Thursday September 01, 2022

Feeling of nervousness is not at all territorial

Feeling of nervousness is not at all territorial

Illustrative image.

As September approaches, every child knows that it’s almost back to school time. It’s exciting as well as scary. Exciting because they get to buy new stuff for the year including a new backpack, new arts and craft supplies and maybe even new clothes or a new school uniform. But whilst the run up to the big day might be fun because they’re shopping for it, it might also be a nervous time for them. New classes and maybe new teachers they didn’t have the previous year and, most important of all, a new morning routine.

Whereas during the summer holidays they might have woken up late and played all day, they now have to be up much earlier and stick to a school routine. Plus there will again be homework to complete and grades to improve upon, if they hadn’t done so well in the previous year.

Yes it can be scary for most but for the odd child, it can be something they might be looking forward to. Yes, I put my hand up for that one. For some obscure reason, I actually looked forward to going back to school and I would constantly be asking my mum and dad when the new school day would be starting. When I was at home during the holidays, I did exactly what most children that age do. I woke up late, I played all day and tried to help around the house…well, as much as I could, given my age. So home life was great! But I still looked forward to going back to school despite being bullied by several girls in my class. So that was an odd thing, I suppose.

But the feeling of nervousness does not go away as soon as we leave our educational years. I am sure that, like most people, a working person has the nerves when returning to work after being unemployed for so long and even after being on a two week vacation from work. I know that I have experienced both.

I have lived in Dubai for almost thirty odd years and, in that time, I have had stretches of unemployment that often lasted for ‘years’, shall we say? During those times, I was desperate for find a job that matched my skills and experiences but it was hard, to say the least. I desperately wanted to work and did everything within my power to get one. Then when I did eventually find roles, I was nervous as hell and on many occasions I was so scared out of my wits that I almost cried.

I really wanted to work, no one was forcing me to, so why was I now crying and scared stiff? Well it’s the same thing as being a kid having to go back to school after a break. The only difference is that, whereas a kid has to go to school whether he wants to or not, I did not. It was a choice I was making, visa requirement aside, yet I was still scared. I was scared of the new routine. I was scared of waiting around for taxis? I was scared of meeting new people and wondering if they would like me or I them.

I was scared because I didn’t know what the new boss would be like. I was even scared about whether or not I’d be able to do the job or to meet the target for which the company had hired me. Then when a couple of weeks in the new job went by, it was all routine and I’d be looking forward to going in, having chats with colleagues about work and life and, most importantly, there were no more nerves; just a simple morning routine that I enjoyed. I am, in fact, a morning person.

But the weird thing is that even if you’ve been in a job for years and you take a two week vacation, you still feel nervous coming back. During your vacation you have a chance to break from your normal routine. You spend your days sightseeing, sunbathing, swimming, eating, lying in and basically doing anything other than work. Then when it’s time to come back to reality, you are nervous and tense all over again, like it was your first day. I am sure that this is the case whether you are the head of a department, which I have been, or a subordinate, which I have also been.

It is clear that the feeling of nervousness is not territorial. It applies to whoever you are. Even if you are at school or university or if you enjoy your job, most of the time, you will feel nervous about getting back into that routine…at least for a day or two.

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