An experience that has come up with me being in a position where I will be leaving the rat race (in precisely 29 days), is that everything is just cool. Nothing gets under my skin like it did before, I am more focused than ever, un-bothered by long phone calls and angry clients, willing to help out anyone and do any tasks, even the ones that no one wants to do.
I would do all this stuff before, but I would be accumulating internal reactions towards it all, where everyday I would become so stressed, and it would take hours after my work day was over to shake the rigidness from my body.
Additionally, my prioritization skills seemed to have improved as I no longer have emotional connections to the tasks, such as dreading some and seeing others as easy and light. Some tasks would make me feel heavy and burdened so I would avoid them and actually re-arrange my priorities around them, leaving the till last, then having to rush them, making them more stressful.
Now I just look at everything equally, bounce around, jump from here to there, effectively managing my time. My productivity is better than it has ever been and I am making less errors than ever before. Whereas before it was a struggle to not make errors, now it is a breeze.
So, lots of lessons here. I really, and I mean REALLY wanted to blame my job, my environment, my mental state, anything for my terrible experience at work. This experience was so deeply ingrained in me from school and all my previous jobs, In fact, it is the only way I have ever experienced myself at work or school - I knew of no other way until now.
My main lesson is from something I read in a Gabor Mate book called "When the Body Says No". He discussed how a lack of meaningful choices can cause anxiety. The job I work in has a lot of dead ends, where people get stuck and end up working at the same level for decades. I had to re-define all my reasons for being there and actually manually give them meaning because on their own - there was very little. I actually accomplished a lot of personal goals at this job, if not the career goals as I had originally intended on.
And now that it is coming to an end and I can see the results - the fruits of my labour - and I know that I will be moving on, everything has come into perspective in a way I was unable to attain previously.
I had a couple of goals before I leave to go to Africa. One: I did not want to be running away from anything. And two: I wanted to learn how to function at, and even enjoy my job. If I can function in the rat race, I can function anywhere.