Sunday, April 20, 2014

Getting a Little Help Along the Way

Almost a year ago I left Barnes and Noble where I'd worked for ten years and started a new job at a new company. It's still retail, but now I work in grocery. This has been a huge change for me! Not just the change in product - from books to groceries - but also change in schedule, co-workers, routine, company culture.

I love being with this particular company, and appreciate that they value the happiness and excellence of their employees. Every day I'm there, as I walk down the grocery aisles, I feel glad and grateful to be with this particular company.

With this new company, I started in an entry-level position. Most employees in this company did exactly that, started at the beginning and moved up from there. I like that a lot.

Since I started, I've already moved to a different store and moved onto a different team. Well, I actually split my work time between two positions and two different teams. And just the other day, I applied for another position on yet another team. I am wanting to find a job that is a good match for my interests, skills and experience, and this new position might be pretty close.

This has been a lot of change! Not just leaving Barnes and Noble - I so miss being around lots and lots of books every day - but landing in a position that didn't feel quite like what I ultimately wanted to be doing has been hard. In addition, did I mention the learning of new routines, meeting and developing relationships with new co-workers, learning the culture of the company, and learning the actual jobs? whew!

I would like to say that my emotions have been calm and steady, and that I am glad to just be part of the process. But sometimes that has not been the case. It has been exhilarating and tiring and frustrating and exciting. I KNOW that acclimating and making such a huge change is a process, and I know my own self well enough to know that maybe I could use a little help.

Therapist has been great, giving me pep talks when I've felt down. Other friends and family members have validated that change is hard (it IS!), and also given me kudos for choosing to make such a big change.

In addition, I picked up Andrew Weil's audiobook, Spontaneous Happiness at the library, and have been listening to it on my way to and from work. I respect Weil's work, agreeing with his direction in developing integrative medicine, including mental and emotional health. When I saw Spontaneous Happiness at the library, I thought it might be a good thing for me to listen to.

Turns out I was right. I agree with Weil, that "happiness" isn't necessarily a state of being we should be in constantly, merrily floating about life in a state of euphoria. But raising our emotional setpoint, especially during times of stress or change, can be a good goal. And there may be instances of spontaneous happiness along the way.

He gives a thorough description of his recommendations for how to raise one's emotional setpoint, encouraging readers to incorporate changes into their lives that might be helpful.


One of the changes Weil suggests is using positive psychology, which can be expressed in many forms. One of the forms can be writing down three things that are going well each day. He noted that the benefits of doing this (raised endorphins, lowered cortisol levels), even for just a week, can be felt for up to six months afterwords.

A friend of mine has a blog where she has been chronicling her struggle with cancer. She is a comedian, and she brings humor into an incredibly hard situation, while keeping it real. In every blog post (, she writes Three Positives at the end, three things that are going well, even in the midst of chemo and cancer. I appreciate the Three Positives in her blog. If she can do it in the middle of chemo and cancer, then I sure can.

Some Positives:

1. The sun is shining today, for reals. It lifts my spirits to see actual sunshine.

2. I get to take the dog on an outing - we'll go in the car (she loves the car!) and for a walk (she loves a walk!).

3. Today is my only day off in an 8 day work stretch. Right now I split my work time between two positions, and this week I am working an extra shift in my potentially new department. It feels a little schizophrenic, though it's also pretty fun. AND, I'm glad to have a day off to catch my breath!

4. I'm going to go see a movie. I haven't seen one for a while and I've wanted to see The Grand Budapest Hotel. Going today.

Link to the post about my job change:

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