don’t think we yet understand the consequences to our health caused by stress over prolonged periods.

    My life has changed completely now. My weeks are full of things that my ‘bloke’ and I want to do, rather than what we have to do (except for the fortnightly chemotherapy of course!). I spend my time helping and supporting others in my situation and am about to set up a support group for cancer patients in my local area. Life is so much better now (which I know sounds bizarre given my life expectancy!).

    More power to both your elbows. Well done!

  8. Congratulations to the bloke on his retirement!

    I did the same thing (even down to being in IT) and anxiety attacks and bipolar mood swings 12 years ago. I’ve never been happier, although changing finances have caused me to get a part-time job. I’ve worked two 4 hour days, and still doing online training. The people have all been great, I think I’ll like it. It’s also at a retail tool store that I’ve loved for years. I love tools!

    Best wishes for the new lifestyle!

    • Thank you! He’s not retiring – he’s only 49 – but he’s definitely in need of a break. I think if the financial situation changes then he will go back into something even on a part-time basis, and I’m really excited on his behalf to see what opportunities present themselves!

  9. I really really wish you both then very best of luck. May the bloke find his perfect place and be able to concentrate on his photography.
    May you Hun may whatever it is you have planned be a huge success.😀😀💜💜

  10. I love new starts, beginnings, fresh motivation, closing old doors and opening new ones but for all the right reasons.
    Here’s to you both and your next steps.
    Well deserved.
    Look forward to another catch up 😊

  11. Having given up my “day job” last year to focus on writing, I can thoroughly recommend it, though I know how scary it can be. The real trick is to get on and put some structure into the day – though I’m still working on that!
    With all your plans, I hope you know I wish you nothing but good things. You both deserve it.

    • Thanks so much lovely! I can relate to what he is going through but I had more of a clear idea of what it is that I wanted to do. He’s not one for relaxing, so it was a bit of a culture shock this morning for him haha!

    • Thanks so much lovely! I can relate to what he is going through but I had more of a clear idea of what it is that I wanted to do. He’s not one for relaxing, so it was a bit of a culture shock this morning for him haha!

  12. Wow such a big step for the bloke and you but sounds like the best thing in the circumstances.Time to rest, recoup, and decide on whats next is always important. Best of luck to both of you.

  13. This sounds like good news for you and your Bloke, Helen. It seems to be a very real thing now that people who work hard and are good at what they do get totally exploited in the work place and end up with no life balance.

  14. This will be a great change for The Bloke. When I left my teaching job after thirty years, I felt lost at first and thought about finding another job. A few months later that feeling was gone and that was thirteen years ago. What have I been doing? Renovating the abused and neglected house I bought in February 2016 and writing a book I’ve wanted to write for decades. I’m just finishing building three raised planters for flowers and vegetables. Two to go.

    Have you ever sipped hot sake? If not, hot sake is really easy to drink — it’s smooth going down — and you don’t feel the punch from the alcohol until it is way too late. The next morning you are still drunk with no hangover. I can’t remember if I had a hangover from the hot sake.

      • Thanks for asking about the renovations. They are going slowly. I seldom put in more than 3-to-4 hours on the days I work and I work on the renovations maybe three-to-four days a week. It’s amazing how much you can still get done working at that pace. It just takes longer.

        I don’t understand why so many people will work like that 8 – 16 hour a day five to seven days a week. I used to work like that when I was younger. I like this slower pace much better. You don’t end up injuring yourself as much or wearing yourself out until you are near brain dead and useless for anything else.

        :o)

  15. Wow. Big change for “The Bloke.” I know how he was feeling, luckily my company decided to downsize our office or I’d probably still be slogging away there and dreading getting up each morning. I did love the people that I worked with, but… The best part is being to sneak away during a work day to go to the movies or another fun thing like that. You get to go when no one else is there.

  16. Goodness Suzie, this sounds really exciting for both of you!!

    I wish you both the best and I am sure the bloke will love his new life, and you’ll both be happier and less stressed. ❤

  17. I just did the same thing, last day was Thursday at a job I’ve had for 18 years. A lot of the same reasons for leaving. Taking a break and not sure what’s next. Congrats to the Bloke for taking the leap!

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