In June, I posted an update which was a bit of a rambling about social and political concerns. Earlier this month, we had the American election, and all of the feelings that I had at the end of June were re-surfaced. I think that generally, some people have been a bit miserable for most of this year and have taken out their unhappiness on other people. Again, I saw people being cruel and disrespectful to each other. That brings me to another point about people being mean, which I'll discuss later on in this post. I also have some good news to share, which basically means that I'll be able to keep more of an eye on the street art scene in Shoreditch.
The contract that I started in January (read a little about it here) this year has come to an end now. The first part of this year was going so well, and I really enjoyed the work that I was doing. I even considered going permanent because I was really enjoying the type of work and the colleagues. I did notice a large turnover in staff, but I always keep my head down and just get on with work. I was the initial developer on the project so set it up and then moved onto the related product which were sales tools to help customers choose their new product. I loved building this framework, and it was a very busy contract. Not a week went by that I did not do at least one day of overtime. Most of that was unpaid as I enjoyed it, but we were asked to do overtime to complete a very tight deadline. I was doing nine-day weeks on average for a couple of months at least. I also did not take any holiday days; I have not had any for two years now.
Overtime was also easy to fall into because I had to use my personal laptop, and I installed software on my phone so 'work' was never far away. I got into the habit of seeing messages pop up from other colleagues and replying at non-working hours. I was even woken up early on a Sunday morning by a colleague asking me a question, and I logged on to help him. It was easy to fall into the trap of not being able to switch off from work.
As the year progressed, people who lacked the skills and needed a lot of guidance or who did not have the same strong work ethic were put onto the team. This meant that I ended up taking more on so the team could succeed. In the middle of the year, others were brought on board, and the culture changed again, but it was not for the best. I witnessed people being disrespectful and generally banding together against others and behaving unprofessionally. (Funnily enough, I later found out that others felt the same or had a very similar experience there.) Anyway, my point is that people have been so mean to each other this year, and it's really depressing.
Based on what I have witnessed this year, my "thought for the year" is this:
Think of how far WE would come if gender, race, sexuality, religion, etc were ignored and everyone loved each other. I've said it before and I'm saying it again. Respect.
The focus on work was why I have not really been updating my blog as much (or with interesting content, in my view or I could just be feeling that I've let myself down in my social/personal life as I've had none this year) and why I've felt so exhausted this year.
However, leaving aside the people being cruel to each other...I do have some good news. I'm working back on Brick Lane again, so to readers of my blog, that means I am able to see new street art and keep updated on the street art movement. I've already seen a lot of new pieces being placed. I've also really enjoyed seeing great people that I used to work with in the past month and catching up with them as well as meeting new people.
Please be kind to others. I know that people are stressed and the situations this year have not been perfect, but I think it's of a much wider concern that has taken awhile to manifest in community. I'll leave with a quote by Maya Angelou:
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."