Friday, February 5, 2010

On Paranoia

Yesterday I had a short meeting with my boss because my efficiency rate for the previous month was below par. It was a civil discussion and I admitted that I needed to do some improvements. I think it also raised my point that I am open to new work or project. But I realized I made a mistake in my time sheet entries last month although I thought that it was a subconscious urge to make my desire known of my availability for other projects. Normally this episode would have made me anxious and tense if I were in Asia. But I did not feel the usual stress because the environment here is much more open and supportive. Back stabbing is not a good office behavior.

On the other hand I did wake up early in the morning at about 2 am and had an anxiety attack. Nervous thoughts filled the mind with all sorts of perceived connections. I recognize that the mind attributed the meeting with real or imagined procrastinations at work. Things like excessive Internet surfing or just staying in my cube without speaking to neighbors or perhaps working on personal stuff instead of actual work. It all came to fore as the real reason behind the meeting. It’s the old cognitive mistake; of the mind making an attribution error. But my readings of cognitive behavior therapy came to the rescue and my mind started to discount these attribution errors.

I struggled in the dark to calm my mind by trying to meditate, by counting my breath. It was more difficult now than ever before. It was difficult to bring my mind away from anxious thoughts and focus on my breath. My wife could not sleep as well and I had frequent trips to the toilet. All these events foretell an uneasy and sleepless night. But later on I was able to quiet my mind by counting my breath and I was able to drift to sleep. I realize that I needed to change my work behavior and I had crossed a threshold in my new work place. The honey moon is over and I need to get serious. Eventually I drifted to sleep although my wife went to another room to get a more fitful sleep. I think I started to snore by this time.

Perhaps triggering my paranoia is the coming changes in my workplace. Or at least the perceived changes that I think are coming. There are new people around and I think personnel in the project maybe changed. So it is part of my paranoia; driven by perceived changes as well as my awful work habits. At least I woke up early and I left for work before 8am. Usually I am late but I had a chance to be early today. Coming to work early is the first step for a change in work habits. Being up front with my office mates is also a required behavior. Being able to communicate and speak socially with your mates is important to survive here at work. A lone ranger, genius type arrogance is not popular here.

Behavioral and perceptual improvements are also needed in national politics. Watching Barack Obama in his recent state of the union address, meeting with both Republicans and Democrats I think foretell a required change as well. Political transformation seems to be on the air and Bill Clinton type adaptability and political maneuvering maybe needed in order to survive. I think there is too much emphasis on Obama’s leadership role to initiate change instead of a need for back room compromising and deft moves to push the process forward. Sometimes I think my fortunes also depend on Obama’s success because of the spirit of openness and change that he engendered with his election. His victory seems to have brought some openness and tolerance and diversity to all areas of society like my work place. I think some push back may occur if he fails.

No comments: