Tag Archives: stress

Never again. Moving house is just no fun at all.

They say that alongside divorce or the death of a spouse, moving home is one of the most stressful things that you can do, and of the three, it’s often one that is done willingly. Unless you’ve been planning to divorce or kill your husband I suppose…

Never having experienced the other two events, I can concur that moving home is not really a very pleasant experience. Last time, 22 years ago, we “sold” the property four times before actually moving. We had a buyer pull out the day before exchange of contracts. The woman that bought the house gave us an ultimatum to complete, such that we were homeless with two young children for a fortnight (she was a teacher too…). Part of our contents that had been in storage never quite made it to the new house, taken away from the storage in my Granddad’s old wheelbarrow.

This time, however, is on a whole new level of complete nonsense.

The house will have been on the market a year in August. The couple buying it first saw it in November and made an offer in the spring. We viewed the property we are buying at the beginning of April – 4 months ago – after receiving a second offer from our buyers, the first offer only lasting 2 days.

We have only just exchanged contracts.

At the request of the people at the very bottom of the chain, we agreed to a completion and move date in August. I was pushing for a mid-July completion, but others in the chain were not willing to accede to that. We have been in a position to exchange contracts for over three weeks now. It could have been done if the will were there, but we agreed to go with the August date.

It is difficult to describe the stress that this ridiculous situation puts you through. There is absolutely nothing that you can do about it. You have to let the chain move at the pace of the slowest member, even if that appears to be deliberately slowed for reasons that our solicitor cannot understand. He has never known anything like it in nearly 20 years of conveyancing.

We have now put in motion all the necessary arrangements with removal companies, gas people, electricity people etc. and started to put valuable items in boxes. But to have got to a fortnight from completion and actually moving home and only just having the contract in place strikes me as a completely unacceptable situation.

This will be our last move. Next time, I will be the one in the box.

On being a “buddy”, stress and what it might do to you

Regular readers will know that last year I volunteered to be “Buddy” for the Lymphoma Association. When I had my training back in March, they said it might be some time before my first contact, but this week I was emailed by the co-ordinator and given my first buddy. (Actually, I am the “buddy”. I’m not quite sure if the term for the “buddy-needer”, but it doesn’t matter)

They called last night and we had a very good chat for about three quarters of an hour. The co-ordinator tries to match people who would like to speak with a buddy to buddies with the same or similar experience and I have to say that they did an extremely good job this week.

The person who phoned had recently been diagnosed with the same kind of NHL that I have and is going to have their first chemotherapy in September, after taking a short holiday. What struck me about this person’s history was that it was very similar to mine, especially in one important respect. They hadn’t taken any annual leave at all last year and very little the year before.

Now, I have been going on about annual leave, working while on leave and the length of leave taken recently, but that’s partly because I too had a period a few years ago when I couldn’t take the annual leave I was entitled to. About ten years ago, I had taken a new job as a Director of an office and found myself in an incredibly stressful situation. Two of my colleagues left within three months of me starting and the finances of the office were such that I couldn’t afford to employ anyone else to take their desks. I ended up doing three people’s work and running the office too. I would work until half ten at night and at least one day of the weekend, just to keep up. That year I had about 6 days annual leave – if I did want to take a day off during the week, I would have to work the weekend to make up for it. My health definitely suffered (although I didn’t know by how much at the time) and I was glad to get out. It did take me just over three years though. So, now, I do make sure that I take all of the annual leave that I am entitled to each year and do my best not to carry any over.

My buddy contact had a similar story.

Now, as far as I am aware, there is no known cause or particular reason why any individual might develop lymphoma. It’s not a cancer that has a common cause, such as lung cancer, it just happens sometimes to some people. I also know that two people having a stressful job and having the same disease doesn’t mean anything statistically, but it was an interesting aspect of the chat we had last night.

What is also interesting is this story that was published yesterday.

The Stress and Cancer Link: ‘Master-Switch’ Stress Gene Enables Cancer’s Spread

So, I have made a decision. Sod the Blackberry. Sod the emails. Sod work. Next year, I will take a proper, two week holiday, without any of that crap. The world won’t end without me. It might even be good for my blood pressure, if nothing else.

And if you are reading this, and don’t take your full holiday entitlement, or work stupid hours at the weekend, think on.

Your children will thank you for it.

Working while on holiday (revisited)

With thanks to my friend AF for the link, here is an interesting article about the wisdom of keeping up with office work while on holiday.

Staff holiday – why it could be bad for business

I have posted about this before, while I was on leave, and it is interesting that professionals in the insurance and HR industries are thinking about the effect that this has on people.

Still deciding about two weeks next year, but I will take soundings from those colleagues who have been taking split weeks as well as those who have completely left the office behind for two (or more). What I have noticed is that some of the more senior staff within the organisation do tend to go completely off radar while on holiday as do those who read The Guardian. Maybe I need to reconsider the Blackberry in the bag next time, or at least have the email function switched off.

On the other hand there are others with whom I work who refuse to check emails while on leave, then complain that it takes two weeks on their return to catch up with themselves, while in the meantime, decisions get undecided and progress on projects slows. And their stress levels get turned up to 11.

What I did notice myself, having been keeping up with emails, is that I didn’t really feel that I got the best out of my holiday.

I don’t think that there is any easy answer and I don’t think that there is a right answer. But keeping the balance right is the important thing.